I run an admissions/writing consulting company and face this issue with applicants all the time. However, I would also make the case that while the psychology of impressiveness is always at play, the psychology of authenticity is equally important. A student that is the star of the track team may have an edge on the student that founded the non-profit if he/she can write with a voice or angle that is refreshing, bold, and authentic. The more admissions officers read about over-packaged, over-groomed applicants, the more they simply seek real people. Students with a point of view, and not an admissions ulterior motive.
Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers , one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of . He is also founder of and . He is publisher of Quintessential Careers Press, including the Quintessential Careers electronic newsletter, QuintZine. Dr. Hansen is also a published author, with several books, chapters in books, and hundreds of articles. He’s often quoted in the media and conducts empowering workshops around the country. Finally, Dr. Hansen is also an educator, having taught at the college level for more than 15 years. Visit his personal Website or reach him by email at [email protected] . Check out Dr. Hansen on GooglePlus .