In college, you may be required to volunteer in order to earn academic credit, qualify for a particular scholarship, or compete on an athletic team. Some students may find it difficult to volunteer because their schedules are filled with homework, classes, and extracurricular activities. There may also be days where you feel that you barely have time for yourself, let alone time for helping another person or group.
Other days, you may have the time but lack the motivation. It may be difficult at first to use your free time to help out, but volunteering benefits almost everyone who is involved. Taking the time to volunteer will help you gain valuable experience, grow as an individual, and give back to those in need. Read on to learn more about the benefits of volunteering for college students.
Why should I volunteer in college?
Volunteering in college provides a multitude of benefits for your fellow humans, your community, and yourself. In college, you have access to plenty of volunteer programs and organizations to facilitate your efforts. We've compiled a list of the best reasons to be a college student volunteer.
1. Help Others
The main reason you should volunteer is to help others. There are many people that are born into less fortunate conditions, many students that struggle to learn material even after the teacher explains it, and many organizations that just need another set of hands. Whether you choose to work in a food bank, tutor a student, or help with Habitat for Humanity, volunteering can help you feel like you are using your time more effectively. You will surely feel rewarded for helping those in need.
2. Make a Difference
Volunteering can make a major difference in the world. Many people don’t have proper food, clothing, or shelter; volunteers can feel good that they are providing those people with necessities and giving them hope for a better future. Becoming a volunteer reminds you to be grateful for what you have and teaches many lessons.
3. Help the Environment
Volunteers also play an important role in protecting and maintaining the earth. If you’re interested in helping the environment, you can start by picking up trash or helping with other cleanups around your area. You could also volunteer to help plant trees, keep oceans clean, help protect endangered wildlife, and more!
4. Enhance Personal Growth
Volunteer experiences, at their core, are about helping others. However, they often provide personal benefits as well. Giving to others can bring happiness to you, and it can help you develop a sense of purpose. If you are the type of person that is always on the go, volunteering can be a positive escape from your busy reality and give you a chance to slow down.
5. Build Your Resume & Skills
Building a great resume is necessary for landing internships or jobs along your future career path. For those who haven't graduated just yet, volunteering can also help you stand out when applying for scholarships! Companies and colleges love to see volunteer work on a job candidate's resume because it helps to show that the candidate puts others first. It may even increase your chances of being selected.
6. Visit New Places
If you love traveling and need a good reason to do so, consider taking a volunteer trip. You could plan the volunteer experience as an “alternative spring break”, or you could be a summer volunteer in a foreign country. There are many corporations for national volunteers that help others worldwide and provide you with a great experience. Many groups organize trips to places like New Zealand, Africa, Thailand, India, Peru, and more.
7. Participate in your Community
Although the volunteer trips abroad are eye-opening and important, sometimes the areas that need the most help are right under your fingertips. There are many ways that you can volunteer in your community and get more involved in your community organizations. In addition, you'll be able to meet new people and learn about the area; this is especially beneficial for those who are new to the area.
How can I find volunteer opportunities in college?
You’ve made the decision to donate your time and help make the world a better place. We applaud your decision. So, how do you get started? Fortunately, there are many volunteer opportunities all around. You just have to know where to look. To find what's right for you, consider the following tips.
1. Check with your college
At your college, there are many clubs, organizations, and community service programs whose main purpose is to volunteer. There are many others that add a small amount of volunteer work onto their yearly agenda. If the time commitment for either option is still too much for you, you can consider taking a service-learning course offered by your college. These courses combine volunteering and learning in your regular classroom schedule. In addition, you will receive academic credit for it.
2. Ask friends and family
If you are looking to help someone you know, the best thing to do would be to ask your friends and family if they need any help. Try posting on Facebook to see if anyone you know is in need of an extra set of hands. You can also use your social network to find more volunteer experiences and get referrals for new opportunities.
3. Consider your interests and skills
Take your favorite things to do into consideration. Do you enjoy sports, social media, or pets? You could volunteer to teach an exercise class, offer your social media skills to a local business, or help play with pets at the local animal shelter. You don't necessarily need any special skills to volunteer, but your talents and interests are still worth considering. If you are great with kids, consider volunteering at a school or daycare center. You should choose volunteer opportunities that suit you, so you can perform your best and help others.
4. Choose your volunteer location
Although there are many volunteer opportunities for college students on campus, you don’t have to dedicate all of your time there. While your community, the surrounding cities, and neighboring states are all options to volunteer, some of the most exciting trips take place around the world. Many colleges or community groups plan trips to other countries to help build schools or assist in cleanup after a natural disaster. Volunteering abroad is a great chance to give your life purpose while seeing the world.
As a high school student, you may have thought volunteering was only good for taking up space in your college applications or impressing the admissions officers at your school. Now that you’re older, you know the time you dedicate to volunteering in college is beneficial to you and all the people you help. It can make you feel fulfilled, develop important leadership skills, and it will look great on your resume. Plus, you get to choose the location and the category of your volunteer work.
Although most college students have a busy schedule, you can still find ways to squeeze in some volunteer hours, such as a service-learning course. Even if you can only give one hour a week, it will be appreciated. It’s never too late to start; go out and find how you can make a positive impact through volunteering today.
🌳Interested in getting more involved with campus activities? Check out How to Get Involved on Campus!
👍Volunteer experience can help your resume stand out. For more resume help, read Major Resume Mistakes you Might be Making Right Now.