If you’re wondering what community service projects look best for your college applications, try one of these ideas!
Community service is key to a well-rounded college application, and the type of community service can say a lot to school admissions offices. Not only does community service show you care about helping others, it also builds skills, shows your passion, and can even provide networking opportunities. The key to choosing a community service project is always to consider those which relate to an interest of yours – for example, future doctors will want to choose one connected to hospitals and health. Pick a cause you support and find an organization that works to promote that cause.
1. Volunteer Teen Crisis Counselor
Teens currently have more stress than other generations in the past, as academic standards have risen. In addition, difficulty fitting in socially, trouble with family, and other issues can all do damage to mental health. By volunteering as a crisis counselor, you can provide a sounding board for troubled teens to express their concerns and stress, often providing relief for them to reapproach their situations with a clearer, calmer mind.
2. Volunteer With An Animal Rescue
If you’re an animal lover, volunteer with your local rescue. Animal shelters are always looking for people to walk dogs, clean cages, and volunteer at adoption events, and generally the volunteer work is flexible with your schedule, so you can contribute more hours during summer break, and less during finals week!
3. Host A Charity Event
Organizing and hosting a charity event is a great way to demonstrate your leaderships. Choose a charity organization you’re interested in, like cancer research or conservation, then build piece by piece an event to raise money that will be donated. Whether you opt for a bake sale, a charity run, or a non-profit gala, you’ll need to work with local businesses, news sources, and more to get the word out, find sponsors, and ensure success. It’s a great way to show colleges that you possess both initiative and follow-through.
4. Adopt A Grandparent
It’s not always easy for families to spend time with their elderly relatives, but by “adopting” a grandparent in your local retirement home, you can help ensure that the oldest demographic isn’t forgotten. Bring them special treats, spend time playing games, and you’ll be rewarded with a new friendship – and likely stories of times that you never had a chance to experience.
5. Help Research Environmental And Biological Data
If you’re interested in conservation, there are a number of organizations that rely on people contributing data from their own backyards. You can become a storm spotter, or count the wildlife in your backyard. There’s numerous organizations that seek information so that they can better focus their environmental efforts, and for busy students, it’s an excellent way to still contribute.
6. Build With Habitat For Humanity
Building houses allows you to create something tangible that will go on to help a family as they get back on their feet economically. Projects happen all over the country, so whenever you have a day or two, you can join and hammer nails, cut wood, and learn handiness skills.
7. Support The Troops
Our soldiers overseas undergo plenty of hardships, but packages from home can do a world of good towards raising their morale. You can purchase and mail a care package on your own, but for better impact and to develop your leadership skills, create a supply drive, asking other people and even businesses to donate items, then divide them and send numerous packages to show support for many soldiers. Some items to ask for include DVDs, hard candies, and handwritten letters of support.
8. Organize A Blood Drive
Hospitals are constantly in need of blood, so work with the Red Cross to organize a blood drive at your school. They will provide the phlobotomist, but you’ll need to work with school administration for a location, and you’ll also need to get the word out to achieve a high turnout. It can take some organization, but it’s well worth it when you consider how many lives you’ve saved.
9. Clean Up Your Town
Pollution contributes greatly to a number of environmental issues, but you can help by cleaning up. Volunteer to pick up trash on the side of the road, clean up and preserve a park, or cover grafitti on buildings. Every little bit can make a huge difference, and there’s always more to be done so you’ll have a regular flow of volunteer work to do.
10. Share Skills In An After-School Program
If you’re talented at art, volunteer to run an after-school art class at the elementary school, or athletes can show kids how to play football. After-school programs are notoriously understaffed, and crucial to kids, particularly those with working parents who need supervision and healthy outlets after a day of sitting in class.
11. Start An Initiative At Your School
If you know there’s an issue with bullying at your school, start an anti-bullying initiative that focuses on providing support for victims, pushing administration for a no-tolerance policy, and educating peers on signs of bullying so that they can provide support. Bullying isn’t the only initiative you can start, either – start a group focused on promoting cultural sharing.
12. Hold A Supply Drive
Ask fellow students, parents, and others in your community to donate goods instead of money. Domestic shelters, soup kitchens, and animal shelters are always looking for supplies, so organize a drive to obtain the non-monetary things they need. Check with your chosen recipient before you begin so that you know some of the lesser-known items on their wishlist – animal shelters need pet food and toys, but they also need towels, garbage bags, mops, syringes, and baby food!
13. Promote A Cause In Your Community
For the politically inclined, support a local initiative by organizing protests, starting a letter-writing campaign, and handing out information about the topic. Doing so can make a huge difference for the cause – just make sure it’s one you care about, or you won’t be convincing.
14. Mentor Those Less-Fortunate
Peer-to-peer mentoring can make a huge difference in someone’s life. Help peers with schoolwork, engage in fun activities, and assist them with skill development, based on your own talents. Not every teenager has the same opportunities, but you can help level the playing field for one person.
15. Raise Money By Running
Various organizations host marathons or walk-a-thons to raise money for their cause, and you can sign up for these. Ask friends and family to sponsor you at a set amount per distance you achieve, and let them know every penny helps. Not only will participating improve your own health, the money you raise can help save lifes.
16. Sponsor An Animal
Zoos and wildlife rescues often have a program where you can donate a set amount of money per month that goes towards the support of an animal in their care. Doing so can sometimes even earn you the chance to meet the animal and learn more about the species in general, such as at the Duke Lemur Center in North Carolina.
17. Organize A Reading Hour
Work with your local library to organize a free reading hour with the goal of helping children develop an interest in reading and improve their own literacy. Whether you opt to read to them or organize a group of people for the kids themselves to read to, it’s an important cause that can have long-lasting effects on a child’s education.
18. Rock The Vote
Voting is one of the most important things people can do to contribute to society, and it’s also a right people often opt out of. Work on voter registration drives to spread word about the importance of voting and ensure people are signed up and have the information of where and when they are eligible to vote.
19. Spend Time At The Hospital
There are a number of people, children and adults alike, who spend large amounts of time in the hospital due to chronic and intimidating health conditions. Volunteer to entertain kids in the children’s ward or keep dialysis patients company during treatment, brightening their days and showing support for them as they navigate a difficult life.
20. Hold A Knitting Bee
Gather a group of people to knit (or crochet or sew) blankets, scarves, hats – anything, really – then donate the goods to hospitals, homeless shelters, domestic violence shelters, and animal rescues. Each place is constantly in need of goods for their guests, and a handmade item can do a world of good for someone’s emotional wellbeing.