Students who demonstrate leadership abilities have a leg up with colleges, universities and employers because, like Superbowl tickets in January, leadership qualities are in demand.
Leading the pack is not always easy, but the ability to go first will help you stand out in a stadium-sized crowd of applicants and offer you plenty of other benefits.
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Kelly Tanabe's college application was highlighted with distinctions like newspaper editor, assistant yearbook editor and public service club founder.
That got the attention of Harvard University admissions counselors, and she went on to co-direct a public service program at the Ivy League school and serve as the brave co-leader of a local Brownie Troop. Today she's a successful author and workshop teacher.
"Colleges like to see leadership on applications because they want a campus community that is alive," she says. "They want students who will move and shake the campus in academics, athletics, the arts, politics and public service. Colleges are thinking to the future and know that these student leaders will make the largest impact on the world post-graduation."
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As Tanabe illustrates, running for student body president is not the only way to demonstrate leadership qualities. You can put together an art exhibit, start a petition to have vegetarian lunches or collect canned goods for a food pantry.
You don't need an "official title" to be a leader. You just need the ability to set goals, motivate others and lead a team to the finish line.