Impacting the World Around You

New research shows that 47 percent of high school seniors graduated last year with an “A” average — up from about 39 percent in 1998. But average SAT scores fell 24 points in that same period.

The authors of the study — Michael Hurwitz of The College Board and Jason Lee of the University of Georgia — said the trend signals grade inflation over the past two decades. With signs of grade inflation, students are more often earning the same exact GPA, making the job of college admissions officers more complicated. “The variation in GPAs have actually decreased by 10 percent”. So, what can you do?

College admissions officers are talking more and more about how applicants impact their communities. With the start of a new admissions cycle looming, now’s an appropriate time to start thinking about how you impact the world around you. Whether it’s through what you say or your actions, you have an impact on others’ lives – both positively and negatively. Whether it’s through community service, or being in a leadership position, you can make meaningful contributions to your community.

When reviewing applications, colleges are ultimately putting together a class. They want to fill that class with individuals who can contribute positively to the campus’s community and have a meaningful impact. When new students are living and learning together, they’re constantly interacting and are having an impact on one another’s learning environment. That’s why colleges spend so much time thinking about the impact you’ll have on campus culture and community. They want every impact you make on campus – whether it’s in the classroom, dorms, or even in the cafeteria – to be a positive one!

So, with the new school year, start thinking about how you can make a positive impact in your community. You can start small. Look for others who need help in the classroom. Can you offer assistance? Soon you’ll see that you can easily identify whether or not others need help, and before it’s asked of you.

How can you make a positive impact in an extracurricular setting? Is there a way you can invest yourself in student government, athletics or clubs? You can also think about your immediate community – your family? Are there ways to help out by doing volunteer work in your community? Try finding an afterschool program or community organization to help. Colleges want to see this so highlighting meaningful examples in your activities list and essays enhance your application. There are plenty of ways you can have an impact so strive to make a difference!

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