The news is riddled with stories of college applicants bucking the system and working outside of the rules to get into universities of their choice.
College acceptance nowadays takes so many things into consideration when evaluating an applicant. It's more than just about their grades. It's about their extracurricular activities, the sports teams they are on, the clubs they are in, their standardized test scores, and who they are as a person. The stakes are high and students are feeling the pressure.
Because so much is riding on a student's acceptance to a university, there can be a temptation to inflate the student's accomplishments to make them more appealing to a university - all the more reason to authenticate a student's qualifications.
One element in particular that many students leverage on college applications is their community service experience. Students would be right in thinking that the volunteerism and community service they've done throughout high school would positively impact their college applications.
College admissions officials like to see service experience on an application for many reasons:
- It shows the student has time management skills and can balance school, studies, and service
- Service with reflection shows a student’s growth and ability to develop through experiences
- It’s also an indicator of how they will contribute to a positive campus life
According to a survey done by IESD and sponsored by x2VOL, college admissions officials have stated that community service can improve a student’s chance to be accepted to their institution.
Because service is becoming a more and more important factor in college acceptance, students will be sure to volunteer in high school and include that experience on their applications for an advantage over other students that might not have prioritized service in high school.
Often times individual clubs, whole schools, and even districts have a service requirement because school leaders know how important it is for a student’s development and college acceptance. But, as students are submitting these hours for approval, how are teachers, counselors, and school leaders able to verify that students did these hours? Additionally, how are college admissions officials able to verify the student had these service experiences?
Unlike test scores or academic transcripts, there isn’t always way verify and prove that students actually did the service experience they are claiming on applications.
School admins often don’t have access to a platform where they can track and manage student service. They are stuck with paper or excel forms that lack the ability to verify hours or report on them.
x2VOL takes this process online and allows admins to verify students did their hours and have ultimate say over whether the student’s hours are approved or denied. Students can then provide college admissions officials with records of their service that have been given the seal of approval by school leaders.
Now students and admins have a better look at the service students are completing - but how does this ensure accuracy in recording service hours? When students log their service hours in x2VOL they enter in an email address for the activity contact. This is the person that was in charge of the service experience the student participated in. The contact can then verify that yes, the student did serve the hours they are claiming.
School admins see if a student’s hours have been verified by a third party or not. They can even audit this by reaching out to the activity contact. Admins then have the final say on whether or not a student’s hours have been approved.
This multi-level verification and approval process set up purposely to avoid students falsifying hours to have a true report on what students are serving.
LEVERAGING SERVICE TRANSCRIPTS
Students now have the option to provide college admissions officials with a record of their service experience and reflections. The Official Service Transcript™ is an official record of a student’s service experience along with their service reflections and if those hours were approved by their admins.
The Official Service Transcript™ is sent via Parchment, the most widely adopted digital credential service, directly to college admissions officials. Parchment's expertise in digital credentialing ensures students have a high quality record of their experience. Now, college admissions boards are able to see a that a student’s service has been reviewed and approved.
x2VOL's verification and approval process coupled with the Official Service Transcript™, alleviate much of the mystery behind service hours. These elements provide a myriad of benefits to college admissions officials such as:
- Transparency in service
- Accurate service records
- Student reflection and insight on how the service impacted them
The more seriously schools take service tracking, the more benefits there are for students in the long run. Verifying and approving service hours at the school level and providing an official record of service to colleges, reduces falsification exponentially and allows students who go above and beyond to be rewarded for their hard work.
Are you are still managing an inefficient service hour tracking process that doesn't provide verification or reporting methods? Learn more about x2VOL and how we can support your school in service and give your students the best chance for future success.
Parchment is the most widely adopted digital credential service, allowing learners, academic institutions, and employers to request, verify, and share credentials in simple and secure ways. The platform has helped millions of people and thousands of schools and universities exchange more than 30 million transcripts and other credentials globally.