How to Make the Most of Your High School Community Service
The vast majority of the colleges you apply to do not require community service in order to enroll and gain admissions into them, but completing valuable community hours will make your application more attractive to prospective admissions departments. Additionally, your high school might require you to fulfill your hours in order to graduate. Now, you may have considered just getting your hours done as quickly as possible at the first place you find, but you should research your options first. Community hours are a great way to test potential career paths and see if they are the right fit for you. If you are unsure of where to apply, ask a student coach, they know a lot about community service.
Community service requires a dedicated individual as it will consume a lot of your free time. In addition, this is a genuine opportunity for you to differentiate yourself in your college applications, and possibly even pre-determine whether a specific college major is right for you. Take advantage of these simple facts in order to get the best experience from your community service hours.
If you have an interest in medical school, doing your community service at a teaching hospital, hospice, or neighborhood clinic can help you determine whether you enjoy the lifestyle, work demands, and general experience that many doctors experience. You have the opportunity to become a mentee to your future profession.
This is not exclusive to medical school though. If you want to become a teacher, for instance, there are always volunteering opportunities available at charter schools, public schools, community centers and adult education centers and more. If you have a professional goal in mind and you want to determine whether that goal is right for you, consider consulting with a student coach today.
Before You Hit the Pavement
Everything is online nowadays. Our friends, our workplaces, even our hobbies can be found in the click of a button. If you are interested in volunteering in a certain field, for instance archaeology, and you want to know if the field has opportunities for you to explore a future career path, some of the best places to look are online.
VolunteerMatch.org is a great site to search for volunteer opportunities, especially with non-profit organizations in America. You can search by country, your regional area, and even your city or town. Volunteer Match has partnerships with over 100,000 non-profit organizations around the world, allowing you to search for community service opportunities no matter where you are located.
Idealist.org is a volunteer listings website owned by the non-profit organization Action Without Borders. They provide special search sections for Internships, Volunteer, and Action opportunities in your local area. Like Volunteer Match, Idealist features over 100,000 non-profit organizations in need of volunteers. Volunteer.gov is a US government-run website that allows visitors to search for the perfect volunteer opportunity in their area. The focus of the listed opportunities is limited though, specializing in natural and cultural resource volunteering. If you like the great outdoors or want to explore the rugged American landscape while completing your community hours for your high school graduation, you should consider searching for opportunities on Volunteer.gov.
There are many more sites online, with many more listed opportunities for you to complete your mandated community service.
NOTE: Before you accept a volunteering opportunity or provide them with any information, no matter how common you think this information is (like your birthday), fully research the opportunities you are being offered in order to stay safe online!
Verify that the NGO you are applying to is recognized by the US. Ask your parents if they have heard anything about an NGO that claims to be very well known. You can find an NGO search engine here but many other sites exist that offer the same service. For more tips on safe online conduct while applying to community service opportunities for your college application, contact a student coach today.
The Importance of Community Service in Your University Applications
Each part of your application is important. Your grades compliment your SAT/ACT scores, which compliment your community service experience. Grades will make you stand out but simply having the grades required to apply to a college does not mean you will get in. There are most likely other students with better grades who are applying.
With the disparity in high school education throughout the country, grades simply are not a good indication of a student’s value to a college. Colleges are interested in the ability of a student to succeed and take advantage of the opportunities they find. This is where community service comes into play.
It is one thing to state that you value community service in your college essays. It is another to show you have actual experience helping your community. Having actual experience, no matter if it is via volunteering, interning, or working, shows that you are a “go-getter” with a “can-do” attitude.
Admissions officers want to know you are a well-rounded student who is not afraid of obstacles, failure, or limited resources. Student coaches can help you understand what college admissions officers are looking for in their applicants in order for you to have an easier time compiling your application.
For instance, if you have spent a few months helping newly landed immigrants to read and write English, you have already done more than most students applying. If you want to be a teacher or civil servant, this is great experience that lets your teacher’s college know that you are a serious student and a boon to their institution. These types of students are most likely to succeed.
Lastly, do not feel like your opportunities are limited to your local area. There are many volunteering opportunities you can find on the web that you can complete from your living room while still making a difference.
There are so many possibilities out there. You can learn a new language online and then offer translation services to immigrants or by setting up local seniors with pen-pals around the world. You can volunteer your time in a pet shelter or animal store in order to familiarize yourself with the types of care animals need before you attend veterinary school. Think about your ultimate career goal and then reverse-engineer it, building a trajectory that starts with volunteer opportunities in order to learn more about the field. Then the only thing that matters is staying on track with your trajectory.
For faster and more substantive search results than doing it alone, or to talk with someone who has years of experience with helping students find meaningful community service opportunities, contact a student coach today.
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