By: Angel Liang — Correspondent
Volunteering is important for college applications, but it also teaches students about community values and skills they may use in the work field. The benefits of community service outside of college include: making new friends and contacts, increasing social and relationship skills, increasing self-confidence, staying physically active, and having fun!
Volunteering also allows for less experienced people to “try out” certain skills in the real world. For high school students, that can mean gaining a real-life simulation of work fields. You can volunteer at shelters, food pantries, local libraries, museums, retirement homes, the Red Cross, and more!
In terms of college, being involved within your community is highly valued in the admissions office. Community service, along with clubs and sports, is a way for officers to judge your character. It also shows colleges that you are passionate about causes outside of school and that you have good time management skills.
Volunteering shows leadership, a quality that colleges look for in students. The more time you take to research a cause that’s close to you, the more you will likely contribute in college, showing admissions officers that you can be a meaningful addition to their student body.
Senior Julia Lin shares her experience volunteering at HandReach, an organization that supports the recovery of pediatric patients from traumatic injuries. Lin was an English tutor, as well as a companion. “During my time as a volunteer, I worked closely and bonded with the children,” she said. “I was also heavily exposed to healthcare settings, which confirmed my interests in medicine. I picked HandReach for volunteering because I like to work with children.”
Lin says that she believes that her experience helped her pick her major, but didn’t have a significant impact when applying.
Sophomore Grace Hu shares her experience volunteering locally. “I volunteered at my Chinese school as a teacher’s assistant for the Pre-K students,” she said. “I learned a lot about being engaging and communicating, especially when working with kids. I had to adapt to the environment and figure out what they were interested in/how they learned best.”
Not only has Hu volunteered at a Chinese school, but she’s also volunteered at a food pantry in Boston, the Sharon Public Library, and edits a newspaper called “The Breath.” Like Lin, Hu has found that her firsthand experience “has opened lots of possibilities.” She says that she’s now looking into studying the field of pediatrics.
Sophomore Olivia Sheng says she co founded a nonprofit called “Tech for Good Inc”. In doing so, she learned about how to negotiate partnerships, handle operations for a small corporation, organize meetings, (and) train interns.
Sheng says that the nonprofit’s goal was to create innovative products or services at a low cost to solve problems globally. Although she says that she hadn’t had any previous experience with technology, she was still able to learn skills such as gathering “the necessary information and experience for organizing large events,” “discussing partnerships and potential projects and events with other organizations,” and how to “manage larger teams and properly delegate tasks.”
Sheng says that she thinks the most crucial skill she learned was “how to communicate properly with other professionals in the field.”
image from portcitydaily.com