PTAs help students stand up and stand out

by California State PTA Family Engagement Commission Consultant, Kelly Mattinson

October 2022 Family Engagement Banner

For students hoping to attend highly competitive colleges and universities, the application process can be daunting. That’s especially true for students with a good grade point average (GPA) but one that falls below the 4.0 or higher of some classmates.

One way college applicants can stand out, and get into the college of their dreams, is by standing up! Standing up for a cause, donating time to a charity, and/or starting a charity… are ways students can make an impact in their community and on their applications. 

Your PTA can help students access these kinds of opportunities. PTA leaders can encourage student participation and student leadership roles in PTA programs and in events such as school fundraising, spelling bees, recycling programs, or carnivals – and putting students to work at those events as appropriate. 

As students get older, include them in your organizing and planning teams for PTA projects and programs. You can also encourage them to help out at local elementary school events and programs even as they matriculate to middle and high school. Your PTA can create partnerships with other local community groups looking for volunteers. There are many ways to help students develop the skills they need to continue to stand up for their passions.

Even if a student doesn’t get the “oos and awws” from a college selection committee, they will have helped a cause AND they will stand out.  Focus on helping students in your PTA community develop leadership skills and support them as they offer new programs and ideas for your PTA.  

Referring to experience as a PTA volunteer, a camp counselor, or helping a pre-k child who was missing his mom can make great content for a college application essay. These essays are impactful, emotional, and grab the reader. 

A college applicant who used leadership skills to create a program or champion a cause for the betterment of others is the type of student many universities would love to have as part of their student body. 

Your PTA can help students stand out by encouraging them to stand up for a cause. They will feel good about making a difference, and may end up with great material for that future college or scholarship application. Adults can encourage them to keep a log, so when the time comes to brag they don’t forget ALL they have accomplished. 

It feels good to stand up and stand out!