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The Impact of Leadership and Service

Over the last decade, colleges and universities have consistently put an increased emphasis on leadership. This means that if an admissions officer sees an application from someone who has demonstrated leadership, particularly leadership in the area of volunteerism, that person often gets noticed.

The good news is that examples of leadership and volunteerism can give you an advantage—if you can articulate how that experience shaped the person you are today and how it provided valuable life skills you’ll bring to your college career.

The bad news is many excellent students with fabulous volunteer and leadership experiences have difficulty communicating about their skills and abilities because they are humble people who don’t want to come off as bragging or self-promoting. This tendency is sometimes at odds with the last-minute advice students receive as they are about to have a campus interview to “Get in there and sell yourself!”

Overcoming this hurdle is actually pretty easy when you come at it with a little advanced planning and imagination. We recommend keeping a leadership and service journal of some kind. This could be as simple as a three-ring binder in which you put pictures or printed emails, notes or other reflections that that you’ve written down after engaging in leadership or service to others. Some students have reported great success at using LinkedIn or other social media sites as early as sixth grade to track their leadership roles and create a digital service portfolio.

Any way that you go about it works well so long as you are able to create something that you can use as a resource when talking with others about the kinds of leadership and service that are important to you. You don’t just want to talk in general about the kinds of things you like to do; you want to be able to point to specific examples and connect that to the kinds of opportunities you are hoping to find within your college community.

The best way to find out if you will be able to pursue the kinds of leadership and service opportunities in college that you have most enjoyed in the past is if you can use them to say to the admissions advisor, “Here’s what I liked about and learned from this. What opportunities will I have to do more of this at your school?”

Thrivent Action Teams: Leading by serving others

Supporting community leadership and service to others is a core part of who Thrivent is and how we support our members.

In fact, leading the way by serving others is something that Thrivent is so passionate about that we put our money where our heart is.

What is a Thrivent Action Team?

Thrivent members are eligible to lead up to two Thrivent Action Teams per year based on their membership.
Approved projects receive a Thrivent Action Kit that includes:
  • A promotional banner.
  • Invitations and thank-you cards.
  • Thrivent Action Team T-shirts.
  • A $250 community impact card.

Thrivent members can receive $250 up to two times a year to help them take a leadership role in serving their local communities. It’s our way of encouraging members who actively seek to help others in their communities.

In fact, we hope that these events will create a snowball effect by building an entire portfolio of local service opportunities in the communities we serve that others can join along with our members.

And being an active participant in building that service portfolio can actually be a great help to students heading off to college. By helping others, you just may be opening the doors to a fabulous college experience for yourself.

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