10 Reasons Community Service Should Be Required in College

Volunteering is often considered something that’s nice to do, but not absolutely necessary. As a result, the number of students who volunteer is dropping at a rapid rate.

In fact, college student volunteerism peaked in 2004 at 31.2% and by 2010 had dropped down to 26.1%. Which means 3 out of 4 students are missing out on an enriching experience that benefits personally and professionally.

Why is this such a big deal? Here’s 12 reasons why community service is so vital to student success, and why volunteering should be required during college…

1. Service Learning is Associated with Academic Gain

Students who participate in community service learning tend to do better in school. It’s believed that community service is somewhat of a missing link for students, giving them the chance to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom to real human needs. Volunteering is a great way to follow up on and supplement subjects that have been covered in the classroom.

2. Students Often Experience Increased Sense of Self-efficacy

Students who do community service work learn that they can actually make a difference with what they do. This helps students better understand their own competence, leading to more self-confidence and a can-do attitude that can spread to their work and academic pursuits.

3. Students More Likely to Grow Up to Become Voters

Youths who take part in volunteering activities become more involved in their communities, and as a result, tend to care more about what happens in those communities. Often, students who have participated in community service will grow up to become young voters and remain involved in their communities throughout their lives.

4. Service a Great Problem-solving Skill Builder

Students participating in community service are often faced with challenges and tough problems to tackle. By working through them as a volunteer, they learn how to better solve problems, and enjoy the satisfaction of overcoming a hurdle.

5. Excellent Networking Opportunities

Community service opens students up to a wealth of networking opportunities, allowing them to build new relationships within their community as they contribute. Students can meet new people, work with new organizations, and strengthen their ties to the community.

6. Sense of Responsibility and Pride

As students work within their community, they learn that they can be responsible for making great things happen. This helps to build a sense of responsibility in students, and a sense of pride when they see what they’ve done is actually helping others.

7. Learning Beyond the Classroom

Volunteering allows students to take what they’ve learned and apply it beyond the classroom. This offers the opportunity for enrichment and a great way for them to see how concepts they’ve learned work in the real world.

8. Opportunity for Soft Skill Building

Participating in community service allows students to build upon their existing skill sets. As students work in a real-life setting, they can use volunteering projects to explore and improve upon existing skills. Students can explore potential careers and find out what they need to develop in order to work in the field.

9. Scholarships!

Students who participate in volunteering opportunities may be able to find more scholarships than they would without such experience. As community service offers students a way to build their network, they’ll be creating connections with more people who can write letters of recommendation, and often, certain community service organizations offer their own scholarship opportunities.

10. Team Building

As students work in community service programs, they’ll learn how to better work in teams. Often, students will also learn to develop leadership skills as well. This is valuable not just for schoolwork, but for higher education, careers, and further community involvement.

With these 10 benefits in mind, maybe it’s time to think about volunteering during this school year… required, or not?

 

For this post, YouTern thanks our friends at OnlineCollege.org!

 

 

 

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  • My professor in 2nd year had community service as part of the syllabus. To be honest, everyone complained about it…until we actually did it. The details are a bit long for this comment but essentially, the community service was focused around a particular part of the course. It added a practical element to the course while helping people and actually turned out to be quite enjoyable by most of the class. And this wasn’t a civics class or anything like that, it was a business ethics course.

    Now I understand that doing community service as a part of a course isn’t exactly volunteering but the end goal is reached in either case. It’s my opinion that community service and professors should be more aligned to show students the benefits outlined in this article.