Featured Image

Why You Should Volunteer in High School and College

If you've never volunteered before, you may be wondering what all the hype is about. Here are some reasons you should consider donating your time during school.

Anyone who hasn’t served as a volunteer may be tempted to ask, why do it? And that’s a reasonable question. But the fact is, anyone can benefit from volunteering. For students, a major plus is the chance to gain valuable experience in high school or college. Here are some great reasons you should consider donating your time during school.

Related: Why Should I Volunteer in High School?

Connect with your interests

Volunteering is a great way to get an up-close look at career fields you’re interested in. For example, a student who hopes to become a veterinarian might benefit from volunteering at an animal shelter. A prospective teacher could help out at a child care center. A robotics competition might offer a great volunteer opportunity for a prospective engineer.

Sometimes the experience isn’t related to educational or career interests, but it’s worthwhile for other reasons. At Shalom Farms near Richmond, Virginia, volunteers harvest food to feed families in need. Working with a group dubbed Banding Together, volunteers in Mission Valley, California, assist with jam sessions for people with special needs. At Kansas City’s Shoal Creek Living History Museum, volunteers do everything from helping repair log cabins to serving as historical reenactors.

Related: Give Your Nursing Career a Boost by Volunteering

Connect with others

If nothing else, volunteering helps you avoid “it’s all about me” syndrome. When you’re giving your time rather than working for pay, you’re making the choice to donate time and provide help where it’s needed.

That kind of attitude is essential at many charities and other nonprofit organizations, where volunteers make it possible to complete work that might not otherwise be accomplished. And you can contribute in ways that support your personal beliefs, whether that’s protecting the environment, reaching out to the homeless, or supporting a political candidate.

At the same time, your own benefit from volunteering can be substantial. Annie Wendel, Assistant Director of Volunteer Programs & Service Learning at Sacred Heart University, says this is a great way to make contacts.

“You’re probably going to meet other like-minded student volunteers and connect with peers with similar interests,” she says. “It’s also an opportunity to connect with local schools, nonprofit agencies, and organizations.” These can all be important contacts in the future when looking for internships or jobs.

Related: 11 Networking Tips for College Students Looking for Jobs

Résumé builder

For any student, volunteering can really help fill out a résumé. When applying for jobs, college admission, scholarships, graduate fellowships, and other competitive situations, a record of volunteer activity is likely to make a positive impression. In a study conducted by Deloitte, more than 80% of employers surveyed said they were more likely to choose a job candidate with volunteering experience.

Once you become a volunteer, you’ll be joining one of the most popular activities undertaken by people of all ages. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 60 million Americans contribute time as volunteers. Common activities include preparing and serving food, tutoring, helping out with youth sports, performing general labor, and fundraising.

Develop skills

Depending on the type of work involved, you’ll also have the chance to develop important attributes by volunteering. Along with the knowledge gained from a new experience, you can polish what employers call "soft skills." Traits such as communicating with others, cooperating as part of a team, and simply showing up on time not only help you function as a volunteer but prepare you for future job success.

Related: 9 Tips for Developing Soft Skills Before Graduation

All things considered, volunteering offers the chance to participate in a win-win situation. It brings good to the organizations being served and the volunteers who serve them. What can top that?

Your volunteer experience can help you get scholarships too. Find them using our Scholarship Search tool.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

community getting involved giving back student life volunteering volunteers

About Mark Rowh

Mark Rowh is a Virginia-based writer and educator.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Lorena Bacallao

Lorena Bacallao

High School Class of 2022

CollegeXpress was the foundation of my college search process. Because of CollegeXpress, I was able to make a more informed and confident decision as to where it was best to pursue my higher education. I have recommended this website to fellow peers and for first-generation students like me. It’s a website I will continue to promote because of how simple it was to use and how many opportunities were offered to me at my fingertips!

Kelly Nogueiro

Kelly Nogueiro


For me, CollegeXpress has given me a valuable tool to use with my students to explore colleges easily beyond objective data. It helps me find colleges for students that fit their needs and wants that aren’t quite so black and white. It's a wealth of knowledge, and the Type-A side of me loves all the lists and the fact that I know they're coming from folks who know what they're talking about. I share it with colleagues and students alike, and it's always well received.

Asia Stockdale

Asia Stockdale

High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress helped me overcome a huge hurdle. Because of the small town I live in, I felt like I would never achieve more. I felt like I could never go beyond because of costs. I feared I wouldn’t be able to find scholarships. I had no idea of where to start. With CollegeXpress, I easily found scholarships—they came to me. It was a helper, and I was instantly matched with opportunities to go above and beyond educationally.



High School Class of 2021

CollegeXpress showed me that Western New England University was a great match for me both with curriculum and location. CollegeXpress is an excellent resource both future and current college students.

Alexandra Adriano

Alexandra Adriano

$2,000 Community Service Scholarship Winner, 2016

I've used CollegeXpress quite a bit as a senior, particularly for colleges and scholarships, so it's been a very big asset in that respect! I would recommend it to anyone looking to pursue a college education, especially seniors! This scholarship will help me achieve my goals in ways I couldn't have before, and I know that there are opportunities like that for everyone on the website and in the magazines!

College Matches