Over the past decade, volunteering and community service have become a key component of the K-12 experience.

Many schools encourage their students to volunteer their time and engage in acts of service. Some schools and districts have even made it a graduation requirement.

Beyond the fact that it may be a requirement for your child, volunteering may also benefit your child when the time comes to apply for college.

Many college essay questions focus on community service or community impact.

For example, one of the University of California insight questions asks “what have you done to make your school or your community a better place?” A student with volunteer experience will be equipped with a response to this question.

Volunteering also gives your child the opportunity to establish a network of connections with individuals, such as program directors, who can write your child letters of recommendation.

Don’t know where to start? Here a few tips to help your child kick-start his or her volunteer service:

  1. Join a Service Club

Service Clubs are organizations focused on community service that provide service opportunities to their members. Clubs like Interact and Key are common on high school campuses and make volunteer opportunities accessible for first-timers.

  1. Look for Local Events

Many local events rely on the hard work of volunteers. What’s great about these opportunities is that they are typically short-term (1-4 days) and they can serve as an introduction to organizations that may need help in the future.

In Los Angeles, for example, the CicLAvia events, which take place several times throughout the year, are always looking for volunteers. Plus, the events take place on weekends and have a minimum age of 14.

  1. Do What You Love

The best volunteer opportunities are those that reflect your interests or career goals.

Do you love movies? Volunteer with a local film festival. Interested in becoming a vet? Find out if your local zoo or animal shelter has a volunteer program. Fascinated with Art or History? Volunteering with a local museum might be perfect for you!

If you have questions about what you and your family need to do to get ready for college, register for my upcoming webinar.

I’ll be going over what you can do to secure up to $62,000 a year in FREE money for college.

Register here: www.collegeprepwebinar.com.

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