How Eagle Scout Lessons Can be Applied to a College Education
July 12, 2021
Eagle scouts are some of the most well-prepared leaders for life, ready for both college and a career. By the time a scout is 18 and achieved this rank, they’ve built strong skills in areas of leadership and communication.
“At Unity College, we have a deep appreciation for the work these young people do to prepare for life. The way they interact with nature as they build their leadership and life skills is something we understand and value. We want to prepare students for life and help them pursue their dreams of working in and with nature. That’s why we offer degrees through our Hybrid Learning Advantage.” – Mike Moody, Assistant Professor of Conservation Law Enforcement at Unity College.
With opportunities like the hybrid learning degrees, scouts can continue fulfilling their love of the outdoors by pursuing education in an area like conservation law. A hybrid degree such as the Bachelor of Science in Conservation Enforcement Law allows scouts to work toward outdoor positions like park ranger, game warden, or marine patrol. Scouts can leverage their outdoor skills and an educated awareness of the natural world in their learning and career pursuits.
In this blog, we’re going to explore how knowledge and skills acquired through scouts can translate into the skills needed to thrive as a student and in the workforce.
What Is an Eagle Scout?
The Eagle Scout rank from the Boy Scouts of America is the highest achievement a scout can earn within the program. First put in place in 1911, this rank is not easy to achieve with only 8 percent of its membership ever earning it. This rank represents an important milestone—a culmination of years of hard work, practice, and dedication to everything scouts stand for, including respect, loyalty, and service to others.
What Does It Take to Be an Eagle Scout?
It takes a lot of work on a number of different tasks to become an Eagle Scout. To achieve this, a person must move up in the ranks over a period of time. During that time, a scout must meet specific objectives, such as completing specific goals by certain deadlines.
Merit badges are one component of the process. When a person receives a merit badge, they have successfully completed a learning path for a specific subject. An Eagle Scout must earn at least 21 merit badges. These may be in a wide range of areas. For example, some include tasks such as learning to cook, being able to swim, being able to hike, camp, and provide first aid to those in need. There are many merit badges out there, allowing scouts to achieve just about anything they desire.
In addition to this, a scout also must demonstrate the Scout Spirit. Scouts are people who help others, who are truthful and dependable, and who are loyal. It takes a long time to develop these skills, but they can prove to be incredibly valuable not just during their time as a scout, but throughout their lives.
Another big part of becoming an Eagle Scout is demonstrating leadership abilities. Over the course of their time as scouts, each person is tasked with managing projects and accomplishing goals. While they learn skills to accomplish those goals, they also learn how to work with and leading other people. Scouts have to hold various leadership roles throughout their time at various ranks. This provides them with the ability to learn how to manage tasks, but also to lead with confidence and respect.
The culmination of becoming an Eagle Scout is creating a project that serves the community in some way. The scout has to develop the project, raise funds for it, and then execute it with other members of the troop. This often is a significant project that requires careful planning.
After completing all of the work it takes to become an Eagle Scout, the process is not done just yet. The scout must sit for a Board of Review with the Scoutmaster—the adult leader of the troop—and communicate all they have accomplished. They must then show that they live the Scout Oath and be able to discuss all they’ve accomplished. The process takes some time.
What Are the Benefits of Being an Eagle Scout?
Much of being an Eagle Scout is a personal path. The ability to say that you’ve worked hard to accomplish all of these goals means something to an Eagle Scout. Yet, there are many other benefits to being a scout as well.
The valuable experiences a scout has along the way are a big part of this. These experiences teach scouts how to be respectful of others and the planet. Those experiences help mold and shape the minds of scouts.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is not a solitary process, however. Rather, it often involves spending countless hours with friends and other leaders to accomplish goals. There’s no doubt that scouts have plenty of stories to tell about their time working with other people.
Perhaps the most important benefit of becoming an Eagle Scout is the way it changes a person’s outlook. It helps to increase confidence and the ability to make good decisions. These scouts come away from this accomplishment feeling empowered to achieve their best life. This process also helps Eagle Scouts develop incredible leadership skills that translate into all areas of their lives, from career opportunities to taking leadership roles within their communities.
There are other core benefits of being a scout, as well. For example, some colleges and universities see Eagle Scouts as preferred students. They are typically hard working and dedicated to their studies. This may help some students get into college, into important jobs for their career, and even aid them in military service should they go that route. In particular, a background in scouting can carry over to a BS in Conservation Law Enforcement degree program where outdoor skills and an understanding of natural environments are key to success in learning and in the field.
Is Becoming an Eagle Scout a Big Deal?
For those who have worked to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, there’s no doubt it is a big deal. Achieving this rank takes a lot of time and effort. It also signifies dedication to high morals and standards. Earning this rank takes time, but it also takes learning, personal growth, and communication. Those who participate in this process learn to become leaders in their own right through numerous projects and tasks.
Becoming an Eagle Scout is recognized and esteemed throughout the United States. When used on a college or job application, this recognition signifies just how dedicated the applicant is. Due to its scarcity, it is a prestigious award and rank—just a small percentage of people are able to complete all of the requirements to meet these goals by the time they are 18.
Anyone with the rank of Eagle Scout should see it as a big deal. It showcases all of the hard work you’ve completed over the course of your time as a Boy Scout.
What Comes After Eagle Scout?
Many scouts earn this rank by the time they are seniors in high school. That means many are applying to colleges and getting ready to embark on their future into adulthood. Eagle Scouts often decide to remain a part of their troop, frequently holding adult leadership positions. Yet, in the coming months, going to college will alter their path.
College is likely the first experience an Eagle Scout has to showcase what he or she has learned. They can use the skills of leadership, communication, bravery, and loyalty to help them carve out success in the world around them.
Transferable Eagle Scout Skills and Values
What are the skills and values that Eagle Scouts have that can help them to succeed in college and beyond? There’s quite a bit that scouts learn that can be directly applied to college life. For example:
- Working as a team. In college, teamwork is critical. It defines success in big projects but also helps students support friends and family. Scouts have built strong teamwork skills.
- Time management. A good deal of the hard work scouts complete has to be done under time constraints. That’s important in college life for things like managing projects and completing assignments under pressure.
- Environmental stewards. Many students see the value of stewarding the planet, and scouts typically know this firsthand from their experience working to preserve and keep the planet clean.
- From student senate positions to leading through projects, scouts are easily some of the best leaders within the college setting.
- College students need to be able to adapt to the world around them especially when they are facing numerous challenges on their education pathway.
How can these skills directly relate to the majors that students in college complete? There is simply no limit to what a scout can achieve in college with these skills. Most of these skills, and others, translate into actionable abilities for every major and degree program they complete.
This applies to any desired educational path, including environmental studies, business management, law degrees, and nursing to name a few. It applies to career paths as far-reaching as technical engineering to the arts. The skills learned during these scouting years can help a student to achieve the best outcome for years to come. Many will earn honors in their college education for their hard work.
Translating Scout Skills to Career Paths
Once students complete a degree, they may find that getting into grad schools is easier to do with an Eagle Scout rank. They may also learn that it looks good on a job application. Eagle Scouts hold professional positions in almost every industry. The skills they learn in leadership and communication can be applied to a wide range of careers. It may help them thrive in high-stress situations such as nursing, or it may help them do their part to support the environment through research programs.
Perhaps one of the most important things to remember about becoming an Eagle Scout is that it opens doors and creates opportunities. It doesn’t limit future career goals, nor does it commit a student to a specific path. Rather, it creates opportunity, allowing students to demonstrate their full skillsets and dedication to potential employers. This can prove to be incredibly valuable. From that first oath a scout takes to the day he or she earns their Eagle Scout ranking, they are preparing for a strong future no matter the path they take.