Deep Dive: Examples From Selected Applications

You may have seen our recent blog: 4 Tips To Help Your Student Service Program Application Stand Out. We wanted to dive deeper and showcase some examples from our 2022 application process. Each of these examples were rated highly among our Selection Committee members, which is made up of our Board members and Student Service Program alumni.

Please note: To follow along in the process, you can always download the 2023 Application Checklist here.


Video (weighted at 30%)

First, we wanted to show you two examples of highly rated videos from our 2022 application process. The prompt says to, “Please submit a video (no longer than 4 minutes) about why you want to join our Student Service Program and why you believe it’s important to be service-minded.”

This is one of the most important parts of your application, but don’t feel like you have to be too flashy. As you will see from these examples, both of these applicants were selected for our Student Service Program, despite submitting completely different types of videos.

Video 1 from Timothy Dingman

Video 2 from Nishra Kothari


Two Short Answer (weighted at 10% each)

Next, we wanted to show you an example of highly rated short answer responses from our 2022 application process. Both of these short answer prompts are limited to 250 words each.

Question 1: How do you plan to balance your time on the Student Service Program with your academics, relationships, work, and other extra-curricular activities?

Example response from Clara Dalhoff: Balancing my time is something I work on daily. I have needed to balance my time with my academics, relationships, work, volunteer hours, basketball, and other clubs I am in. This is something I work on consistently by planning my schedule out ahead of time. I determine what schoolwork will be required for each week, and then plug in my activities. I make sure I can fit it all in and what may need to be adjusted or moved around. I am detailed oriented which helps me with this task. I plan to use this same strategy in the Student Service Program. I am aware of the meeting times/days along with the volunteer work requirements. I will set those in my schedule and work everything else around it. It kind of reminds me of a puzzle. It can be hard at times to make it all fit right, but once you do, it is a beautiful picture or in my case, a meaningful and balanced life. (166 words)

Question 2: What does the phrase “Power of Giving” mean to you?

Example Response from Dave Harris: When I hear the phrase “Power of Giving” it makes my heart feel like I am being useful because I am doing something to help people. This expression is how I want to live my life because I want to do things to help make life better for other people. When I think about the word “power,” it means that I have the emotional strength to help others. One way I like to help others is by being a good friend and motivating my friends to give all that they got. Another way I like to help people is by doing community service. Recently, I raised money, so other kids could have presents for the holidays. This was an example of the “Power of Giving” because I was able to give something to make life better for other people. (139 words)


One Essay (weighted at 20%)

We also wanted to show you two examples of highly rated essay responses from our 2022 application process, which asked our applicants to answer this prompt:

Many great leaders are determined and committed to their causes. Write about something you feel passionately about and then explain how you could lead others to also care about your cause.

This section of the application process is limited to 1,000 words.

Example 1 from Gabriela Diaz:

Ever since I was younger, I have felt very passionate about the rights of women, especially in the labor force. I have always wanted to become part of a STEM career, a field typically dominated by men. I have heard of many injustices in STEM towards women, such as women and men having a large pay gap. For example, in 2013 women with computing, mathematical, and engineering degrees earned between 82% and 87% of what men earned in the same job. The gender-based discrimination is not only when it comes to pay, though. Throughout history, women have not been credited for their accomplishments. After learning this, I decided to devote myself to the feminist cause to attempt to contribute to the equalization of women in STEM, as well as in society as a whole. I feel very passionately about feminism because I believe women are a very strong contributing factor to society through their intellectual capabilities and their labor potential. I also strive to motivate others to believe in female empowerment and help women achieve equality because it is beneficial to everyone in society, including men.

Throughout history, women have demonstrated that their intellectual capabilities are very much like that of men. This can be seen in exemplary women like Rosalind Franklin. Franklin was the first person to take a photo of DNA using X-ray crystallography. Using this photograph, the structure of DNA was deduced by James Watson and Francis Crick. The photograph was a significant factor in achieving this deduction. However, the picture was given to them without Franklin’s permission and the men were awarded a Nobel Prize, while Franklin was given no credit. The discovery of DNA was obviously very impactful, as it has developed our understanding of the body. Many women have discovered important things, which exemplifies our potential in the scientific field. Despite this, we are often overshadowed by male counterparts and uncredited for our contributions, which has detrimental impacts for advancements in science. If women were permitted to have similar opportunities in STEM as men and worked alongside them, I’m sure that we would make many important advances in society. This is because we would have many more great minds working together to progress society. These magnificent women, as well as many others who were in STEM, inspired me to believe in the power of women in science and to even want to become a woman in STEM myself. Not only are women powerful assets to society in science, but they are beneficial in general to the work force and economy. By increasing the number of women in the labor force, there are more workers, which results in increased productivity. Increased productivity accounted to women can have massive benefits for the economy. One example of countries that benefitted from increasing female workers are European nations. Europe’s economy has grown by 25% since the increase in the inclusion of women in the labor force. Once again, these statistics show the power of women in the economy. The importance of women in countries’ economies motivates me even further to believe in the empowerment of women and gender equality. Despite women’s contribution to the labor force, we still experience a wage gap especially in less developed countries. Feminism is also beneficial to society as a whole due to the large contributions women have made and will continue to make in the labor force.

My passion for feminism has inspired me to convince others to join my cause, especially those who can help women the most. I often try to show the importance of women to men, who benefit from feminism as well. The ideology of feminism often challenges the “macho culture” in which men must be strong and emotionless. Macho culture discourages men from showing physical or mental pain, which can result in the suppression of emotions. According to several studies, this repression can cause many health issues such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental illness. Feminism

discourages these types of masculinity and encourages men to display emotions. I try to bring up these points to those, especially boys, who oppose the empowerment of women and its undeniable benefits for society. Additionally, I try to debunk the misconception some people have that feminist women hate men and believe that they are superior to men. This is not what the modern-day ideology is, and I try to encourage people who believe this to do research about the cause and see if it appeals to them. The movement simply advocates for equality, not the superiority of women over men (which is obviously not true). I have cleared up misconceptions about female empowerment with friends before. Consequently, some of them now support the movement. For those who were interested in researching feminism I have recommended important social media figures that advocate for gender equality. For example, some TikTokers I have recommended are Jessica Spangler (@ecommjess) and Caroline Lusk (@carolinelusk), both of whom advocate for female empowerment. Guiding people to these pages allows them to view different perspectives of feminism. Other feminists and I believe that if both men and women work together to advocate for the quality of both sexes, society would strongly benefit from the movement.

All in all, the feminist cause is something I’m very passionate about because I believe that it can genuinely help both men and women. It can help women achieve well deserved gender equality and it can allow men to get rid of toxic masculinity stereotypes. Additionally, society benefits from the empowerment of women by improved economies. As a young girl who aims to become a scientist, I aspire to contribute to the recognition of women in science. Perhaps through making a big discovery, I can continue to prove the importance of women in science and feminism. Furthermore, by joining the Ryan Rece Foundation, I aspire to inspire young girls by showing them the power of women and what we can do to positively impact society. (993 words)

Example 2 from Liam Cavanaugh:

Every year 400,000 children under the age of 19 are diagnosed with cancer. Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease past infancy for U.S. children. I feel passionate about child cancer awareness because of my sister’s diagnosis and desire to support the local Tampa Bay children’s cancer foundations that supported our family during and after her treatment.

It all started with one test to show that my sister had been diagnosed with leukemia. Through the years it hurt my family financially, emotionally, and challenged our spirituality. However, it also brought my family closer together by the need to support each other. There were times that the disease affected the family because in a moment’s notice it could uproot my family’s life. On any given day, our family life could change when my sister’s body temperature reached 100.4 degrees. Her bags were always packed for the need to rush to the hospital with an elevated temperature. My many personal cancer experiences are why I am passionate about childhood cancer awareness.

After my sister’s recovery, she organized a movement to raise money for the Children’s Cancer Center and the One Voice Foundation, two Tampa Bay childhood cancer foundations. My sister and I both swim competitively and this mutual bond sparked the idea of making swim caps with “GO GOLD, CHILDHOOD CANCER AWARENESS” with all proceeds going towards childhood cancer foundations. Support was overwhelming. Social media assisted sales. Contributions were made to both foundations and more importantly awareness was raised throughout the community. She is a graduating senior this year. For the upcoming swim season in July, I plan to take on her project that she started, sell the caps to various high school teams, and again raise money for The Children’s Cancer Center and the 1Voice Foundation. Together my sister and I have were stunned at the generosity of other friends, family, and fellow swimmers. Swimmers were proud to wear the cap, and it brought so much satisfaction that childhood cancer awareness was spreading.

St. Jude’s Hospital and Research Center and their groundbreaking protocols is why my sister is still alive. I will forever be grateful to them. Supporting children’s cancer awareness in the Tampa Bay area gives me much satisfaction with the overall hope that more awareness will generate more cures so that children can live cancer free lives. (390 words)


Letters of Recommendation (upload three from this list) (weight at 10% each)

Lastly, we wanted to show you an example of each type of Letter of Recommendation you can submit. There are five different options. However, you can and should only upload three letters. We suggest carefully choosing three recommenders from the five different options. All of these letter examples were submitted in our 2022 application process and the applicant was accepted into our Student Service Program.

Example 1: Letter of recommendation from a nonprofit or community service organization (church, scouts, service club, etc.) representative with whom you have completed volunteer work.

Example 2: Letter of recommendation from a teacher or school administrator.

Example 3: Letter of recommendation from a person in your network who can speak to your potential success in our Student Service Program.

Example 4: Letter of recommendation from a person in your network who can speak to your time management skills.

Example 5: Letter of recommendation from a person in your network who can speak to your passion for or interest in community betterment.


Apply Now

We hope that in sharing these examples you feel more equipped to tackle the 2023 application process. Remember, the deadline for application submission is Friday, April 14, 2023 at 11:59 p.m. Click here to apply now!


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