7 months ago
Admissions Advice

Can a job count as a leadership position?

For personal reasons, I've mostly spent my time working three part-time jobs and only a little in school. Since my job requires some leadership characteristics such as organization, communication, responsible, etc. Does it count as a form of leadership?

In school, I'm in my student council, community service club, and yearbook committee. I have been a member of each but I recently got the opportunity to become a graphic designer for the student council but the community service club isn't active.

However, I'm also involved in outside school activities like non-profit organizations. I'm a curriculum developer and tutoring administrator.

Will this affect my chances to assist an elite university like Princeton? If so, how can I increase my chances?


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1 answer

7 months ago[edited]

Off the top of my head, one of your three part-time jobs wouldn't count as a leadership position unless you were an Assistant Manager or Supervisor in charge of a crew or team. If you were to start your own business and run it out of your house, you would be in a leadership position because the success or failure of the venture would solely rest on your shoulders. Therefore, consider doing something like that. You don't have to sell a product. You can offer 1 on 1 tutoring services to younger students. I feel the key difference in that kind of job is that you have to make difficult decisions on how to grow the business and take risks. Millions of HS students have part-time jobs in fast food, hospitality, or retail but that is more of a function of needing money for your own personal expense not to gain leadership experience.

In many cases, you can gain a leadership role through volunteering or doing community service. Instead of working a part-time job, I did these sorts of things.

- Co-chaired our school district's DEI advisory committee. I was nominated to the position and report to the Superintendent of Schools. We help the district formulate strategies and policies to promote diversity, inclusion, and equity across the curriculum, messaging, social media, meetings, and culture.

-I served as a student board member of our City's Parks and Recs. advisory board. I had voting rights so I could weigh in on how we spent our $40 million budget on capital improvement projects and land preservation and acquisition throughout the city.

-I served as a Steering Member for our City Library to promote community literacy. Together with teachers, library staff, and community leaders, we read dozens of current titles and picked the book of the year. With our budget, we bought 1000 copies and distributed them throughout the town, and had special events including panels with ourselves and the author. This year we picked Caste by Isabel Wilkerson.

I mentioned these types of ECs because they helped me get into Columbia University this admissions cycle. We are entering a most competitive environment and sometimes you have to make very difficult choices to ensure you have both made the correct EC choice and have done your best to showcase your talents and abilities. Many of my friends work at the DairyQueen, Cookie Shop, Frozen Yogurt place because they have more expenses now that they are driving and having to pay for gas and insurance, etc. I made a conscientious choice not to worry about getting a car or doing what my friends were doing because at the top of my to-do list was to get into the best school I could get into.

It's better to have fewer ECs that really highlight what your passions and abilities are than a lot of them that everyone else has. So my recommendation to you and others reading this answer is to re-adjust your ECs in 10th and 11th grade because by the time 12th grade rolls around, you'll be too stressed out and busy to change very much on your EC list. There are only 60-70 days or so between when Senior year starts and you have to apply to your first college if you are going ED/EA or applying to a large state system like the UCs.


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