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Give back to the community this summer as a volunteer


Monday, May 13, 2013

After a year full of the stress and pressure of the college search, filling out countless applications, visiting campuses, writing essays and going to school, taking finals and maybe holding a job you probably want a nice relaxing summer. You need to regroup and breathe a little before the much anticipated freshman year of college begins. While you definitely deserve a rest, you just might find that volunteering to help others makes you feel as good or better than laying by the pool.

Making connections on campus
If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity that you can continue doing throughout college you might want to contact the school you will be attending in the fall. Many universities have strong ties with their local community and with organizations that have chapters nationwide, making it possible for you to find a volunteer position near your home or school. Begin by identifying a situation, problem or topic you are passionate about, whether it be building houses, helping the homeless or protecting the environment. Once you have decided on the type of project you would like to get involved in, contact your college's student activities center or campus ministry. These offices organize and facilitate volunteer or outreach programs for students and they could help point you in the direction of an opportunity in your area.

Making a volunteer connection through your school may also help you make new friends before the academic year begins. Not only will you have the chance to work toward a common goal with other passionate people, you might just make connections that will last well beyond your freshman year.

Countless opportunities
If your prospective college does not have its own volunteer programs, consider getting in touch with organizations like AmeriCorps or the Student Volunteer Foundation.

These groups specialize in connecting young people with a variety of worthwhile causes. From nonprofit organizations and charities to local groups and student associations, there are many ways to get involved and spend the summer months helping others.

Another benefit to doing volunteer work over the summer is that it can be a valuable addition to your résumé. Even if you have held a part-time job, your work experience may be limited. Volunteering allows you to take on positions of responsibility and leadership while often working in challenging situations. In addition to adding some punch to your a résumé, your volunteer experience can be an excellent talking point at an internship or job interview.

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