To get into a top university in the United States, academic achievement isn’t enough; you have to demonstrate “how wonderful you are as a human being” by volunteering for good causes, says Femida Handy, a professor of social policy and practice at the University of Pennsylvania. That is not true everywhere. In India, where grades and test scores alone often determine admissions, one high school student told Handy that he didn’t volunteer because colleges wouldn’t take him if they found out he...

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