With college applications creeping around the corner for many high school students, it’s perfectly normal to start thinking about how to stand out amongst the seas of applications that admissions officers will be reviewing. That’s also when travel, whether overseas or domestic, helps to play a huge hand in helping you shine!

Community service has pretty much become standard amongst the requirements to stay an active member of extracurricular clubs and even to graduate, which is awesome, but how can you go the extra mile? Many students are now looking to participate in service activities that help benefit communities outside of their own, sometimes a few states away and even a few countries away. This desire to travel to perform service work is incredibly important because it shows college admissions officers not only that you want to give back to the community, but also that you are taking it a step further by stepping out of your comfort zone in order to help others in a place that is foreign to you.

Service work away makes for an even stronger college application when you return from your travels and bring everything that you’ve learned from your time away back to your own community and want to share what you’ve learned with others. Students who become ambassadors of their host communities stand out to admissions officers because it shows a more developed sense of understanding for the world at large and how they fit into it.

Even more important is a desire to continue to participate in service projects upon returning home. When you do something as awesome as helping out kids and animals or participating in nature conservation and the upkeep of school buildings, taking these experiences and pursuing them at home shows exponential growth and the genuine desire to be an outstanding global citizen. And that, soon-to-be-highschool grads, is exactly the sort of thing that will make you stand out against all other applications to college and even beyond!