Here are some quick ways to stand out among a sea of volunteers.

By KCI Trustee Kavya Sriram  

We all know how wonderful Key Club is — with its endless opportunities to serve your community while gaining priceless leadership and interpersonal communication skills. But how do you effectively communicate that involvement in your college application?  

In an age where many teens write about volunteering in their applications, it is crucial to show colleges how your personal experiences make you unique. Simply typing “volunteering” or “Key Club” may not display the depth of your commitment — colleges want to know how service impacted you. 

Here are my top tips for writing effectively about Key Club in college applications. 


With only 150 characters to spell out your involvement in the Common Application, brevity is the name of the game. Instead of summarizing your experiences, use metrics, such as number of hours served, number of events attended and any large projects you helped lead. This shows admission officers the measurable impact of your efforts.  

Instead of this:  

“I volunteered with Key Club through my school and district. Attended events and benefited the local community such as food bank volunteering.” 

Try something like this:  

“Volunteered at 30+ events annually; helped collect 100+ supplies; served on school’s membership committee to create incentive programs for members.” 


This is your time to shine! Showcase your volunteering efforts while communicating growth. 

What did you learn about teamwork after serving on your district’s convention committee? How did, say, teaching ESL students change you? How do you see service in your future? 

Ask yourself how you can highlight specific values you learned from service, such as empathy, leadership, adaptability and organization. 

Follow these steps to write a stellar essay about your service through Key Club:  

  1. Introspection: Brainstorm events, opportunities or experiences that were significant. Write down all ideas! 
  2. Reflection: How did the events you brainstormed shape you? Did they open your eyes to a different perspective? For each event you write down, include a short blurb about its impact on you. 
  3. Focus: Narrow down your ideas to a few defining moments of your Key Club journey. 

Now it’s time to write. Using your reflections, work to not only highlight your extensive involvement within Key Club, but the ways you grew and will continue to grow from it.  

If you’re still feeling overwhelmed, remember: College applications are not an overnight process. Make sure to take a walk, spend time with friends and take breaks from the process. 

Good luck! Put that pen to paper and see where your thoughts take you.  


P.S. Need some extra help navigating the college application process? Check out our member benefit partner, Collegewise, an organization that offers personal college counseling and group workshops. Collegewise and Key Club have collaborated to provide Key Club members with exclusive discounted and free resources. One free resource is a series of blog posts written by experts on topics like “What You Need to Know About Volunteer Hours for College in 2022.” Check out member resources at