One of the biggest things colleges look for in an applicant is community involvement. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been at an information session only to hear an admissions counselor say how much they value an applicant;s volunteer work. Community service can also be a deciding factor when it comes to awarding scholarships senior year.
Volunteering is great because it allows you to boost your resume and gain some career experience. I volunteered at the local zoo last summer because I thought I wanted to major in biology. Even though I’ve changed my mind about what I want to study since then, volunteering there gave me real world experience as a zoologist.
Here are 7 great ways that you can get involved in your community this spring.
Organize a community clothing, toiletry, or food drive // A college’s two favorite things to see in an applicant are leadership and volunteerism. By organizing a drive, you’re killing two birds with one stone!
Contact a local museum or park // Most museums and parks are always looking for volunteers. They may have a program specifically geared towards high school students as well.
Volunteer at an animal shelter // If you’re thinking about being a vet (or just love animals), this is a great opportunity for you! While you may have to have specific training before you can start, volunteering at an animal shelter can be a very rewarding experience.
Look for opportunities at local non-profits // There are some great websites where local non-profit organizations can advertise their needs for volunteers. You can screen the results by age requirement, location, and type of service.
Tutor younger students // Hiring a tutor can be really expensive. This is a great service to provide for those who may not be able to afford it. By hanging flyers up at schools or in the local library, you’ll be able to help students in subjects you’re confident about!
Look for virtual volunteer opportunities // Two years ago, I volunteered to translate a European non-profit organization’s website into English. Not only was it a great way to improve my French, but I also got community service hours. This is a great option if you’re very busy or can’t volunteer consistently. Great sites to find virtual community service include volunteermatch.org and createthegood.org.
Inquire at small businesses // Many small businesses would love to have an intern or student volunteer. I have friends who have gotten community service hours for assisting at law firms and physical therapy clinics. This is a great way to learn about a career you may be interested (while earning community service hours at the same time!)
Best of luck finding a volunteer opportunity that is right for you!