First, the WHY?
It pays to do the right thing! Besides the chance to do something nice for others, volunteering has many benefits for college students. So before you think your semester is too busy with school and work, consider these reasons to get out and serve…
According to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteering is associated with a 27% higher rate of employment because an employer is more likely to choose a candidate with volunteering experience.
Volunteering helps students learn new skills with hands-on experience. Fill that resume with examples of problem-solving, and leadership. Plus it shows that you know how to manage your time balancing school and extracurricular activities.
You can meet new people! Make friends outside the classroom and expand your connections on campus. Volunteering also lets students network with businesses and community leaders. And, you never know when a new connection will translate to an opportunity for you after school.
Helping others through volunteering has several health benefits including decreasing stress, lowering depression, and lengthening your life according to a study by the Mayo Clinic, “The 6 Health Benefits of Volunteering”. Everyone can benefit from tasks that keep you physically and mentally active.
Volunteering can give you a chance to break out of your comfort zone. If you are typically shy, try to volunteer for a setting that will have you speaking or presenting to gain confidence. Or you could use this as an opportunity to listen and learn from others whose life experiences are far different from your own.
And finally, it doesn’t have to be completely altruistic. There are sometimes scholarships or paid opportunities that can result from volunteering. See what options are available in your school or community. Here is a list of “13 Community Service Scholarships”.
Then the HOW?
Now that we’ve shown you some of the benefits of volunteering we’ve compiled a list of places to find volunteer opportunities:
- Campus Life or Student Activities Associations are a great place to start looking for opportunities in and around your school.
- National sites like Volunteer Match, Idealist, and All for Good can help you find options in your school or at home if you want to volunteer during breaks. Try “Volunteer Opportunities: 10 Places to Find Them”.
- Search for causes you care about such as animals, the environment, the arts, mentoring teens, or support something that has affected you or a family member like cancer.
- Seek for remote opportunities if you live in a smaller or more remote community with these “9 Places to Volunteer Online and Make a Real Impact”.
Volunteers are needed now more than ever to help strengthen and support your community. Take action now!