Volunteer work can be both personally rewarding and also highlight your work ethic on a high school resume. Being able to list community service when you apply to colleges—and even while filling out job applications—can most certainly boost your appeal as a candidate.
Check out four reasons why volunteering is a great way to boost not just your resume, but also your self esteem.
Volunteer work says a lot about who you are. Finding the right community service job involves a lot of self-reflection. If you are going to truly dedicate your time to helping others, it’s a good idea to find something you are passionate about. There are many ways to volunteer in alignment with your personal interests or hobbies, such as playing guitar for the elderly in a nursing home if you are musical, making fresh meals at a local shelter if you enjoy cooking, or tutoring students at an afterschool program if you are a math whiz. Whatever you choose, your volunteer work demonstrates to future colleges or employers a little bit about who you are outside of the confines of a transcript—and may also help you tap into who you are just a little bit deeper, as well.
Volunteering demonstrates that you can manage your time. High School schedules are busy! Between classes, athletics, and other extracurricular activities, finding the time to fit in volunteer work can be a daunting task. For those students who manage to incorporate community service into their week (or even their month), it is a huge signal to colleges and employers that you are dedicated to bettering yourself, helping others, and importantly, managing your time. Managing your time doesn’t just mean “fitting it all in,” however—it is critical that your grades do not suffer as a result of your afterschool activities. If you feel that taking on that extra volunteer effort is a burden to your studies, perhaps look for other ways to offer your services that are more appropriate to your jammed schedule, such a weekend event or summer/school break endeavor.
Volunteering sets you apart on your application. As admission officers sort through stacks of applications—containing hundreds of applicants who achieve high grades, star in their school drama productions or captain the football team—they are often looking for that special something that makes a candidate stick out from the rest. Seeing volunteer work on your high school application (and even having a supplemental letter of recommendation from a volunteer coordinator) can definitely put your application over the edge. Your volunteer work is unique to you, demonstrates that you care about the larger community, and indicates an autonomy and maturity that goes above and beyond what high school sets in front of you. On another positive note, colleges are well aware that those who volunteer during high school are likely to volunteer while a member of their college or university—which means you will bring something to the table to enhance their community, a huge gold star.
Connecting with new people outside of your school environment can teach you new skills. While you are a student in high school, it’s easy to interact with the same people day in and day out, from your family in the mornings and evenings, to your teachers, friends, and coaches throughout the week. One of the perks of taking up volunteer work is that it offers a chance to meet new people and encounter new experiences. Making new connections and interacting from people outside of your normal routine is not only refreshing, it’s important to developing a sense of the world around you and preparing your for life beyond high school, and can even lead to a summer job-- a great resume building opportunity.
In the end, volunteering is a great way to boost your college application while making connections in the community and building new skills. If you can handle one more activity, volunteering is definitely worth a shot-- just make sure it doesn’t interfere with your current commitments!