It’s no secret that helping others and contributing to one’s community through positive, impactful action makes people feel good. For high school students, spending some time volunteering can be especially beneficial in a variety of ways.
Read on as we explore some of the innumerable advantages and benefits of volunteering for college apps and your community!
1. Improve Mental Health & Well-Being
The life of most high school students can be super busy, if not downright chaotic. Assignments, exams, late night study sessions, social and work expectations can sometimes become overwhelming and even stressful. As students learn to manage their schedule and become more independent, outside of the classroom experiences like volunteering can help improve time management skills and emotional well-being.
Volunteering in particular has been shown to help reduce and counteract the negative effects of stress, anger and anxiety which can lead to depression or substance abuse troubles. Some key mood-boosting opportunities inherent to community service include engaging in social interactions, helping and uplifting others, making a positive impact, and becoming a part of something bigger than yourself.
2. Practice Social Good
One of the greatest benefits of community service is simply the rewarding and personally enriching act of helping others. Consequently, one of the main reasons high school students may be drawn to social work is to help people and communities in need through worthwhile causes. Volunteering gives students the opportunity to give their time and talents to support a cause that’s important to them.
Giving back also helps students to pause and reflect on their own impact. In a climate often encouraging a constant flow of material, media and tech consumption, the contributions they make through volunteer work positively reinforce an important key to success: even the smallest tasks make a big difference to the lives of people and organizations in need. They are not just living in it; they are making the world a better place!
Making new connections in a service-oriented role helps expose high school students to new perspectives, new ideas and new friends
3. Build Community & Expand Network
Networking is an important part of building students’ careers. By volunteering in a group, students are able to meet and work with people who share common interests, expanding their overall network of diverse mentors and peers.
Their new connections — other change-makers, volunteers, employees, board members — can motivate and inspire them and even open up some professional doors for them in the future! During high school, in college, and well into one’s career, they will be able to call on their professional network for career advice and key introductions in their field.
They’re not only doing good for the community but also for their future career prospects!
4. Gain Real-World Career Prep & Experience
Even when high school students have top grades and test scores, colleges will then look for service, awards, and leadership experiences on a resume. Service learning offers skills-building opportunities while improving the lives of others. The hands-on learning inherent to volunteer work gives students the competitive edge needed as they enter the job market.
5. Determine Career Goals
Volunteering is a fantastic and efficient way to explore diverse career paths and opportunities! When it comes to choosing a field, volunteer work can help students discover first-hand if a career choice is a good fit. Despite what you think you know or want, until you actually dip your toes in, it’s hard to be sure a particular career is something you will enjoy.
6. Bolster Your Resume & Improve Job Prospects
Make your resume stand out among other college applicants!
Students who are doing volunteer work set themselves apart in a stack of applicants. They should be encouraged to communicate strategically about the skills they have developed during their service work. You will also gain administrative and collaborative experience while working on volunteering projects. This can earn you scholarships! high school
7. Refine Valuable Soft Skills
Volunteering during high school gives students the opportunity to practice and develop an array of social, relationship and other soft skills beneficial to college & career ambitions.
Some examples include:
Resourcefulness: Volunteering offers students an opportunity to learn more about solving real-world problems creatively, while managing time and scarce resources effectively.
Collaboration: When a student has volunteer experience on their resume, this demonstrates commitment, empathy and a deeper understanding of interpersonal interactions and teamwork, as well as highly sought after skills in communication, leadership and customer service.
Initiative: Volunteering by its nature is voluntary, which means admission officers can easily see that a student is motivated and takes initiative, even without the compensation of wages or personal gain. This reflects extremely well for scholarships as well.
8. Expand Your Perspective
When a student volunteers in a service-based organization, whether abroad or locally, they will get to work with many different people, groups, ethnicities, ages and socio-economic backgrounds, all of whom are invested in the same goal or cause that ties them together. Learning to work with and tailor communication with different types of people and populations has an extremely positive impact on student’s future professional life as they become more empathetic and mindful of perspectives that differ from their own foundation.
College is all about cultural awakening and broad sharing of big ideas; working in a volunteering role now will prepare you to practice open-mindedness at college.
Getting involved with community service helps inspire and empower students to make an impact in their world and springboard their careers. Their new skills, enthusiasm and flexible schedules make them ideal volunteers!
As you can see, there are a multitude of reasons for students to sign up for a cause, campaign or volunteer organization that is important to them. Even with a packed schedule, volunteering just a few hours a week on weekends or summer break will enrich their high school experience in a big way.