The Value of Earning the Eagle Scout Rank

Boy Scout eagle pin and patch with uniform and merit badges
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Created in 1911, Eagle Scout is the highest rank of the Scouts BSA (formerly Boys Scouts of America). Because it takes years of hard work, service, and determination to become an Eagle Scout, this prestigious milestone is recognized across the country and the world. Prominent service personnel, astronauts, United States senators, and others count the Eagle Scout rank among their achievements.

In 2019, girls gained the opportunity to join Scouts BSA and earn Eagle rank. In February 2021, nearly 1,000 girls and young women became the first female Eagle Scouts in the organization's history. A virtual ceremony marked this historical achievement.

Eagle Scout Requirements

Becoming an Eagle Scout takes perseverance and hard work. Scouts have to earn all the ranks in order starting with Scout. The following is a list of the activities the Scout will complete on their ​journey to Eagle Scout:

  • Be active in the troop for at least six months as a Life Scout
  • Show dedication to Scout Oath and Scout Law
  • Provide references from family, work, church, and other community groups
  • Earn 21 merit badges
  • Serve a minimum of six months in a leadership position
  • Propose, plan, and carry out an Eagle service project
  • Attend a Scoutmaster conference
  • Pass a board of review

That's a pretty tall order for most teenagers. In fact, in 2019, only 8% of all Scouts earned Eagle Rank status. Since it takes so much work, why do teens do it? Some recognize and appreciate the impact the award will have on their lives. Others are encouraged by their parents and Scoutmasters. For some teens, it is a family tradition.

Eagle Scout Benefits

The Eagle Scout rank shows that a Scout embodies Scout BSA qualities of trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courteousness, kindness, obedience, cheerfulness, thriftiness, bravery, cleanliness, and reverence. Eagle Scouts embody the Scout Law and that makes them a person of strong character. These traits will help them in everything they do, from being a partner to a parent and an employee to a community leader.

Eagle Scouts value perseverance, discipline, motivation, leadership, accountability, and achievement. And those lead to tangible benefits such as:

  • College admissions: Admissions officers recognize the award and consider it in their decisions. Being an Eagle Scout won't make up for poor grades, but it can give an applicant an advantage. The officers may not be familiar with other awards or organizations, but they should recognize the Scouts BSA Eagle Scout rank. 
  • Scholarships: Eagle Scouts are eligible for many scholarships. Unigo, a network for future college students, offers a list of Eagle Scout-only scholarships.
  • Military rank: Every branch of the U.S. military allows Eagle Scouts to enter at a higher rank and pay grade than others who are not Eagle Scouts.
  • Career: Many employment recruiters look for "Eagle Scout" on a resume, and the positive traits that achievement represents.

Earning the rank of Eagle Scout can open employment doors throughout life. It is often the only high school accomplishment that applicants list on a resume regardless of age. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you list Eagle Scout on a resume?

On your resume, list Eagle Scout at the top of the section for extracurricular achievements. Beneath it, include bullet points about your Eagle Scout service project, your leadership role, and Scout-related information that relates to the specific job you're applying for.

What U.S. president was an Eagle Scout?

To date, Gerald Ford is the only U.S. president who has achieved Eagle Scout rank. He called receiving the award, "one of the proudest moments of my life."

How important is an Eagle Scout award for college?

Most college admissions officers recognize the Eagle Scout as an exceptional achievement. It can give the Scout an advantage over other applicants.

Why is being an Eagle Scout important?

Being an Eagle Scout is important because it requires immense hard work, dedication, and service to others. It gives teens something to strive for and instills confidence, leadership, and a commitment to the community. These skills carry into college, career, and adult life.

What is the Girl Scout equivalent to Eagle Scout?

The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award available in the Girl Scouts of the USA and is considered the equivalent of the Eagle Scout in Scouts BSA. It takes one to two years to complete and allows the Scout to apply for certain scholarships, enter the military at a higher rank, and distinguish themselves from other college and job applicants.

A Word From Verywell

When a Scout becomes an Eagle Scout, they join a community of Eagle Scouts united by their commitment to the ideals of Scouting. Those ideals instill confidence and character in every Eagle Scout and serve as the building blocks of leadership, service, community. These traits serve the Eagle Scout from the teen years and continue throughout every stage and age of life.

5 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Boy Scouts of America. Eagle rank requirements.

  2. Boy Scouts of America. Nearly 1,000 young women soar into history as the first female Eagle scouts.

  3. Boy Scouts of America. What are the scout oath and scout law?.

  4. Scouts BSA. Eagle Scout fact sheet.

  5. Scouting Magazine. Eagle Scouts welcome Gerald Ford home.

By Sherry Smothermon-Short
Sherry Smotherton-Short is an active Cub Scout volunteer and den leader, and created Cub Scout Ideas to share her knowledge with other parents.