Many of us beef up our resumes with a myriad of volunteering experiences in high school with the hopes to land a spot at our first choice college or university. And it works. All those breast cancer brunches, soup kitchen hours, and railroad cleanups make any incoming freshman’s resume stand out with well-rounded activity and selflessness.

But what about after we get accepted? The benefits of volunteering throughout your college years offers more than you might imagine, and organizations such as fraternities and sororities often require their members to meet a certain number of service hours each month, so getting involved isn’t all that hard.

College Volunteers

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So, getting back to these benefits. First things first–and this is important–you should be volunteering because you want to, because you care, because you value a generous spirit. That makes all the difference. You shouldn’t do it simply because it’s required or because you know it’ll look good on a resume. Because those who actually find joy in helping others will be reaping the most benefits, and I’m not just talking about building good character…

The Payoff Could Be Greater Than You’d Imagine
For college students, specifically, the anxiety surrounding loans and paying back student debt looms like a dark shadow throughout your time in academia. But, there are volunteering opportunities that offer a beacon of hope for those struggling to manage their debt! We all know that getting paid and volunteering are not synonymous, however there are organizations such as the Peace Corps, AmeriCorps, and Teach for America offer loan forgiveness programs if you meet certain qualifications and a number of contract hours.

You’ll Be A More Well-Rounded Applicant
A resume ripe with volunteering experience is going to stand out from others, without a doubt. Even better if you’ve been able to transition into a leadership role within a volunteering organization, or, even better, creating your own organization, like this teenager who created Shred Kids Cancer when he was only 8 years old. Your volunteering experience can be just as telling as your professional experience in terms of assessing skills and qualifications.

Pro tip for freshly-graduated students struggling to land a job: VOLUNTEER! Interviews often come with the dreaded question about how you spent your time between graduating and landing a job, they call it “lost time.” Potential employers, as well as graduate school admission officers, want to see that you’ve stayed active, and by spending that time volunteering, you’re increasing your chances of being hired or accepted significantly.

Network! Network! Network!
Chances are, you’re hearing that word all the time. In classrooms, at sorority meetings, on the field, even at parties. Networking is everything, so why not open up your pool of possible connections by volunteering! Volunteering organizations are ripe with various professionals, and who knows, you just might meet that key connection to land you your dream job!