Reasons to put Volunteering on a College Application Resume

Looking for ways to make sure your college application resume will standout? You are more than just a set of numbers that include your GPA, class rank and standardized test scores. Those factors are extremely important, but who you are as a person matters too. Volunteering experience can help highlight the best of your character and how you can contribute to a campus community. College campuses want students with stellar statistics and character. Including volunteer work on the college application resume can help you convey how you can help a college community thrive.

This post is all about reasons to put volunteering on the college application resume.

1. Volunteering Helps You Think Creatively

college application resume

Oftentimes, volunteer organizations are not operating in the most efficient way. High school students can bring a fresh perspective about how to approach current processes. Brainstorming on how to make something better is a lifelong skill that everyone appreciates. This is so valuable for every organization.

Technology changes so fast these days and high school students often are more up to date on how various technologies can be utilized. Social media is a great example. High school students were early adopters of social media and I guarantee that many students helped volunteer organizations start to use various platforms such as Instagram or Twitter.

Since high school students typically have some of these new technical skills, you have a mindset for looking at thinks through a different lens. This can help you see ways of solving a problem that others cannot even envision.

2. Volunteering Shows You Will Give Back to the Campus

College campuses are full of student organizations. I can remember going on college tours with my daughters and the number of student organizations was always a selling point. Colleges love having an overabundance of organizations that students can join. These groups need students volunteering their time to survive!

By showing that you are willing to donate your time in high school, you will be giving the colleges an indication that you will also give back to their campus community.

3. Volunteering Supplements Extracurricular Activities

In high school, you may only have one or two extracurricular activities. Volunteering is an easy way to add a couple more. Having several activities on a college application shows that you can juggle multiple demands on your time and keep your grades up (hopefully!). If all you have are great grades and only 1 or two activities, colleges may question whether or not you will be able to handle various demands on your time during your four years at their institution.

4. Volunteering Helps Develop Empathy

You may not feel like volunteering, but it truly does make a difference in the world. I believe the more you volunteer, the more you will understand that your time and effort truly helps others in need. That in turn will give you more empathy about what others may be going through.

Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. Volunteering can help develop empathy because it exposes you to different people and situations, allowing you to gain a better understanding of the challenges others may be facing. This in turn can help you become more compassionate and understanding towards others.

5. Volunteering Can Show Depth & Length of Commitment

Ideally, I would suggest start volunteering in middle school or at least 9th grade to find out what inspires you to volunteer. Try volunteering for a variety of organizations, then by the time you get to 10th grade you will have found one or two to focus your time and effort. Below is a chart that might help you identify a passion that will pair with a volunteer organization.

PassionType of OrganizationPotential Activities
animalsanimal shelterwalking dogs, petting cats
food insecurityfood bankdistribute food boxes, organize donated food
literacylibraries, schoolsbook drives for libraries, tutoring elementary school students
elderlysenior living communityplay bingo with residents, decorate for holidays, paint nails, write letters
homelesssoup kitchen, homeless shelterserve food, hold food drive
environmentlocal cityclean up parks, work in a community garden
health carehospitalhelp with clerical needs
militaryveteran or active dutycreate paracord bracelets, knit scarves, write letters

Princeton Review suggests to focus on depth and length of commitment. (INSERT LINK)

6. Volunteering Might Help You Get Invited to Participate in Selective Organizations

Colleges also have a variety of organizations that you must be invited to join. Their invitation might be partially dependent on various factors such as GPA, standardized test scores, and class rank. However, the tipping point might be your extracurricular activities. Colleges organizations want to see that you can be a dedicated member of their group.

My two daughters volunteered a fair amount during high school and I feel certain that their volunteer experience contributed to their being invited to be part of selective campus organizations.

Being a part of these types of organizations can give you an edge when you are applying for internships for the summer, a campus job or even a job after college.

7. BONUS: Volunteering Might Give You a Great Essay Topic

college application resume

This bonus is a reason for putting volunteering in the college application essay. During all four years of high school, I would encourage you to always have in the back of your mind your college essays.

You probably know there is the main essay and then there are often supplemental essays for different colleges. Do a little research early on and figure out what are the typical essays questions over time. My two daughters graduated high school 4 years apart and many of their essay questions were the same. Most of the options were generally broad in nature and they both had the one option that allowed them to write about anything.

Try to view your volunteering experience through the lens of these questions. I bet you can find something that will help you find topics for some of those essays.

This post is all about reasons to put volunteering on a college resume.

A college application resume is a way that high school students can show how they stand out amongst all of the other applicants. Colleges typically see the GPA, standardized test scores and rank through high school transcripts and the information provided in the Common App. The college application resume helps students to really expand on their extracurriculars. Volunteer experience is a great way to help your college application resume catch the eye of admissions counselors.

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