Those four years in high school are the perfect time to volunteer. Although it may seem difficult to find the time to volunteer some time toward a cause that offers no (monetary) payment in return, the benefits you’ll draw from the experience may end up being worth more than what you make working that part-time job. Whether you’re a freshman or senior, it’s never too late to look into volunteer gigs – although if you’d like to use your community service experience as leverage on a college application, the sooner the better! We’ve come up with some benefits of volunteerism in high school below to get you to think about some good things about volunteering that you may not have considered otherwise.
There are a lot of high school students applying to college with impressive academic records. The GPAs and standardized test scores start to matter less especially when you’re applying to the more selective schools that include cut-offs when it comes to their admissions requirements. You’re then up against thousands of applicants with those same academic credentials. How do you stand out? What you choose to do outside of the classroom matters, whether that’s play sports, work a part-time job, or volunteer your time in the community.
Volunteerism is a great way to show admissions officials that you not only care about the community, but are able to manage your time well enough to balance a volunteer job with your other commitments. This doesn’t mean you should volunteer all of your time, or spread yourself thin by volunteering for several different organizations. But a sustained commitment to a cause throughout your time in high school or a volunteer position that you have been able to maintain for a longer period of time will look impressive to admission officials.
Getting involved in some volunteer work may lead you to meet people you wouldn’t have otherwise, especially if your community service takes place off of school grounds. Lots of high school students focus on extracurricular activities related to their schools – the sports, music, and after-school clubs that make time management an art. There’s a lot of value in getting involved outside of your school, though. The more people you meet, especially while doing something worthwhile like volunteering, the more contacts you’ll have when you’re ready to move on from high school and apply to colleges, internships, and even jobs after you graduate from a university. If you’re one of those high school students who already know what your intended field of study will be once you’re in college, try finding volunteer opportunities in those areas. For example, if you like the idea of becoming a lawyer, find a legal aid clinic to work for. There’s no reason your volunteer experience shouldn’t help you in your future endeavors.
Some high schools, especially those with career-based curriculums or religious affiliations will require that you fulfill a certain number of volunteer hours in order to graduate. Others will reward you for choosing to do some volunteer work on your own with academic credit. If your school offers service-learning as a part of their curriculum, you could be eligible for some academic or extra credit if you volunteer your time or get involved with a community service project. This kind of programming is growing in popularity, so make sure to ask your guidance office about volunteer opportunities offered by your school.
You may already know community service scholarships are one of the more common scholarship categories out there. Those awards are by no means reserved for college students. In fact, there are more community service scholarships available to high school students looking for funding to help pay for that first year on campus. If you have a history of volunteerism, make sure you consider that in both your scholarship search and scholarship application process. Admissions officials aren’t the only people you can impress with that kind of experience. Scholarship administrators like community service records as well.
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