Volunteering While Away at School - Sarah Laud

College provides many opportunities for new experiences and to cultivate new skills. While some of this learning occurs in the classroom, students develop outside of the classroom as well. Students can reap the rewards of impacting their communities and themselves by taking advantage of volunteer opportunities while attending school.


Volunteering for an organization first and foremost provides an essential good for the community. While doing good is a great reason to volunteer alone, students who volunteer personally gain. Volunteering in roles similar to prospective job fields is a low-risk way of trying on a career to see if it could be enjoyable. Long-term volunteering in a relevant field can mean introductions to prospective employers, resume building, and future references for jobs. All students can cultivate transferable skills, such as communication and organization skills, build confidence, and demonstrate a strong work ethic.


Universities typically have centers dedicated to helping students volunteer while at school. The staff at these centers keep close contact with volunteer coordinators at organizations around the area. They know which positions can match with the individual skills that a student has or wants to cultivate. Many colleges also organize spring break programs for students volunteers. Students still get to take a trip and socialize with their peers, but they do so with a focus on a volunteer project. Colleges also keep alumni lists available to students who want to arrange their opportunities using university contacts.


For college student volunteers who want to volunteer in a position far away, remote volunteerism provides a comparable experience to in-person volunteering. Students volunteering remotely can do so anywhere in the world. Some of the top organizations, such as the United Nations and World Bank, offer remote volunteer and internship positions. Students focusing on international relations, economics, human rights, and foreign languages demand global organizations. International experience can also help students build a strong resume.

Volunteering can be strenuous and time-consuming, but the rewards of volunteering while at school are worth it. There are many ways to find and get involved with volunteer projects that students find interesting. Once students know how important it is to volunteer, these tips can help students find their volunteer positions.