Preparing for College

Will Civil Air Patrol Look Good on College Applications?

Question: I am going to be a junior in high school next year and am starting to think seriously about what colleges I want to attend and apply to. I am aware of how important extracurricular activities are in college admissions and, for a number of years, have participated in a variety of extracurricular pursuits. In the past few weeks however, I have become very interested in joining the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). I do not want to join the organization just to stack my resume with another extracurricular activity, I want to join because I have a strong passion for aviation and aeronautical science-two things the Civil Air Patrol could offer me.

Unfortunately, my parents do not seem to want to let me join unless doing CAP "looks good" when applying to normal, civilian colleges rather than just military academies (I do intend to apply to a few military schools). Do you know if doing CAP will "look good" to admissions officials when applying to their college (Non-military college), especially if I achieve a certain rank? Thank you for your help.


As a parent myself, I'm always tempted to side with Mom or Dad, but this time I'm with you. The Civil Air Patrol gets my vote for two reasons.

First of all, it will “look good” on college applications. Admission officials are up to their eyeballs in common extracurriculars … Model UN, yearbook, orchestra, etc. CAP is something different and will help you stand out in a crowd.

Secondly—and most important—it’s something you want to do and it meshes with your stated passions. It’s likely that your enthusiasm will come across in your applications and, especially, in an interview situation.

So even if you aren’t applying to only military colleges, this sounds like a smart choice.

But before signing on, make sure you’ve thoroughly researched what you’re getting into and ask your parents if they have other concerns ... such as safety (you will, after all, be flying :eek:) and not just the admission-related ones.

(posted 6/25/2012)