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The Do’s and Don’ts of THON Captain Applications

Earlier this year, I applied for one of the most stressful things in my life. I spent approximately five days perfecting two essays, my résumé, and trying to find a somewhat acceptable picture to attach to what seemed like a do-or-die situation.

After I finalized everything, I drove to State College to stop by the HUB, and then prayed. Luckily I was called the  next day for an interview. I went back to State College, met with a couple people, answered some questions, but mostly sweated from nerves. That Friday I got a call from Joey Cassidy asking if I would like to be a Production Captain for the Entertainment Committee (ENT).


What I am getting at here is that I have been through the process, and I know first hand that it is nerve-racking, especially because one cannott save the progress they made and come back to it later. So after talking to a couple overalls, as well as looking back on my experience, I have come up with a short do’s and don’ts list for filling out THON captain applications.


  • Be a captain first – When the overalls look at the apps, they want to see people who are excited to be a part of THON. In other words, don’t just talk about how beneficial you would be as one position or to yourself, but address how you could be beneficial to the overall philanthropic family.
  • Past experiences – Past THON experiences are always a must have. But don’t just talk about how it’s life changing (we all know it is), talk about specific experiences that have been influential as a human being. These memories are what get freshmen and 16-year-olds captain positions.
  • Leadership – Leadership goes a long way. It shows responsibility; the ability to be decisive, and well, lead. I personally added that I was an Eagle Scout.
  • Interactions with kids/families – This could be added to experiences, but deserves its own category. THON is always FTK first, so talking about moments where you bonded with any of them could come in clutch.
  • Get damn good references – I knew my go to references going into my application because I personally worked with them all year at Altoona. Don’t just put a boss. You should list someone whom you have personally worked with through THON, like an Overall, head of an org, or Kevin Horne. So thanks Mara and Molly.
  • Position experience – This is another thing that isn’t necessary but could give an advatange. Whether you were a moraler, important to another org/Greek life, or a captain for a branch campus (yes, they have captains to help run THON at the branch campuses), it looks good on the application. So if you have it, add it (also, see past experiences).
  • Use Word – As I stated before, you can’t save progress on the applications and come back to it later. The best thing to do is type and hammer out your essays on Microsoft Word if you cannot finish it all at once. This also allows you to use spell check.


  • “It’s the next step” – This is a common mistake to put on apps. It is not a right to move up. It’s more of a privilege to be chosen to help run the largest student-run philanthropy in the world.
  • “Good Experience” – 1. Be ecstatic about THON 2. Again don’t talk about how THON can benefit you, but how you can make it “the biggest and best THON yet.”
  • Résumé builder – While in truth, it may be beneficial down the road to mention that you were important to the cause, do not mention it. Again, stay away from the personal stuff and say how you can help THON.
  • Procrastinate – As I said, this application stressed me out and took me a while to finish. If you’re just starting as you read this, you should probably stop. This is just supposed to be used as a touch up guide.

So with that, good luck to those applying, and be sure to get those apps in by Friday!

About the Author

Matt Westlake

Toona '12. Main '14. Creamery for life.


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