Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Should I do community service for a scholarship?


“Should I do some community service?” I hear that from time to time. Now that summer is here. Many students have some free time that they could devote to community service. Should they?

Like so many questions related to scholarships in particular and college
in general, the best answer might be “maybe.”  Many scholarships
include community service as one criteria, and for some it’s the main
criteria. So sure, doing some community service will possibly be an
asset for the “average” student.

Still, I would offer the following points for consideration. First, if
you’re thinking of community service solely for the purpose of
scholarship eligibility, you may want to simply find a job, or another
job, and go for the sure cash. Community service is probably a better
bet if you truly want to contribute. Say, for instance, if animals are
your passion, and you want to help out at a local shelter.

Second, you’ll probably want to work for a recognized organization.
Scholarship providers often want documentation of your efforts. Mowing
the lawn for your senior citizen neighbor is a great thing to do, but
will you be able to document your efforts to the satisfaction of
scholarship providers?

Third, you might consider creating a fun volunteering opportunity. Maybe
a local elementary school would like to stage a summer read-a-thon, and
the only thing standing in the way is the lack of people to run it. If
you organize some friends, you could do something really special, and
look great for doing it. (NOTE: Any time you work with children you’ll
want to have others, including some adults, involved.)

Finally, how many hours of community service are enough? To really know
the answer, research some scholarships you might apply for. From my
experience, I’d say that 50-60 hours would be enough for most of the
scholarships I see. That’s a lot of time, but perhaps not so bad if you
spread it out over the whole summer.



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