Friday, June 19, 2009

What Do Spanish Community Service Learning and College Admissions Have in Common?

by Ann Abbott

My audience for this blog isn't high school students who are trying to get into college, but I still think this video on college admissions is relevant to those of us doing Spanish community service learning (CSL).

How? The things that the speaker says about getting into college--being vested in your activities, showing you authentic self in your admissions essay, what is the value of grades versus challenge--are all true about how students can highlight their Spanish CSL work when they look for a job or a graduate program.

I truly believe that a Spanish CSL experience is a great way to set yourself apart, but only if you really take advantage of the experience. Adding it as one more item on your resume doesn't help if you can't then speak passionately about what you learned, how you learned it, and how you can transfer that to the work you will need to do in the job or grad program you're applying for.

I'll continue to write more spceific posts about the value of Spanish CSL for job preparation, but I wanted to share this video because it states things that I think are very important for our students.

  • When it comes to your extracurricular activities in college (although the video is talking about high school), quality and depth of engagement is more important than quantity.
  • Your high GPA doesn't mean as much if you never took risks and stretched yourself in hard/unique courses, like a CSL course.
  • Your job interviewer or the admissions committee won't know the depth of your learning and commitment to Spanish CSL if you don't articulate that with an authentic, passionate voice in your cover letter or personal statement.

I know that we're not teaching at vocational schools, but I believe it is unethical on our part to consciously ignore the fact that our students must go out and look for jobs when they graduate. I want my students to learn a lot academically from my Spanish CSL courses, but I also want them to leave the class feeling that I have given them something that they can take with them to their after-college lives.

1 comment:

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