What is the long-term benefit of volunteering before graduating?
As a growing trend, many high schools require a certain number of community service hours in order to maintain good standing in clubs, honor societies, and organizations. The heart behind this is to get students involved in volunteering and connecting them to something bigger than themselves. Although colleges vary on their volunteer hours requirements for acceptance, there is still tremendous value in volunteering. Here are some reasons why high school students should volunteer before graduating.
It Shows Persistence
Let’s imagine there are two students applying for an elite college. They live in the same community, earn the same GPA, and serve the same amount of volunteer hours. Who is a college admissions officer most likely to consider: the student who volunteered consistently over the years or the one who squeezed in their volunteer service requirements for high school graduation at the last minute?
Most would select the student who showed consistency and longevity behind their community service projects. The other candidate might come across as a procrastinator and someone who just “checked the boxes.” It’s important to paint this picture for students early on in their high school career. Teens who invest consistent volunteer hours in their community show a level of commitment and impact that stands out.
Experience and Exposure
Another benefit of volunteering before graduation is the experience and exposure to different types of organizations, people, and causes. In many cases, volunteering ignites a passion or a potential career path for students before they head off to college. For example, serving at a nursing home or a children’s hospital might solidify a desire to enter the medical field. Volunteering with a local nonprofit might develop into a summer internship and eventually a career right in the community where they live.
Along the way, students are making connections with others, contacts for future employment, as well as making a positive impact on their community. It’s important for schools to have a variety of volunteer opportunities available so that students can have exposure to different causes.
Even if not required for graduation, volunteering provides important character development. By serving others, there is an awareness of real needs and a sense of gratitude that follows. Teens who volunteer consistently develop a sense of empathy and comradery as they work alongside and communicate with other volunteers. A sense of discipline is also formed by showing up on a consistent basis to serve others rather than themselves. Opening their minds to the world around them will serve them well as they enter adulthood and, eventually, the workplace. Not to mention the culture of our schools are impacted for good.
A Fresh Opportunity
As this school year wraps and the next one approaches, educators and parents should consider how to empower students to serve the community. Leaders should also encourage talking to students about the benefits of volunteering throughout their high school career rather than waiting until the last minute. Raising up the next generation is a big job and volunteering is a great way we can make a positive impact on their future.
Want to see how VOMO can help your school easily recruit, manage, and reward volunteers for maximum impact? Schedule a free 15-minute demo to get a tour of the VOMO platform and have your questions answered.