Community engagement is for everyone and is as personal and as unique as their fitness goals. Each person you see at the gym has their distinct goals. Someone may like CrossFit, another may run marathons, and someone else may prefer yoga. The methods are different, but the goal is to get fitter and remain fit.
The same goes for community engagement. Your engagement within your communities should be steady, meaningful, and genuine. Give back in a sustainable and enjoyable manner that becomes a part of your personality.
Community service is doing something you care about and enjoy doing. And it involves anything that is genuine, intentional, consistent and leaves an impact. For example, a first-generation college graduate may think about educating others; someone who has faced health issues may find more meaning in devoting time to non-profit in healthcare; others may care more about poverty or other humanitarian or environmental causes.
Why and how do admissions committees value community engagement
Your initiatives and activities show that you care about things beyond yourself and participate in activities outside your gain.
If you've managed to do something for your community, it is a marker that you saw other initiatives apart from work and life to completion. It reflects well on your skills to manage time and juggle several priorities.
It also helps you (and the school) visualize your time and energy in a future where you may have more influence through a leadership position in your organization or community. Since past performance is a predictor of future success, schools look for individuals who can enrich their community, contribute to clubs and activities when in school, further their legacy, and recruit those who will make them proud.
We often get asked how to increase our commitment to our community.
The first step towards that goal is to evaluate how have you engaged within your community so far. Revisit any extracurricular activities you have pursued. Revisit any extracurricular activities you have taken. Look into yourself, see what truly matters to you, and do something you enjoy. Don't choose something because you think it will "look good" on your resume or application. It's harder to remain committed to volunteering roles or community work that you choose in this manner.
As a working professional, you could strengthen the workplace community, organize meaningful events or undertake significant skilling initiatives for your colleagues. You could train and support new joiners, support their growth within organizations or even contribute to the policies that drive the organization's culture. Outside work
In your capacity, you can leverage your skills to drive impact at scale through industry organizations; mentor younger talent; publish thought leadership on social media; join a non-profit and fight for causes you believe in, and so forth.
Finally, in pursuing anything new, be mindful of the time you can devote and the outcomes you can create. Be measured in the number of activities you pursue, genuine in each pursuit, and intentional in contributing to the lives and causes of others.