Looking for a way to build your resume while making a lasting contribution to your community? As a student preparing for college, you should consider becoming a volunteer. The Right C3 coaches want you to know that volunteer work is a great way to help you stand out on your college application.
Volunteering is a win-win situation. You get to help other people while also helping yourself. College applications will ask about your volunteer work—both its quantity (have you gone “above and beyond”?) and quality (Did you come up with an original idea? Was the work challenging?). As they review your application, the admissions officers will consider any leadership positions you held, what skills you used or developed, and how your volunteer work fits into the overall story of your academic interests.
So, how do you choose a volunteer opportunity that’s right for you? Think about the Who, What, Why, Where, When, and How.
Who can you get to participate? You could involve classmates, young people who live in your neighborhood or area, or other groups you’re a part of.
What skills can you contribute? Consider what special skills, talents, or areas of knowledge you have to offer. You might be the kind of person who wants to work directly with people or the kind who likes to work behind the scenes. All kinds of people are needed!
Why are you volunteering? Think about the problems you are most passionate about helping to solve. Maybe there are certain groups of people you want to help, or maybe your passion is for helping animals or the environment.
Where are you going to make your contributions? Your volunteer work could affect your school, neighborhood, town, county, state, etc. Perhaps you are interested in work that contributes on a national or even global scale.
When can you volunteer? Maybe you have free time in the evenings, on weekends, or during school breaks. There are volunteer opportunities all year long!
How will your volunteer work contribute to solving the problem(s) you are interested in? This is especially important to consider when you are starting your own volunteer group from scratch, but for any volunteer experience, you should think about the long-lasting impacts of your work.
For opportunities available in your area, check with your city’s volunteer center, your guidance counselor, local businesses, public libraries, service organizations, Boys & Girls Clubs, and local, state, and federal government offices. AmeriCorps has a volunteer program for teens; Habitat for Humanity is always looking for people to help build homes; and you can get more great ideas for volunteering at www.ysa.org (Youth Service America).