Spike Series – Volunteering and Nonprofits
CollegeAdvisor.com (formerly Bullseye Admissions) presents its spike series webinar on Volunteering and Nonprofits in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with a Bullseye advisor. Our presenters will share their insider perspectives on how to develop an application spike in this area and how they applied successfully to colleges with this spike. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2020-10-13 Volunteering and Nonprofits
Hello, everyone. Welcome to our spike series. So we will give you a quick overview of what we’re going to be doing today. Welcome to our bulls-eye admission spikes series webinar on volunteering and non-profit. Just to orient everyone with the webinar timing and all of the different chat tabs, we’ll start off with a presentation and then we’ll answer all of your questions in a live Q and a, on the sidebar in that public chat, you can actually download our slides in the handouts tab, and you can start submitting your questions in the Q and a tab throughout the entire presentation.
We’ll save them towards the end and that live Q and a, but feel free to add in any questions whenever you have them. So that being said I will start off by introducing myself. My name is Caitlin Liston. I graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 with an economics degree and an English minor. And the high school I had a ton of volunteer experience.
Some of which I did continue in college, even taking a semester off to actually work for a nonprofit before going to school, it’s something I’m very passionate about something neat he’s passionate about as well. And so this is just a brief overview. We’ll be touching on different types of community service, different types of volunteer work and how you should talk about them.
So I participated in everything from actual positions and being on leadership slash community service councils to traveling abroad and just doing, one-off volunteer work such as volunteering with the boys and girls club or coaching and Aiso soccer team which was very fun. Now I will hand it off to my co presenter so she can introduce herself.
Sure. Hi everyone. I’m so glad to have you here. My name is Niti and I’m a senior at brown. I studied public policy as part of my undergrad, and I’m also part of grounds eight year some D program. The PLME volunteering was a really big part of my high school experience. I’ve had quite the diverse set of just things that I’ve done, which relate to volunteering and search for this.
I’ve listed some of them here. I. Worked at a soup kitchen. I founded a nonprofit organization with the help of some mentors and friends from wash U St. Louis. I volunteered in a medical aspect within a pediatric emergency room, and I’ve also used some of my own skills particularly with regard to music, to volunteer with a local church choir.
And before we get started we have about I think 40 minutes of programming for you and we’ll take any questions. And if you have any technical issues, tests is here for tech support. So please feel free to private message her. If you have any tech issues.
Awesome. So I am going to dive right into what is volunteer work. This is something that nitty and I felt was very important to clarify not just on this webinar, but in general, when it comes to your applications, your resumes if you’re bringing up any type of community service or volunteer work in your interviews as well.
So this is coming straight from Webster’s dictionary. Volunteering is a voluntary act again, emphasis on voluntary and that you’re contributing freely your time or your labor for community service. So just some keynotes here, the emphasis really is on making your community a better place and free labor.
So there’s always a little bit of confusion around this. If you’re getting paid for something, does that count. It does not has to be free. Labor has to be free time that you’re giving. If you’re taking care of, family or friends that doesn’t usually fall into this category as well.
That’s another question we get a lot is, if I’m staying home with my siblings every afternoon to help out my mom or my dad or my grandma, does that count as volunteer work? That’s, there’s a different place in your application that you can talk about that it could be leadership experience, or it can just be a way that you’re contributing to your community, but it does not fall under volunteer work.
And then another question we get a lot is, figuring out whether. The school sanctioned community service, like mandatory community service. If you’re at a school that has mandatory CS hours, if that counts as volunteer work, when you’re asked on an application or in supplemental essays and that does that counts.
And so if that’s something you’re worried about, you can definitely write about that and then volunteer work that you’re doing on your own, either in your own capacity or through an organization counts as well. So that being said I would love to start things off with a poll for everyone just to gauge how familiar you are with volunteering.
Give me one second. We’re going to start the poll. It usually takes a few seconds should pop up on your screen. But what volunteer experience have you had up until this point? Okay. Looks like we mainly have one to two years. Which is great. Give everyone a few more seconds. Seems like we have a few more people coming in.
Also have a few, I just started volunteering or I want to start volunteering. You are in the right place. We have a lot of content for those of you who also haven’t started yet. Needy is going to go over an amazing slide and some information about how to use your passions to figure out what type of volunteer work you’d like to do.
It looks like a few more coming in. So I’m going to close this poll really quickly. It seems like most of you are doing one to two years. But we’re happy to have everyone else here. Yeah it’s been really interesting seeing. How much volunteering experience everyone has, but for everyone, who’s just starting one of the primary things to think about when you’re trying to find opportunities to volunteer are finding something that’s sustainable for you, or that you can be passionate about and something that you can carve into a niche for yourself that is applying your own skills, applying your own passions to a certain activities.
You, this, we would recommend that really think about things that you’ve enjoyed doing and pencil. Your existing skills, your existing passions and research ways that you can really use them to make a difference in your community. If volunteer experiences are a great way to showcase the next level of your interests or hobbies, and you can really reach out to friends, mentors, tutors, or existing organizations.
I know that now because of the pandemic, so many things have gone virtual, but still there may be a lot of opportunities in your own community or that you can bring to your community through skills that you already have. One example that I love using is that if you play an instrument you can always look for opportunities relating to playing or teaching music.
But this can be teaching kids. A low-income school district or playing virtually for elderly people during those pandemic, or once things start opening up again start volunteering with this in person. But of course it’s not limited to music and it really any skills that you can find an opportunity to share with other people would be a great way to start thinking of ways that you can approach volunteering.
Tier work is also a really great way to both get leadership experience and a great way on your resumes, on your applications, in those supplemental essays, to explain how you’ve been a leader and then showcase what is really important to you, how you’ve contributed to making the world a better place. One of the things that I think is really important to note, and as someone who graduated from Cal, I’m very thankful that the UC application does specifically state this, but leadership experience does not have to be a specific position or a specific title that you held.
It’s really anytime that you embodied those characteristics of a leader, anytime you showed up and you mentored someone or you contributed to making your community or your school a better place. That counts as leadership experience. So volunteer work again is a really great way to both gain that and to showcase it.
So a few examples from my own life, my own high school experience I was one of the founders of our student community action council, which took community service throughout our school to a whole new level that was organized. And made it accessible. So that’s a time where I held the position of being a philanthropy head.
That’s just as important as all of the volunteer work that I did at the boys and girls club, as a volunteer, as a tutor, as someone who was just helping those children at that after-school program, do a little bit better on their homework to be a role model for them to mentor them. Those are all great experiences to have.
And also something that schools really want to know about. One of the most commonly asked questions is actually, can you tell us a time when you are a leader? So again, whether it’s showcasing a skill, as needy said that you have, and now you use to make the community or the world, or, your town, your school, a better place.
Or it’s something that you just decided you wanted to do, but you’ve learned about yourself. These are great places to really showcase who you are and showcase your characteristics. And just really to circle back to that idea again, to show what’s important to you because that’s ultimately what schools want to know are like who you are and then what’s important to you.
And how will that show up on their campus?
Another way that you can get involved is to either volunteer with a local or community-based nonprofit, or even starting your own non-profit. I personally did have experienced starting my own nonprofit and received quite a few questions on that. So I’ll try to summarize it up as efficiently as I can, but to preface it is a very long It’s a somewhat difficult process, but I found it extremely worthwhile.
Before you start, you will want to make sure that there are existing community or national organizations that you might be able to team up with or learn from oftentimes just being very interested in a particular problem or field of nonprofit work will be enough to make connections in existing nonprofits.
And oftentimes you’ll find that it will be equally worthwhile to just join and combine your forces with an existing movement. If you do go the route of starting your own initiative program or organization, you will want to find passionate mentors and teammates. I was very lucky to find mentors through Washington university St.
Louis, as well as some of my own teachers and personal community mentors and in approach non-profit based where he’ll want to keep the ideas of social entrepreneurship in mind. And that you’ll want to make sure that what you’re doing and who you’re impacting, who you’re attempting to impact will be in line with community sensitive and culturally sensitive ideals.
And if you do go about starting a, an organization, it will be a major activity. Possibly like a multi-year endeavor. So this would be a great thing to write about in, if not a common app, like a major asset. I personally wrote about my essay and the process of starting a nonprofit organization centered around teaching youth about environmental sanitation and also highlighted it in my application section.
And I was very honest about both the ups and downs of working through the creation and the sustaining of my organization, but I was very happy with the way that it turned out. And yeah, it’s it was definitely a very worthwhile process overall. Another important area of volunteer work is volunteer, work abroad.
And as it is with starting a nonprofit organization, we always want to be aware of how we’re impacting communities and making sure that what we are planning on doing is helpful to them is culturally sensitive, especially when you’re going yourself into a new community and a new country. So what does volunteer work abroad include?
This is a question that we get a lot. What constitutes that mission trips are very popular international school volunteer trips or large scale international organizations, such as habitat for humanity. That’s another common one that students want to talk about. One of the main things that I really want to bring up and make sure that is understood when talking about volunteer work abroad, or going into it is making sure that why you’re pursuing this and, your impact and also leading with humility.
So don’t go in there and don’t write about it the way in a way that makes it seem like you were going there to save anyone. It’s very important to realize your own limitations, to understand what you’re doing and what the impact is to figure out what’s already going on. If you’re starting something yourself in a new country to work with local volunteers and to make sure that the impact that you have had is.
Actually beneficial to the people there. Another thing that I want to bring up is oftentimes if someone goes on a mission trip or any international community service or volunteer program abroad, they oftentimes, or at least parents or counselors suggest, this is something that you should definitely write about on your common application, in your supplemental essays.
And I like to be a little bit weary of that. First of all, it’s something that is becoming increasingly common. So if you’re are going to write about this, make sure that it was very meaningful to you. I put life-changing here. It doesn’t have to be as cliche as that, but make sure that you got some meaning out of it and you can share your impact as well.
So if this was an experience where you found something out new about yourself, or it’s the first time that you went to a different country and there isn’t just that community service aspect being abroad was an entire experience for you. That’s fine to bring it up. So my personal experience, I went to Nicaragua for four weeks over the summer in between junior and senior year, I worked in both a local hospital and in a school stayed with a family there.
It was very meaningful to me. I chose not to write about it for my common application. Even though I continued to do that work once I got home, which is another important aspect of this you might not want. Your main common application essay on one week of your high school career. This is a great thing that might be better reserved for a supplemental essay, a leadership essay, a volunteer specific essay.
Just making sure that you aren’t highlighting this in a way that might make it seem more important than it actually was because the schools can sense that. And of course, if this is something that was really important to you, you did have a big impact. You do want to share it. Just think very thoughtfully about the way that you’re presenting it with humility and then also where that should fit into your application.
Wow. Technical difficulties. There we go. Now I’m gonna speak a little bit to how you can use your volunteering experience and stand out both within the experience and in the way you write about it, the way you portray it on your applications. I want to highlight that authenticity and humility are the two most important things with regard to this experience.
You want to really invite your own voice, your own thoughts and the realities of the ups and downs of your experience whenever you refer to it. And if you do choose to write about it within volunteering, if possible, find a niche within a certain area of volunteering and really use your skills use use a specific set of skills and.
That are unique to you and find a way to apply them make time to reflect, maybe journal about why the activity was meaningful to you in my seem tedious at first, but it will come back and help you when you have the real time thoughts accessible to you, right? When you’re writing your essays, when you’re, when you need to describe what that activity meant to you.
And I think a hundred characters or less activities trial and error to find an opportunity or a cause that you’re passionate about is completely normal. I know that I went to several clubs that just weren’t a good fit for me. And I learned a lot about my preferences and what I wanted to be spending my time doing because I was.
I, as I’m sure all of you do really valued my time in high school and found that it was so limited. And I really wanted to make sure that I was spending every moment on something, but I really enjoyed and had at least some degree of passion and interest in. To sustain for on a day to day basis, be engaged, be reliable and be passionate about what you’re doing and make sure you convey your passion and your writing and your daily actions.
Definitely don’t bite off more than you can chew. It’s okay to say no, it’s okay to cut down your workload if that’s what you need, but make sure that what you do, you’re doing well and you’re doing, and you’re being a reliant member of whatever club, organization initiative that you choose to be part of.
And finally make sure you develop a good relationships with your mentors or supervisors from your volunteering opportunities. One of my supplemental recommendations to brown actually ended up being from. A woman who was a mentor of mine and founding my organization. And I know so many friends and peers who asked their volunteering supervisors to write letters of recommendation to universities, and sometimes that really can make all the difference.
So make sure you really take the time to give a hundred percent to anything you choose to. And while you may not need extreme breadth in every single volunteering activity, it is good to find a level of depth in one or two activities that you’re passionate about.
Definitely. And that leads us into how to talk about volunteering outside of essays. Essays are a great place to really expand and to share your passion, to share why this is important to you, what you did. You can show your impact. So how do we translate that into resumes, extracurricular list interviews, all of the other parts of your college application.
So for your resume one of the main things that you want to do on all resumes, whether it’s for a college or you’re applying for an internship or graduated college, and you’re going for your full-time job is really showing the impact that you have personally made. As someone, and I know this might be the econ major in me, but any stats you can share, let’s say that you joined a team and you were able to increase the amount of schools that you worked with afterschool by 50%, or you are able to add on 10 different bakeries that are now going to give your organization baked goods for you to deliver to a homeless shelter, whatever those numbers are for you, if it’s volunteers or the impact that you’ve made, those are really important to getting the point across that this wasn’t something that was just a checkbox on your list of activities for your college application.
I think that’s an important thing that needy just tucked on, touched on it as well, is that we want to make sure that. If you’re doing volunteer work, that it is something you’re passionate about. There is an impact there you don’t need to do. And I know that we do have really long lists of volunteer work that we did in high school.
But you don’t need to do everything. You can choose one or two things and just go all in and really be passionate about that. That’s what schools want to see. They want to see that you are passionate about making your community a better place. And then also, if there are any skills that you learned what specific tasks did you do?
Are those able to be applied to other parts of your life, such as work work experience or in the classroom, and then. Oh into your extracurricular list. You also, this is a place where you want to know if you’ve held any positions or you got many wards. So that is a place where that is a little bit more important, but you also can focus on what the goal of your work or what the goal of the organization was and why that’s meaningful to you.
What they’re looking for with that extracurriculars list is you only have so much time in high school and you want to, do a million things. You also want to have time for studying and time to hang out with friends and family. So why were these extracurriculars, what you put any extra time towards so really focusing on and thinking about why they were important to you, why you’re listing them, especially if there are more extracurriculars that you can’t fit, why is this one that you adding to this list?
Why is it important for colleges to see and then for interviews? This is a really great place to talk about any volunteer experience, any community service, you’ve done, organizations you’ve been a part of. That’s a really great thing to connect with the interviewer on if there’s a cause that you’re passionate about, maybe they’re also passionate about it, or when you’re talking about it, they can feel your passion and they can understand why this is important to you.
So having a few anecdotes that really highlight the importance. Of the experience that you had of the volunteer work you were doing are very important. Especially anything that was extremely meaningful because you learned something or it’s just something that’s ingrained in your brain, because it was so memorable, you actually saw your impact or, you influenced someone else to join, whatever that was for you.
Think of those things. You can journal them, you can just jot them down. Maybe have a note on your phone, if anything comes to mind, because those anecdotes are what humanize you. And what my students hear me say all the time is show don’t. Tell, make sure that you have experiences and moments you can share that really highlight why this is important to you.
The characteristics of yours, you’re wanting to share the volunteer work and leadership work and what you actually did to impact others can all be told without stating directly like I was a volunteer and I impacted this community. You can show that and it’s a lot more power. And then just a final kind of note on this is just thinking about you and your character.
And I have said this before, but why is this the organization or this the cause that’s meaningful to you, whether it’s your own personal background, it’s family background, it’s what you’ve seen your friends doing. It’s what you’ve seen a loved one doing or a mentor figuring that out and that human connection is great to highlight in interviews and then elsewhere in your application, in your resume as well.
Perfect. So now that we’ve heard about how powerful volunteering can be to your applications, I’m going to take you through some inspiration for current opportunities. This is definitely not an exhaustive list, and this is something you should definitely ask your advisors about, and I’m sure they’ll be happy to put you in the right direction.
Now, during the pandemic, most things are virtual. So there are any opportunities for virtual service, such as virtual music playing or virtual phone calling for the elderly. That would be a great substitute for traditional volunteering in nursing homes. Food banks are always looking for support staff, either remotely or in person to actually collect and distribute food online or in-person coronavirus resource match efforts.
I know that there are several Opportunities such as get us PPE, get them PP that are looking for virtual volunteers just to work with data. Organized matches, coordinate matches, and every little bit helps to get us through this pandemic. So that’s definitely a very temporally relevant opportunity.
And of course there’s always unpaid online tutoring or mentorship opportunities or peppermint placings that you can pursue through school clubs or other online avenues after the pandemic. Almost every hospital or hospital system has medical, volunteering internships. Usually you’ll have to call the hospital or call a contact at the hospital to find them.
But in my experience, I’ve heard about so many hospitals systems having these pretty much unilaterally across the United States and volunteering within a medical system, whether it’s within hospital administration or within award can be a great way to express your interest in field, such as public health or in the pre-medical track.
School-based volunteering clubs, almost all schools have some version of healthcare volunteering or general community service opportunities such as key club or honor society. There are also several. Clubs that you use other skills such as I believe BJC hospice has some still has chapters out where you use artistic skills to make crafts for people in hospice soup kitchens.
So many religious centers have affiliate soup kitchens or youth groups that get involved in community issues. And this is a great way to get involved through an out of school community. And finally in-person tutoring in person mashing, mentoring, or placements are great ways to get involved.
And now I’m going to send out another poll. So after hearing about all these volunteering opportunities, are you are planning to pursue any of these volunteering opportunities.
Awesome. We’re seeing some people saying that they’re still deciding and believe a few are volunteering virtually and or planning to volunteer virtually really a sign of the times, but great opportunities exist virtually. Yeah. Once things open up in person, for sure. Yeah. It’s really great to see so many people excited about volunteering virtually or even planning to volunteer virtually.
There are quite a few people volunteering in person right now, too. So that’s awesome. That’s very difficult to do with everything going on. Yeah, congratulations. That’s amazing. So just to sum everything up I know that we have talked a lot. We’ve given you a lot of information, a lot of anecdotes. We’re just going to break down the do’s and don’ts.
So we’ll start with the dues bite as well. Start with the good news first. Just to go over everything. And if this sounds like we’re repeating ourselves, We’re sorry, but hopefully that will help you remember when you’re writing your essays. Just making sure that you describe why this experience was important to you or harked on this, again, really figuring out why this cause why this volunteer experience, whether it’s a food bank and hunger is an issue that maybe you’ve personally experienced or that is very important to you.
For some reason, that’s something that’s really great to show. Both, it will make you feel great while you’re doing it. And also once you’re applying to colleges to have that on your application and to be able to share that personal part of yourself and then also asking yourself, like why am I putting my time towards volunteer work?
Do I describe myself as an activist? Do I just have this need to help others? If it is, school sanctioned or being semi-forced on you by someone, maybe don’t share that with them and instead reflect on how that experience after you did it affected you. So that leads us to our next, do demonstrate and share.
What can you do? The service has taught you whether it’s what it’s taught you about yourself or what it’s taught you about your community and others in your community, who maybe you didn’t know very well before. Or. Different causes that are now important to you or different issues in your society that you now see are an issue and are working to fix.
And then again, really write with humility and honest reflection, reflect on how you have impacted the community you’re working with, reflect on the actions that you have taken and the impact you’ve made and make sure that you don’t make it seem like you came in there and everything was great. You can share your wins but make sure to reflect on your losses or anything else you’ve learned as well.
And then show don’t tell again, use those specific examples to really illustrate your impact and also your skills. So this is a place where you can not only share like how well you did, but you can also share like any skills that might not be community service or volunteer work specific that are also important for colleges to know.
So again, that could be your leadership experience, your time management organization, empathy, your thoughtfulness. It could be your ability to put yourself in someone else’s shoes or maybe you’re really great at making posters or making phone calls. And that’s something that was highlighted throughout this process.
So really baking the focus both on your impact, but also on what it tells the school about you, because that’s ultimately what they want to know. So now we will go to the don’ts, which are also a great list. So as far as Jones and I have a couple more to add now that I’m thinking about it. Okay. Probably from the beginning, don’t pursue an opportunity purely for the resume.
I know that we’ve all been tempted to see some Christy jus opportunity that might not be the most fun, but we’ll look good on the resume, but it has to be sustainable. And colleges really love to see depth and can see the tangible passion that you put into it. So if you’re really not looking forward to showing up wherever it is that you have to show up on Sunday morning or whatever, ungodly hour, then you probably are better off not doing it.
And channeling your efforts into an opportunity that you are interested in being at. Don’t ignore your personal constraints. Like I said earlier saying no is not about thing. If you agree to too heavy, a workload and don’t deliver, you will likely be letting other people down as well as yourself, which is not fair to the organization and can be very stressful for you.
So really know your limits and take time to reflect on your workload and make sure you’re having a nice balance and enough time to work on your schoolwork and other activities. Don’t ride in cliches or generalizations. Specifics are amazing. And colleges just don’t want to hear about how you went to Ghana and it was a life-changing experience, the ups and downs and the authentic experiences that you went through, or you should find something that’s more meaningful to write about or find a better.
A more personal and appealing way to write about it. Don’t write about your experience from a savior point of view. Chances are, if you are in high school and you’re volunteering, you’re really providing a lot of auxiliary support and you have to write with that humility that you understand that you’re making all the difference that you can, but that it takes a lot greater effort than just yours to really bring about this difference raw and understand like your place in a bigger situation that you’re working with.
Don’t neglect your responsibilities with your volunteering position. Once again, yes, know your limits and make sure that you’re a reliable volunteer, don’t compare your volunteering experience to those of other people everyone’s journey and find. Causes that are meaningful to them are very personal and often volunteering can be like a very intimate part of your like your overall cocktail of all the activities that you’re doing before college and everyone’s journey looks different.
And to that end one more doubt. Don’t shy away from expressing vulnerability when writing or speaking about it. So many times, it’s easy to gloss over the little moments that touch you, but really that’s what brings about the humanity in your application. That’s how you stand out. And that’s really how you learn more about yourself and the kind of opportunities that really speak to you.
So embrace the vulnerability and. Embrace your own journey on this process and find things that are sustainable and peak your interest at the heart.
Awesome. So that is actually the end of the presentation part of the webinar. I hope you found this information helpful, and remember, you can download the sides in the handouts tab or from the link in the public chat. So if you want to go over those do’s and don’ts again, You have access to that. So we will now be moving on to the live Q and a needy.
And I will alternate reading through the questions you submitted in the Q and a tab, paste them into we’ll paste them into the public chat. So you can see, you can reflect on the question that’s being asked, and then we will read them out loud before giving you the answer. As a heads up, if your Q and a tab, isn’t letting you submit questions, double check that you joined the webinar through the custom link in your email.
These went to your student’s email, not from the webinar landing page. If for whatever reason, you’re still having some issues on that end. Tests is awesome. She is our tech support. You can also send her your questions or you can message one of us privately and we’ll make sure to copy and paste it into the.
So let’s see, looking at that two and a okay, let’s go for the first one. I will post it into the chat. We will both answer. We’ll see how this feels and go from there. Okay. So just posted that first question, the chat, because of the pandemic, most volunteer places are closed. Are there any volunteer work that we can do?
So needy did touch on that. Is there anything else that you feel we should add? One thing that I have been doing, and I’ve seen a lot of my friends doing before I hand it over is. Either phone banking. So calling and making sure that people in your area are registered to vote. There’s a lot of letter writing going on right now.
If volunteer work geared towards the upcoming election is something that is important to you. It’s interesting to you. There are a ton of organizations all over the country. If you are outside of the U S this is probably a little bit less pertinent but there are a ton of volunteer experiences and opportunities where they need young people to write the call.
If if you’re interested in doing that. Yeah, just echoing what Katelyn said. I did mention a couple earlier in the presentation, but really. If there isn’t an opportunity within your own community, then feel like you feel free to start it. It doesn’t have to be like a big organization. You can just get some friends together and check in on elderly folks in your area, or read stories to kindergarteners or an afterschool program in your area.
But yeah, like political phone banking and politically related volunteer work is definitely volunteering as well. And if that’s something you’re interested in, you should definitely think about it. There are definitely non-partisan ways to write about any political related volunteer activity that you’re thinking about pursuing.
So don’t shy away from those opportunities. And someone else also asked and I’ll copy and paste this. If we could just repeat some of the other virtual volunteering so needy, do you want to quickly just list off the other examples that you gave? Yeah. Maybe go back a few slides. And I will, I’m going to post this in the chat just so everyone can see it.
Perfect. Thanks. Yeah, so virtual like leading a virtual workshop, virtual music playing just any like virtual sharing of skills volunteering for food banks, online coronavirus release relief efforts, unpaid online tutoring, mentorship unpaid entertaining, little kids and someone, lots of different ways.
You can use the internet to find volunteers. This is a great one for you to answer as well. What are some examples of science oriented, volunteering work? I have to say. I have not personally done that. So I would love for you to maybe share your experience. I know there are some up on the slide as well.
Gotcha. I know a lot of labs once the world opens up, we’ll want some auxiliary support. I know that when I didn’t have too much formal research experience, but I volunteered in a lab just carting animals around take feeding them, literally putting the for about a year. And th this was, it is scientific volunteering.
They need someone to do that. So it will be the 13 year old high school freshmen usually. But yeah, that’s one way to get research tangential, volunteering experiences. So many science-oriented nonprofits would love to have volunteering efforts, scientific activism. That’s a great way to get involved in scientific volunteering.
Medical internships with hospitals with other medical efforts are still on the slide, but yeah there are definitely a lot of ways that you can get involved locally, either with an institution with nonprofits or with hospital systems or even teaching science to kids. Yeah, sure. Those are all really great options.
I will say. I have not personally done a lot of scientific oriented volunteering but along those lines, a bunch of my friends in high school were candy stripers. So if that is something you’re interested in, even if you’re not maybe as medically oriented, that’s a great place to sit.
Okay. So our next question, what activities do universities look for most? If there are any particular organizations and activities that stand out. First and foremost answering this question. And I think we touched on this a little bit in our do’s and don’ts what’s most important is that one you’re really passionate about this and two that you are involved, you’re doing your duties.
You’ve made an impact. That’s really what they want to see. It doesn’t matter if it’s a larger organization that everyone knows by name or something that you started yourself. What schools really want to see is that this is something that is important to you, and you’re not just putting it on your extracurriculars list because you want to have community service on there.
Yeah, so that’s kinda my 2 cents, I will say big name organizations. They probably have a little more recognition. If it’s an organization that’s important to that university that might pull a little bit more weight. But that’s the only place that I could see a specific organization or activity being.
Yeah. That’s exactly what I would say. There is really no organization in particular that any university is particularly waiting to see honestly, big name organizations sometimes and might work against you because a lot of people volunteer with them organizations affiliated with a university like, yeah, that might, that might mean well to your application, but really there are so many ways to passionately describe almost any activity you do.
So it doesn’t matter if you’re playing the accordion to a bunch of kids in a kindergarten every Sunday morning. If that’s, if that is what you’re passionate about and you’re sharing something you love with other people and making other people’s lives a better place than they love to see that. And honestly, the more unique the better.
Definitely. Yeah. Okay. So we have a few that are similar, so I’m going to put them all in the chat kind of at the same time. So our first one, is there a recommended number of volunteering hours that colleges like to see? And then the second one that is pretty similar is does the number of years matter in volunteering or when you created a nonprofit organization.
So do you want to maybe start with the nonprofit size and we can answer the rest? Sure. So there’s a nonprofit side, I guess don’t, I guess if it’s something that you’re doing right before application season, College is my get the idea that you’re not struck by a sudden burst of Goodwill. And like your application season might have something to do with why you’re starting all like all these actions.
So I guess what’s important to highlight are opportunities that you’ve been involved with longitudinally hours, honestly, like volunteer hours on the common app you put in the hours. And it’s really a rough estimate of how many hours that you’ve done. So it’s really the depth and the duration that you’ve done it rather than I guess like out like hours overall.
So I’m trying to say is like doing something over a year versus three is we’ve done it regularly. It would, it just doesn’t matter if you’ve done it pretty regularly and that there is this organization. Yeah, definitely. I completely agree. I think the yours versus hours years are probably a little bit more important just to show dedication as well.
That being said, something that I tell students all the time is you should not feel bad if you just found something that you’re passionate about. That’s okay. That happens. We’re learning, we’re growing throughout high school. Yes. You do want to show dedication to certain things on your extracurriculars list.
If there’s something that you’ve recently discovered that you really love. It’s okay to write about that. Make sure to put that in there. Maybe talk about why you are so passionate about it now. That’s completely fine because the reverse of that is you don’t want to stick with something that you’re maybe not that passionate about.
And you’re just doing for four years, just to say that you’ve done it for four years. If you’re asked about it on an essay or in an interview you won’t have as much to share. So that being said, we have another question that someone just private message me that I think is pretty similar. So I’m putting it in here.
But just how many clubs we were enrolled in, how many we recommend. I was probably in too many clubs in high school, looking back sports was on every leadership council, tenant community service, granted. I will say that one of the things that was really important to me and I know Nita you’re this way as well.
We didn’t do anything that we didn’t love. We were not doing these things just to say, Hey, we did 10 different types of community service during high school. Because honestly, when you get to the common app, you can’t even fit all of those on there. So some things have to go, yeah. I will say you want to fit as much as you can.
You want to choose things that are important to you that are meaningful to you, that you think you can make an impact. And whether that’s, five different community service organizations, or just spending the time to coach a soccer team or help out in a lab, those are all valid. Those are all important.
It’s really up to you. What opportunities are around you and what you want to do. Granted, there are other things going on in your life. Yeah. Cannot reiterate the doing what you love aspect of this enough. A lot of the times you’ll hear of more opportunities than you can even wrap your head around.
And there’s absolutely no reason to do every single one, but and of course it may seem like we did do a lot, but I personally. Avoided other things like I didn’t pursue much research. I’d never shattered a doctor in my life. I still really haven’t. I was really passionate about kind of disaster management.
So I went really deep into that kind of programming in high school. So it’s all a choice of what you truly want to focus on. Just really like finding specific things that are interesting to you rather than checking off a certain number of boxes. I feel like that. The most important thing.
Definitely. And that ties perfectly into the next question we got. I forgot the first I, I copied and pasted. But is it a disadvantage if you don’t have any volunteering work on your college app? I think that it’s something that’s important to have on there if you don’t though. And there are other things that you’re dedicating your time to that are very important to you.
That is fine. What colleges want to see is that you are impacting your community. You’re impacting your school. You’re doing things that you care about. You’re doing things that are teaching you new skills and bringing you joy, but also pushing you outside of your box if you don’t have any volunteer work.
Especially during these really weird COVID times where application season is just its own new thing. I wouldn’t worry too much. Maybe there’s something that you can start virtually now just to have that experience. But just making sure again, reiterating what we said in the last two questions.
It’s more important to do things that you care about and that you have an impact versus just saying, Hey, community service slash volunteering is on my college checklist. I have to. Yeah. And a lot of things can cross over into the realm of volunteering. And I know on the common app, you can only select one major category to put everything in, but a lot of.
Transcend categories. If you’re really organized in advocacy of some sort like that can count as volunteering, if you’re not getting paid to do it, but it can also kind of advocacy. And when colleges see your application, and if you’re really passionate about a given number of things, and they will recognize that and they will see like the multifaceted nature of a lot of the activities that you do.
Not is a perfect link to our next question, which is, do college applications have a specific section for community service slash volunteering? Again, just like media sides, they don’t, so don’t worry, but there is usually like a dropdown or a place where you put like what category it falls into. So there’s like sports, volunteer, work extracurriculars.
I don’t know of any applications. I don’t know if you do where they specifically say, like what volunteer work do you no, not, I’m not, you’re worried. Do not worry about that. Okay. So we have a few more questions. We have seven more minutes. We’re going to try to get through as many as possible. There are quite a few about where to find volunteer work in their city country.
State. I would say, I don’t know if we have those answers. I wish that we did. But ask around, ask other people at your school, ask or mentors. Usually schools have like volunteer tracks or associations with certain programs. Do you have any other advice media? I know that you also started your own non-profit so that’s out there.
It’s a lot of work. If you’re a senior that might be a lot of work to do before college, but any other skills? I think I’m going to take this one as well. I’m tied back. Volunteer work abroad. I know it’s not super relevant now, but when we can, I think it definitely doesn’t have to be through a structured program.
I know that there are so many programs trying to sell these experiences to you. And sometimes this might not be the best course of action for you and. Which like, whatever way that you can find a way to get involved both locally and abroad doesn’t have to be abroad is a, is valid, is a great way of getting involved as long as you’re doing something to better your community.
With regard to specific volunteer opportunities. If you need mentors and ways to get involved university faculty in areas around you, great resource often, very untapped, often super, super passionate about their fields and a lot more specified if you’re interested in a certain area. And in my experience very willing to mentor high school.
With a passion. So for sure I would also say that if you are talking about volunteer work abroad, that is not structured to again, just make note to talk about it with humility. This is probably something that you should chat with your advisor about and like how to write about it because usually larger organizations or like a school sanctioned trip just have that layer of like, why were you there?
The impact is built in and thought through, so this is something you’re doing on your own, just thinking through like, why am I doing this? Why this specific place, why this community, why this thing that I’m doing, whether it’s, bringing fresh water or helping in a school or, helping to build a school.
Making sure that you’ve, you are aware of that. And then our next question ties right back into this. So how did we find our own volunteer opportunities? A lot of mine was through my high school. I will say though, that we realized there wasn’t an overarching leadership organization that was just for community service.
So we started one called the student community action council. We had seven different heads. I was in charge of philanthropy, people who were in charge of elderly children, environmental, a bunch of other heads that I can not think of off the top of my head. Cause it’s been a while since I’ve been in high school, but we decided that we needed it more organization at school.
That’s one way to do it. You can also, go abroad as well. Another really great way is to just to see what help your community needs. So I realized that there were some schools around my neighborhood who students would go there after school. And oftentimes that was their place to do homework.
There was no one to help them to do homework there and oftentimes their parents at home didn’t speak English. So this was really the place where they needed help. So finding those gaps, I know that’s really hard when we’re virtual and you might not know what’s going on. So just reach out to people and yeah, needy.
I know that you’ve done a great job networking. So I’m going to share on that. Yeah. So honestly, just reach out to your friends, reach out to your teachers, reach out to community members. Cold emailing is a very great way to make this introduction. Just introduce yourself and then dive right in to.
What you’re interested in as always approach these with humility don’t approach these as this is what you can do for me, but rather like I’m interested in this. I was wondering if you had any opportunities to like, just speak with me about this and then you can explore more opportunities from there.
But yeah, just if you really don’t know anyone, just go on the internet, search up faculty search reach out to your professors, hold the email. Yeah. And there are two other questions that are in that same vein. So what other types of volunteering are out there for someone who loves tutoring.
And then if we know of any organizations and websites to play for the elderly, which are both great questions, I’m glad that you found your passion. That’s super important. I will say that the best way to figure that out is probably as needy. Go on the internet, cold call people, cold email people specifically for tutoring.
That’s something that I also very passionate about. So I shared a little bit of what I did for that afterschool program. Boys and girls club of America is something I did as well. That’s a huge organization. Reach out to them. They’re always looking for volunteers. You could also reach out to local elementary and middle schools in your area.
And there are so many kids who are doing school online. I’m sure that they could use the help with homework and with studying for tests. That’s something you can do at home via zoom, and you had really make an impact score for playing in a band. I think you have a little more experience on that. So any tips of like websites or organizations or how to find those places that you can play?
Oh, for honestly not locally. Again, the internet is a great place to find these, but really if you’re in like a pod of other people who play instruments, maybe small groups, if you could get together, like in a socially distanced outside environment and find places to just zoom live and put on a concert for people in your area.
And maybe you can publicize it with local nursing homes, reach out and I’m sure they would love to partner with you and have you entertain the residents for sure. Awesome. So we are a minute over. I apologize for that. We were just having such a great conversation. Thank you for all of the questions for sitting through an hour of us chatting.
You can always reach out to either of us through the bulls-eye website. There’s also bullseye admissions subscriptions. If you don’t have a current advisor and you would like one, it doesn’t have to be us. It can be us. There’s plenty on the website. That’s some information there. And yeah I think we are good for the day.
Thank you all. Needy, do you have anything else to add? I’m sure it probably missing something. No, not at all. It’s just good luck with everything. You’re definitely. Going through high school in a very weird time, very weird climate. So honestly, kudos for getting through it all. And I’m sure your applications will be wonderful.
Thank you all. Have a great rest of your day and great rest of your week, and hopefully we will chat with some of you soon.