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Articles / Applying to College / Will Scouting Help Me Get into Stanford?

Jan. 13, 2009

Will Scouting Help Me Get into Stanford?

Question: I like scouting, but it takes a good amount of time in my life. I was curious how much of it would help (which is not the reason I'm doing scouting, but might be a factor for quitting) on top of near perfect grades and other EC's for getting into a top college such as Stanford.

Admission officials at all colleges are likely to respect applicants who are very involved in scouting, especially those who have achieved the highest ranks (Eagle Scout for boys, Girl Scout Gold Award, etc.). However, being an Eagle Scout won't really make you stand out in a highly competitive crowd. Colleges like Stanford attract so many top students with near-perfect grades and test scores that it can sometimes be almost impossible for admission officials to distinguish among them when it comes time to make those tough, final decisions. Taking part in scouting alone probably won't push your application straight towards the "In" pile, even with excellent tests and grades. What might make you stand out, however, is if--through scouting--you were to undertake some unusual project, perhaps drawing on one or more of your other interests in the process. Can you think of an idea that's exciting to you and also different from the more typical Eagle Scout projects that you know about?


If you're enjoying your scout experience, you may be able to parlay it into an eye-catching endeavor that will not only earn you Eagle status but also a spot at your first-choice college.

Good luck!

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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