7 Reasons You Should Volunteer As A College Student

photo-1418833893919-fa9c83e8d69eChances are your schedule is already pretty tight as a college student, but taking a few hours out of your week to volunteer can not only allow you the chance to do good, it can change your life and help your future career. Here are our top seven reasons for volunteering while you’re in college.

Learn To Work As  Part of a Team

While you might have had a high school job or worked on group projects, there’s still much to learn about being a team player—and it’s an important life skill. Because volunteering is such an active way to get involved, you’ll learn a great deal about how to get along with disparate personalities. Volunteering will give not only make you feel good about doing good, but help you become a better employee in the future.

Learn How To Be A Leader

It can take a while to rise through the ranks of a company to leadership level. Volunteering is a place where you can have a larger voice than a traditional employee, so you can take the lead on projects and brush up your leadership skills.  You’ll get to work with others to get creative with solutions and ideas and then figure out how make those ideas happen. More critical skills you’ll need in the job market.

Build Your Resume While You Explore Careers

Every non-profit organization needs volunteers in every corner of the business from marketing to social media to sales and grunt work. You can try your skills in several areas to help you fine tune your post-college goals. You can also learn a tremendous amount about how non-profits run on limited budgets, a skill that will make you valuable to every potential employer.

Networking

When you become a valuable volunteer to an organization, you’ll not only get the opportunity to network with the staff of the organization but often also the board (particularly if you volunteer during fundraising events), many of whom are business leaders outside of the non-profit space. You can make connections to powerful movers and shakers in the industry you plan to enter post college.

References

Having great references can be the key to success in landing that first job after college. If you become a valued volunteer for an organization, you will likely receive many glowing references that the non-profit team members will be happy to share with your prospective employers. Times are tough in the job market, and this could give you the edge you need to get your resume to the top of the pile.

Scholarships and Getting Into Graduate School

If you’re planning to get a degree beyond undergrad, you will get a huge boost to your school applications if you have a track record of being a volunteer (along with those references). You even apply for volunteering awards that come with scholarship cash as early as your junior year. Look beyond the traditional scholarships, too  — many companies offer scholarships only to those that volunteer.

Perspective

College is stressful, there’s no doubt about it. But chances are, if you volunteer for an organization that is helping the less fortunate, you’ll get a chance to see how great your stressful college life really is — and nothing relieves stress better than gaining some perspective on how the world really is. Gratitude is an excellent study tool.

As you can see, being a volunteer really is worth it during your college years. Make the time to make a difference in the community near your school and you’ll reap amazing rewards. For help in finding a place to volunteer, reach out to your college’s community center or career center.