Are you a leader?
Do you drive change? When you see injustice in this world, do you don a superhero mask and do your best to make things right? No, you don’t have to be Bruce Wayne to make a difference. Non-vigilante leaders surround us everyday, making a difference in our homes, schools, places of work, and in our communities. Sure, they may not get the glitz and the glamour and the three-part movie series, but they truly can look back and see that made a positive impact on the world around them.
Why do colleges value leadership? Two reasons:
- To create a more diverse, vibrant campus experience. The characteristics a true leader brings to campus are unparalleled. They are active participants in the college community, engaging the student body to create a better campus experience for all. Leaders encourage discourse to suss out issues within the community — then develop measures to address them. They create clubs and organizations to cater to the specific needs of subgroups within the student body. In all, they do more than excel in the classroom, and in doing so they raise the excellence of the campus around them.
- Creating a successful alumni network. There is a high degree of correlation between being a strong leader, exhibiting follow-through, and having a successful career. A university accepts strong leaders, these leaders go on to do great things (as well as help other people do great things) in their post-graduation lives, and the prestige of the university increases, which leads to a more and more talented applicant pool as the cycle repeats. The alumni remain better engaged with the University, both physically and monetarily, allowing the university to build better facilities and offer its students better opportunities.
Leadership can manifest itself in different forms. For example, many students are a leader in their household. As the now infamous Turning the Tide report says, “family contributions, such as caring for younger siblings, taking on major household duties or working outside the home to provide needed income, are highly valued in the admissions process.” It’s up to you to find a cause you’re passionate about and lead the effort to make a difference. Ronald, for example, loved helping other students understand the sciences. He became more involved in his tutoring program, leading weekly programs and excelling at teaching other students math. He began working with both students and their parents, helping to identify individual student’s issues and creating tailored study plans for each of them. Catherine, with her love of animals, took it upon herself to organize a fundraiser for a local animal shelter. The best leadership opportunities are rewarding for both the leader and the community as a whole. Bobby, for instance, created a club at his local middle school to teach students robotics. About a dozen students became involved in the club, and the opportunity to teach them about his passion was one of the most exciting things for him.
So if you’re not a leader yet, be like Bobby. Find your itch, a cause you’re passionate about, and take it upon yourself to spread that passion to others. Need a little more inspiration? Check out this list of amazing youth leadership organizations like DECA, Camp Fire, and many more that we’ve compiled on Twitter. And please comment on this blog post or Tweet at us if you’re a member of a youth leadership organization that we’ve missed. We’ll add it to the list right away!)
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