University and college applicants are being encouraged to refer to their involvement in activities such as fundraising, volunteering and campaigning on their applications under new guidance published on the Ucas website.
The guidance has been produced by the Charities Aid Foundation after CAF’s cross-party parliamentary Growing Giving inquiry recommended last year that Ucas forms should include a provision for young people to demonstrate their commitment to social action.
The inquiry, which was chaired by David Blunkett, the former Labour Home Secretary, and which focused on how charitable giving could be increased, also urged Ucas to provide information about the importance of social action in order to encourage greater involvement and raise awareness of the benefits.
A statement from CAF said that including references to social action in the personal statement section of applications could make applicants more likely to catch the eyes of admissions tutors.
A spokeswoman for CAF said it contacted Ucas about this after the Growing Giving inquiry report was published last year.
She said CAF had formulated the guidance with organisations including the Association of Colleges, the Higher Education Liaison Officers Association, the National Union of Students, Step Up To Serve and the National Citizen Service.
The organisations will work together to send out hard copies of the guidance to teachers and careers advisers later in the year, she said.
Helen Thorne, director of external relations at Ucas, said in a statement: "Linking volunteering and leadership in extracurricular activities to an area of study might strengthen an application.
"Along with writing about the courses people are applying for, universities also like to know the types of skills applicants have that will help them on the course, or at university generally."
John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: "It is important to encourage people to get involved with charities, and we are delighted that Ucas and other key organisations are supporting these efforts to give young people easy access to information about how they can help others while helping themselves."