The Importance of Community Service…

Community service can easily be defined as voluntary work that aims to help a particular group of people or a service area.

Nowadays, colleges and universities require community service to be a part of applications as a way to determine the character of an applicant. Don’t worry, community service comes in various forms and can be one the most rewarding experiences one can have.  The easiest way to find a community service project or activity that will bring you fulfillment would be to make a list of all of your interests. You will find that you can do community service that relates to anything from dancing to architecture.

Once you have compiled a list of your interests, Google projects in your area or summer opportunities that fall in line with what you are willing to devote your time to. You never want to take on a community service project just to add to your resume. The more you are interested in a project, the more you will put into it and the end result will be amazing for both you and the individual or area you are servicing.

I will use myself as an example. Throughout high school, I developed a passion for being a role model for elementary school children in urban areas. As a way to devote my time to this age group, I reached to local elementary schools to see if they needed tutors or counselors for their afterschool program. Luckily, one of the neighborhood schools sent a memo to my high school looking for tutors for children in grades 3-5. This was the perfect opportunity for me to share my knowledge and guidance with the age group I was so interested in helping. You will find that your guidance counselors have various community service opportunities that will fall right in line with your passion.

The other great thing about community service is that you can always start a project if you fill a need is not being met. If you have a specific interest and can’t find an ongoing project that relates, I encourage you to round up a group of friends with similar interests and create your own. This will not only showcase your service attributes but it will highlight your leadership capabilities as well. Taking initiative will show what you are passionate about and the lengths that you will go to live your passion. That is what college and universities want! Well-rounded and passionate individuals!

Needless to say, the more activities that you become involved with, the more experience you will have to develop an amazing personal statement. You will be able to show an admissions committee all of the wonderful things that you stand for. Always be sure to develop and maintain great relationships with the organizations that you volunteer for as they can write stellar recommendation letters on your behalf. Recommendation letters and your personal statement are just as important as your GPA and SAT score. The scores provide your scholastic aptitude and your recommendation letters and personal statements showcase your positive attitude. Every institution of higher learning wants to be assured that they are admitting the most positive and academically focused students.

Some great websites to use when looking for community service opportunities are:

Or check out opportunities at your school and the local newspapers!
Serve and Achieve!!

Contributed by Lauren R. Jackson, MPA
Founder/Executive Director of IMANEE

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