Eagle Scout College Admissions: 7 Skills That Give You An Edge Up


The hard work, dedication, and community service achievements required to earn the Scouting rank of “Eagle Scout” can make Eagles especially attractive to college admissions boards. If you’re an Eagle, knowing how to properly communicate the skills you possess can mean the difference between an accepted or rejected university application.

The skills, morals, and leadership abilities that Eagle Scouts exhibit are in high-demand by universities. If you’ve earned the rank of Eagle Scout, that fact should be featured prominently in your college admissions materials. Eagles can also highlight positive aspects from Scouting to bolster their application essays.

Making the experiences unique to Eagle Scouts shine on college admissions materials is a matter of how those skills are represented. While the rank of Eagle alone, can’t make up for poor grades, it can definitely help to set an already solid application ahead of the pack!

As an Eagle Scout and university graduate myself, I know that expanding upon your Scouting experiences in applications can set you apart from the competition. In fact, the benefits of earning Eagle can extend far beyond a stronger college application!

To see how I listed Scouting on my resume to land a great job — and how you can too — check out my step-by-step guide here.

In this article, I’ll be covering the 7 skills you’ve learned on your journey to Eagle, which can give you an edge over the competition when it comes to being accepted into universities. By including any of these skills in your application essays or personal statements, you’ll stand out from the crowd and improve your odds of getting into your dream school! 🙂

Listing Eagle Scouts Skills On College Applications

From time management and troop leadership to volunteering and your Eagle Project, there’s no doubt that you’ve developed useful and valuable experiences in Scouting. These skills will make you a more attractive student to colleges — especially those with competitive admissions standards!

Colleges are looking for well-rounded and engaged students and the fact that you’ve advanced to the rank of Eagle Scout demonstrates that you’re dedicated to your endeavors. Frankly, every Eagle Scout’s college admissions essay should find some way to mention their accomplishments and what they’ve learned in attaining their commendable rank.

Most college admissions essays only allow for 650-1000 words. Therefore, it’s crucial you write concisely and with passion about your skills, experiences, and academic goals. While some admissions boards won’t be familiar with the skills it takes to become an Eagle Scout, good writing can still help to impress the reviewer with the significance of your achievement!

It’s important to showcase your Scouting skills, experiences, and achievements to convince readers of your passion to pursue a higher education. Remember, universities are looking for students who will likely succeed if accepted into their academic programs and excel as members of their campus community.

Keep in mind, you don’t want your essay to appear scattered. Pick one or two of the values if they’re your strongest points, but don’t try to include everything. With all that being said, it’s now time to jump into the first Scouting value that you can highlight on your college applications to really stand out!

1. Commitment: Your Years In Scouting

Many college students fail due to a lack of dedication and persistence. However, the commitment you’ve displayed in earning the Eagle Scout rank can be used as evidence of your ability to see your goals through to the end!

Additionally, passion is one of the main points that college admissions boards will search for in your essay. Use descriptions of your commitment to Scouting to provide evidence of your passion to pursue a higher education. Ideally, connect your Scouting experience to your desired field of study.

The following few sentences are an example of how to use your Scouting experience as an example of your passion and commitment:

“The time that it took to earn the rank of Eagle Scout was a difficult but rewarding process that instilled in me the value of hard work and commitment. In particular, planning, organizing, and leading my capstone “Eagle Scout Service Project” presented a unique challenge that I was only able to overcome through passion and perseverance. I am excited to apply these same skills to learn and excel within a collaborative university setting.”

2. Self-Learning: Earning Merit Badges

To reach the rank of Eagle Scout, you’ve had to earn at least 21 merit badges. Each merit badge you’ve earned represents a unique field that you’ve independently studied. This is an incredibly useful skill to highlight for universities, as education is all about mastering topics you were originally unfamiliar with!

Some topics that you’ve researched include Citizenship in the World, Communication, Personal Management, and Environmental Science. Each of your badges, and the experience you’ve gained from completing them, can be used to bolster your application essays!

Consider writing statements like the following to describe the significance of those badges:

  • Earning the Citizenship in the Nation merit badge taught me how important it is to be active and engaged in local, state, and national political processes.
  • In the process of earning my Environmental Science merit badge, I was inspired to pursue an education and career in a field where I can contribute to building an environmentally friendly society.
  • Earning the Citizenship in the World badge helped me to understand the value of diversity in society. The lessons I’ve taken from this badge help me to appreciate the differences of perspective that I encounter every day. 
  • The Communication merit badge taught me to confidently articulate my thoughts and helped me to better connect with others.

If it fits the rest of your application, I’d highly recommend mentioning a merit badge you’ve completed that showcases your interest in a specific field. For example, the Environmental Science merit badge could be mentioned by Eagle Scouts pursuing a degree in biology, as it gave them a firsthand opportunity to examine an ecosystem over time.

3. Service: Community Work & Your Eagle Scout Project

Community service is one of the defining principles of Scouting. Luckily for you, college admissions also love to admit students will likely contribute to the campus community with service and volunteer work!

Competitive colleges see thousands of applications from students who meet the basic requirements for admission. However, for most high school students, having a thorough record of community service is rare. Touching on your extensive history of service is a great way to ensure that your application rises to the top.

TIP: The Common Application that allows students to apply to dozens of universities with one application has new prompts for application essays each year. When choosing a prompt to respond to, pick one that will allow you to smoothly make your service work and Eagle Scout Project a focus of the essay.

Remember how one of the requirements toward earning your Eagle was developing, and executing a community service project to benefit your community? How could you forget the good ol’ Eagle Project! When drafting your application letter, it’s a good idea to describe the service project you designed. Be sure to state your intent to continuing providing your community with similar services.

4. Time Management: Independently Completing Requirements

Along with the commitment it takes to earn the Eagle Scout rank comes the development of effective time management skills. Completing your rank requirements, merit badges, and Eagle Scout Project were all tasks that required stellar time management skills.

You might consider including a sentence about time management in your admissions essay. Acknowledge that proper time management is key to success in higher education. By recalling personal examples of project planning and juggling the time-sensitive requirements, you’ll prove that you have what it takes to succeed!

There are also ways to link time management skills to specific majors. For instance, if you’re majoring in a creative discipline, you’ll likely need to manage multiple projects with strict deadlines. As an Eagle Scout, you can highlight the fact that you’re definitely no stranger to handling complex situations and achieving your goals!

5. Leadership: Effective Troop Teamwork & Collaboration

One concept that Eagle Scouts learn early on is that good leaders lead through example, not orders. In college and Scouting alike, teamwork is the backbone of any successful group. While it may seem difficult to incorporate these ideas into your college application, college admissions officers will understand that leadership and teamwork are central for Eagle Scouts.

Eagle Scouts learn to lead by example, not through orders. They also learn to support their team by delivering on their role to the best of their abilities. A few sentences in a college admissions essay that demonstrates your understanding of these concepts could help to set your application apart.

TIP: When describing your Eagle Scout Project, you could potentially include a few lines about the leadership skills that the project helped you to develop. You might also mention the work you’ve done with your patrol, and how you grew as a leader by working to understand each scout as an individual. Try to keep your examples as specific as possible!

You might even consider linking your leadership and teamwork skills to your major. For example, business majors have to be willing to cooperate, compromise, and work in teams to create successful projects. STEM majors also work in teams to solve complex problems. Making these connections in your essay will show that you’re prepared for the realities of your future field of study!

6. Values: Lifelong Morals From The Scout Oath & Law

Above all, Eagle Scouts have impeccable morals and always strive to uphold the Scout Oath and Law. These values can translate into skills that will help you to succeed in college as well! When learning, it’s good to have an open mind and be accepting of new perspectives. As an Eagle Scout, you’ve developed the groundwork upon which your values and morals can grow. 🙂

College will inevitably challenge your values as you encounter diverse students, gain new perspectives, and learn more information. This was definitely true in my case. Striking a balance between sticking to your morals and being open to new ideas is important, and, as an Eagle Scout, the values you’ve learned should help you to maintain that balance.

As you’re writing your admissions essay, keep in mind that your tone should express enthusiasm for the new experiences that college will bring. While relaying the values of community service, teamwork, citizenship, and communication that you learned in Scouting, be sure to demonstrate your passion, and I guarantee the admissions officer will be impressed!

7. Network: Eagle Scout Programs and Scholarships

Finally, you should be aware that there are tons of scholarships that are exclusively available to Eagle Scouts, and most will require an application essay. Additionally, earning your Eagle rank unlocks countless possibilities outside of just university. By taking advantage of these experiences, you can bolster your resume and craft an even stronger application!

Now it’s time to put what you learned in this article to use as you write about your Scouting experiences! Whether it’s for college admissions or scholarship applications, the skills you’ve learned in Scouting will set you apart in any application. Now be confident on those apps. You’ve got this!

Conclusion: Will Being An Eagle Scout Give Boys and Girls An Advantage?

My research for this article has shown that most college admissions officers see thousands of applications each year. However, only around 5% of scouts have ever reached Eagle! By touching on the values we’ve covered earlier, you’ll be able to craft a unique application that’ll stand out to any college admissions committee.

Keep in mind, the rank of Eagle alone, in the absence of good grades, is not enough to convince college admissions officers that you can succeed in a university setting. For already-compeditive applicants though, being an Eagle Scout will provide you with a huge advantage.

Competitive institutions like the Ivy Leagues will be looking for anything they can use to separate the metaphorical wheat from the chaff. That’s why it’s vital to frame your Scouting experience correctly. If you’re planning to mention your Scouting experience, I’d highly recommend first checking out my guide on How to Write a Killer Eagle Scout College Admissions Essay.

Thanks for reading this far. College applications may seem like a long and stressful process, but it’ll all be worthwhile once you get into your ideal school! I’m wishing you all the best for your applications and college journey. 🙂

Cole

I'm constantly writing new content for this website because I believe in Scouts like you! Thanks so much for reading, and for making this world a better place. Until next time, I'm wishing you all the best on your journey to Eagle and beyond!

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