When it comes to preparing for your professional career, experience is key. It takes experience to get the experience needed to fulfill the application requirements for most jobs. It is difficult for students to gain work experience amidst the myriad academic obligations and extracurricular activities of college life. One way around this to gain experience through volunteering. Here are five great volunteer ideas for college students.
1. Research Assistant
One of the best ways to dedicate your time to positive social change and get some experience in return is to become a research assistant. This is an excellent foray into the heart of whatever field you are studying. You will build up both your resume and your professional network while contributing to the advancement of your field. You may even earn a small stipend or educational credits along the way.
Spring break, summer vacation, random weekend getaways…these are the rewards of hard work in college life. They can also become great opportunities to gain valuable experience through voluntourism. This new trend involves building your vacation destination around opportunities to complete some volunteer work at the same time. There are good deeds to be done in some pretty fabulous destinations across the globe. Voluntourism often offers an exchange of service for free or discounted travel, food, and accommodations. That is a win-win! Learn more about possibilities in voluntourism from this article by Forbes.
3. Campus Organizations
Most college students belong to at least one or two campus organizations. Membership in student groups and clubs is a great way to make connections and pursue passions without having to stray off campus. Many of these organizations include volunteer opportunities both on and off campus. Taking advantage of these opportunities, rather than just showing up for social activities, builds up your resume with impressive experience.
4. Religious Organizations
Many college students find that maintaining participation in their faith helps them reduce stress and form lasting social bonds. Many campuses even have their own or affiliated churches and faith-based organizations. Churches and faith-based clubs and groups are also teeming with opportunities to complete some volunteer work and increase both the strength of your resume and your presence in your campus and surrounding community.
5. Random Acts of Kindness
When free space in your schedule is severely limited or conflicts with volunteer opportunities that already exist, create your own experience! Grab a couple of friends and commit random acts of kindness. Organize a beach, park, or even campus clean-up. Put together a dorm clothing drive. Donate a couple of your dining hall swipes to putting together meals for the homeless neighbors living near your campus. This shows initiative, creativity, and humanity, which are all experiences that future employers are looking for!
You do not have to sacrifice extracurricular involvement, social connections, or even travel in order to gain experience while completing your college degree. You can actually combine these aspects of college life with valuable volunteer experiences like these five. They will crank up your resume while filling you with a sense of accomplishment and goodwill.