You may know that volunteering is an important added value on your child’s college application. Common App has an “Activities” section for students to fill in with their community service and volunteer hours, so it is something colleges expect to see. It is a win-win situation, as volunteer work is incredibly important both for the community it serves, and for the volunteers themselves. The ability to selflessly donate one’s time to the greater good is something that colleges look for in their applicants. Volunteer work could be what separates your child from the rest when being considered for college admission.
There are many ways to get involved. Your child could try volunteering through an animal shelter by walking dogs and feeding cats a few times a week. They could also look into helping your local soup kitchen or transitional living center. If you are having trouble thinking of possible places your child can volunteer, volunteer match offers a search platform much like indeed.com.
Something to keep in mind is that it is not just the amount of hours that matters when applying to schools. So many students volunteer now, that colleges are looking at the quality of the volunteer work students have done rather than just how much. For example, a long-term commitment to your local church that shows your child has built relationships and experience is far more appealing that a short-term mission trip that they complete the summer before senior year when they start applying to schools! It is preferred that students get involved and start volunteering early in high school.
If your child is going into their senior year and has not done any volunteer work yet, it is not too late! Any volunteer work is good, and the experiences and friends they will make along the way are irreplaceable. Have your child volunteer to find the joy in giving back and helping, not just so they can build up their portfolio for school. Volunteer allows your child to gain a serious new appreciation for non-profit organizations and giving back to their community, which may spark interest in working for or creating their own non-profit in the future.
If you are looking for more suggestions about what colleges are looking for in their applicants or how to maximize your child’s resume for college admission, Boston Tutoring Services has college admission services that can help. Our admissions coaches are there to aid your student through each process, including essay coaching, interview coaching, and admission consulting. You can find more information on our admission services here.
-Annika Ketchum, Boston Tutoring Services