Posts Tagged ‘volunteering’
In high school, you might be expected to do some volunteer work, whether it be for your college application, a social studies class, or an after-school organization. It’s perfectly understandable if you’re not exactly looking forward to these hours: you’re very busy, and working without getting paid doesn’t sound very fun. You may, however, be surprised at how you will benefit from doing volunteer work!
Meeting New People: In high school, you’ve likely been around the same people your whole life. Everyone at school knows as a certain way. There’s someone who still brings up the time you ate glue in second grade. You’re known to be a part of a particular crowd. It can be incredibly hard to break away from how everyone at school has always seen you. When you do volunteer work, you’ll be meeting lots of people from other schools who have no idea who you are except what you give them. This is a chance to make new friendships and relationships based on something other than the last fifteen years. In addition, meeting new people will become important in college, so you may as well practice through volunteer work!
Learning About Important Issues: As a volunteer, you’ll likely be made aware of the many issues and problems that your community may have. By working in a soup kitchen, you may for the first time discover the amount of homeless people living in your area. By volunteering at your public library, you may realize how little money the library has as well as where your community’s literacy rate stands. By volunteering with an environmental cleanup group, you may learn about what is causing pollution in your area. When you take the time to volunteer in your community, you’re taking a step outside of your school’s walls and getting a look at everything that impacts your community as a whole.
A Glimpse Into Your Future: As you spend time volunteering, you’ll begin to learn things about yourself that will help you choose your college major, and someday, your career. You could spend a week cashing people out at a thrift store, and the following week cleaning up an animal shelter, and realize you really prefer working in solitude. A few weekends at the hospital may reveal that while you’re completely into Grey’s Anatomy, seeing actual body fluids completely freaks you out, eliminating a chunk of your possible career paths. Consider what you like and what you don’t, and allow that information to influence your college decisions later.
Doing Some Good: Many people continue to volunteer through their adult lives because they love doing something good for society, and being able to see that good firsthand. While it’s great to send a check to an animal shelter, it feels completely different to be the one who cares for the animals there. By doing volunteer work, you get the chance to see the results up close, and that can be the best, most rewarding feeling in the world!
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably been told volunteer work is something admissions boards look for on your college application. For some of you, volunteer work is something you’ve already had to do as part of an organization or for a student government class. You already know where you can log those hours! For others, volunteer work is something completely new.
If you’ve never volunteered before, and are not quite sure where to start, read on!
Why do colleges care if I volunteer?
As a high school student, there’s not a whole lot you can include on your resume just yet. You haven’t earned a degree. You have little-no work experience, and chances are, that work experience is a part-time job completely unrelated to what you want for your future career. So how can you show a potential college what kind of person you are and what you’re capable of? Volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, leadership roles, standardized test scores, sports involvement, GPAs, and your essay will all do their part in shaping who you are as an individual. There is no golden ticket for college admission, but anything that can make a statement about who you are, helps.
Where can I find out about volunteer work?
Finding potential places to volunteer can be an annoying process, especially if you’re unsure on where to look. Start off by talking to your guidance counselor. You may also want to look in newspapers, bulletin boards at your school, church, or town hall, or just by doing a Google search online. As to which places have been the most enjoyable to volunteer, you may want to ask around. Chances are, your classmates have had to volunteer as well, and could give you an honest review about what volunteering at a specific place is like.
At what type of places could I volunteer?
Volunteer work has something for everyone, no matter where your interests lie. If you pick something you have an interest in, you’re more likely to enjoy as well as take something away from your volunteer work. You may even be inspired to continue working within the same area in college. The following is a list of places that may need volunteers.
- Animal shelters
- Nursing homes
- Thrift stores
- Soup kitchens
- Homeless shelters
- Family shelters
- Environmental groups
- Community events
- Mentor programs
How do I get involved?
No matter where you choose to volunteer, you probably won’t be turned down. Everyone could use some free help. If there isn’t a contact person meant for those interested in volunteering, you can start just by calling/emailing the company/organization.
How committed do I need to be?
Volunteer work can be fit around anyone’s schedule. There are some places, such as hospitals and animal shelters, may require a certain amount of training, followed by set hours to volunteer. Other places, such as soup kitchens, may allow you to come and go whenever you’re free without any training needed. You can volunteer as much or as little as you can.
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While grades and academic performance are fundamental to your college applications, extra-curricular activities and service projects speak very strongly about the person you are outside of school. Universities take these into consideration because they want to see you as a three dimensional human, instead of just a paper transcript. Your participation as a volunteer can and will shed light on the different talents you will add to the college you choose – and if you take a look at the opportunities below, you’ll have a blast before you even get to school!
An awesome organization called Projects Abroad offers two-week long volunteer excursions to full time students in the 16 to 19 year age range. Specialized programs this summer include Archeology, Building, Care, Sports, Journalism, Conservation, Culture, Law and Medicine. The two-week trip includes a few classes, hands-on work and one weekend expedition. You do have the option of adding an additional week onto your volunteer stay. It is recommended that you watch one of their scheduled webinars (the next one is April 11th) to get a better feel for what Projects Abroad is all about.
After you fill out their application and pay a $295 deposit, it takes up to 15 days to hear back about acceptance. The Projects Abroad Expert Travel Team will help you arrange a flight. This program would give you an amazing opportunity to expand your skill set for a specific interest, help people in need, and add a significant entry to your resume and college applications. Projects Abroad also offers alternative Spring Break options and help for students looking to fill a gap year with substantial projects.
Traveling overseas isn’t your cup o’ tea? Would rather save that $295 for textbooks? Try visiting an awesome site called VolunteerMatch. You can search using your area code to find a long list of volunteer opportunities right in your neighborhood! Try something like “Atlanta” and “Spring Break” to see what volunteer opportunities are happening during your spring break near you. My search turned up everything from walk-a-thons to tutoring to park clean-up.
Volunteering will not only make you feel good, it will demonstrate your ability to positively contribute to your community and work with others in a group setting. It can be fun and will always be rewarding.
If you are a student who already volunteers and wants to continue in college, check out Cappex’s list of five schools who were recognized by the Department of Education for their excellence in helping communities in need!
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