Community service is a hot topic for educators and parents of teens. While building TeenLife over the last years, I have gotten more and more questions from our members about the best ways to engage teens in volunteerism. I’ve also noticed that out of all of the topics we address on our site (summer programs, gap year experiences, secondary schools, etc…) community service is the one people get most excited about. This trend is not simply due to the fact that so many benefits are associated with volunteerism or that many high schools require students to fulfill service hours in order to graduate. There is a lot of discussion around community service because of the role it can play in college admissions.
This week, I want to share a new study by DoSomething.org that presents some valuable insights into how the right volunteer experience can give an application that extra special standout glow. I’ve given you some of the highlights below, but I recommend that you read the whole study. If you know teens who are gearing up to apply to college next year or finishing up their college applications, this is a must read!
Here is just some of what admissions officials from 32 of America’s top 50 colleges had to say:
- 92% would rather see a student with a four year commitment to a local organization than a one month stint of service abroad.
- 72% would rather see a student dedicated to one cause than multiple causes.
- Admissions officers are divided (52%/48%) when asked whether they would rather see a student volunteer at a homeless shelter or raise $100,000 for a cause.
- 60% would rather see a student volunteer on a political campaign than at an animal welfare organization.
- 88% of admissions officers said students should list community service experience starting in high school.
Looking for the best volunteer opportunities for your teens? Take a look at TeenLife’s Volunteer pages. If you are in New York or Boston, you can also attend one of our TeenLife LIVE! Community Service Fairs & Expos in February. Meeting face-to-face with non-profits is powerful way for students to find the right connection – and these connections have literally changed some students’ lives!
Have any other tips for finding great service opportunities for teens? Let me know!