Today’s guest blog post is written and contributed by ScholarPrep! The organization brings students, parents, and counselors together to prepare for the college and scholarship application process. The ScholarPrep Organizer saves time and money by encouraging students to start planning for their future now, helping them to set goals, organize information, and track their progress. To learn more about ScholarPrep, click here!
Community involvement is essential to a well-rounded and impressive college or scholarship application, and community service/volunteering demonstrates community involvement!
Definition: Community service is defined as an act of volunteering one’s time to help others in need. Typically, community service, or volunteering, takes place through a legitimate channel, such as a non-profit organization or a student club.
What counts as volunteering?
While doing nice things for others is a great way to spend your time, the following examples do not constitute community service: helping a neighbor out by mowing their lawn, volunteering time on a local politician’s campaign, or raising money for your cheerleading squad at a bake sale. Community service is an act of giving back to your community, for instance by volunteering your time in a home for the elderly, working in a soup kitchen, or tutoring children who need extra help in school.
Helpful hints for demonstrating community involvement:
- Set a goal for the number of volunteer hours you want to have completed by the time you graduate. A goal of 200 hours means 50 hours each year during your high school career. Your goal will depend on your career path or emphasis.
- Diversify your service. Try to find at least three organizations to volunteer with, even if the majority of your community involvement is through only one. This shows that you are committed to the act of volunteering itself, and not just to a particular organization or group of individuals.
- Seek out community service opportunities as soon as you graduate from 8th grade to ensure that your hours will be spread out over time. A large number of hours accumulated nearing graduation could look like procrastination and leave others questioning your commitment to community involvement.
- Some scholarships may require verification of community service. These verification letters should be provided by the individual responsible for overseeing the community service and should include the volunteer’s name, the organization for which they volunteered, and the dates and hours worked. Keep a copy of all verification letters in one place.
- Bonus Tip: Anyone who has supervised your community involvement is a great person to ask for a letter of recommendation!
- Set a community service goal.
- Continue brainstorming ways to get involved and diversify your service.
- Log your community service hours.
- Keep all verification letters.
What are some ways you are showing your commitment to community involvement? What is your favorite way to volunteer? Tell us in the comments below!