Brenda Mehdian, staff writer
Service Learning is changing the application process for admission to the class for next year. This change is being made in order to draw in students dedicated to helping and making a positive change in the community.
At the end of the previous semester, Service Learning advisor Michelle Halimi requested suggestions regarding ways to improve the class. As a result the class to developed the idea of adding an interview portion to the application process.
“Service Learning is a really interactive class, so having group interviews gives us the chance to see what someone is like while working with other people because that is what the class is,” senior Service Learning student Leora Hakim said. “One is constantly interacting with peers and community members in a group setting.”
Every year, Service Learning receives anywhere from 50 to 70 applications and only about 30 of those students are admitted to the class.
“I think that the reason we get so many applications every year is that Service Learning is an elective different from anything the school offers. It is not based around coursework, but around one’s ability to put in an effort and work in a group. It’s like a team, but without all the sweating,” Hakim said.
In order to be eligible for the class a candidate must have at least a 2.5 grade point average, no failing grades, no U’s and only one N in conduct. Although the requirements to join have remained the same, Halimi and the current students in Service Learning want motivated students who are eager to give back to their community.
“While we have always had a great group of students, we want students who are serious about the class,” Halimi said.
In the past, students only filled out a questionnaire and their admittance was based on that. However, according to senior Service Learning student Simon Hedavt, the old process resulted in decisions based solely on the application.
“We never really met the people applying beforehand, so an applicant may have seemed amazing on paper but could be the complete opposite in person,” Hedvat said.
In addition to adding more out of the box questions to the questionnaire, Hakim and Hedvat will be conducting group interviews. The purpose of the group setting is to give the applicants a sense of how the class works on a day-to-day basis. This way Hakim and Hedvat can see how the candidates interact with others in a group setting while also giving the hopeful students a glimpse into the Service Learning atmosphere.
“Service Learning is a time where we sit together, brainstorm, create a game plan and execute; the end result being that we are making a difference in the lives of thousands of people,” Hakim said.
According to Hakim and Hedvat, they are looking for members willing to spend an hour each day giving back. Students can apply by picking up a questionnaire from Halimi’s room.