5 Great Reasons to Volunteer this Summer
All high school students need a certain number of volunteer credits to graduate. It can seem stressful to volunteer while also studying for standardized exams, writing college personal statements, and taking advanced placement classes, However; volunteerism is a great way to discover valuable information about college and career. Students can take the opportunity to experiment in a few different areas or put their focus towards one particular field. Because the academic year can be so time-consuming, summer is an excellent opportunity to gain a lot of those volunteer credits and start building the student resume.
1.Making a difference within the community
Students who volunteer over the summer will have a great opportunity to make a difference within their local community. This can lead to a lot of self-satisfaction and a feeling of productivity that can build self-esteem and help set priorities for the future. If a student has a particular talent or if they’re interested in a specific cause, they are encouraged to see if volunteer opportunities exist in the area. Unlike school work, students get to choose which volunteer programs they participate in (READ: 5 Things to Do Before You Leave For College).
2. Networking and letters of reference
Summer volunteerism can also result in some awesome networking opportunities that can help students later on when they want to apply to college or get a part-time job. Students can talk to professionals in the field and in their community as well as potential future classmates. Students who are serious about volunteering will also build a great student resume and have a better chance of getting into the college of their choice. When students start their volunteer commitment, they are encouraged to introduce themselves to each adult member of the team and ask what would be most helpful. This is a great ice-breaker and lets the other volunteers know that the student is serious about pitching in and being a helpful member of the team.
3. Exploring potential career fields
For the most part, high school-aged students don’t know exactly what they would like to do for their career. A great way to explore potential fields in a low-risk environment is to arrange for summer volunteer work. Students can get a taste of what working in that field might be like without committing to an internship or job. This is a great situation for students to either get excited about a possible field or perhaps eliminate certain opportunities that weren’t as interesting as they had originally thought.
4. Practice professionalism
It can be a challenge to adjust from being a full-time high school student to exhibiting the professionalism required to work in an internship at college as well as during the college interview process. Volunteerism is a fabulous way to start practicing professionalism while gaining high school graduation credits. It takes a lot of effort and patience to communicate and interact as a professional, so it’s a great idea to develop some of these skills before getting to college (READ: Getting your community service credits).
5. Get recommendations from teachers
In some cases, classroom teachers will arrange volunteer opportunities and invite students to join who they think will be a good fit for the service project. If this is the case, it’s a great way for students to develop a community service oriented relationship with that teacher and give them something to write about when they’re asked for a recommendation later on. Teachers only provide recommendations to students they know well and who they think will succeed in the college environment so it’s great if students can let them know they’re serious about college and their community.