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It can be complicated, and it can be hard.  But it is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

By Ben Feuer

The Bureau of Labor found that Americans are volunteering less than at any other time in our history.  There are some good reasons for this.  The job market is competitive, and many people are struggling to get by.  For those of us who have full time jobs, they tend to expect more and more of us with each passing year.

But despite all that, you should be volunteering.  More than that, you should be looking to lead volunteers.

The first reason for this is a self serving one.  This is an admissions consulting website, so chances are if you are reading this post you are thinking about applying to one more more programs -- MBA, Med, MFA, undergraduate.  Volunteering is a vitally important component in ANY application to ANY school.  It doesn't so much matter what you did or where you did it.  It matters HOW you did it.

Forster-Thomas is all about pushing people to make a difference in the world.  One of the easiest places for young people to make a difference is in a volunteer organization.  Often these organizations are crying out for more efficient and effective leadership, and they are often in desperate need of great new ideas.  You can be the source of those ideas.  And yes, you can write an essay about it.  But more importantly, you can have a real, meaningful IMPACT on the world.  That matters to schools, and it should matter to you.

OK, so that's one good reason.  Here's a better one.  You can help people.  Whatever you do, day in and day out, as noble (or ignoble) as you may feel it is, it pales in comparison to the immediate, real world impact you can have volunteering for a program like Essay Busters or HGRM, to name two favorites around the Forster-Thomas offices.  And if you think playing an extra round of Call of Duty, or having an extra beer with your friends, or studying an extra hour for the LSAT, is just that darn important, then you need to rethink your priorities.

You don't need to make it an every day thing.  You don't need to let it take over your life.  But it needs to be a part of your life.  Period, the end.

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