There are many reasons
Volunteering lets you give back to the community, to make a difference in the world, to gain experience and to change a person’s life. During your four years in college, it is incredibly important to give back to the community for many reasons. Depending on what major you are and what kind of grad school you plan on attending, it could increase your chances of getting in. When you start applying to graduate schools, you want to stand out.
Why should the graduate program pick you over another person? Graduate schools look for more than just the book smart student. They look for well-rounded students who want to make a difference. Being altruistic is such an important quality to have. Another great quality graduate schools look at is being able to balance your time. If you are able to take rigorous classes, be involved in extracurriculars, have a job or internship AND volunteer, they know that you will be able to handle their program.
While volunteering, you may get a life-changing experience. It can help define what you want to do with your career. It will help you see the world in a different way. Without sounding too cliché, think about how you can change the world. If you love animals, volunteer at a local shelter. If you want to teach or work with kids, volunteer at a youth program. If you want to become a doctor or make a difference in the healthcare system, volunteer at the local hospital. There are so many options to make a difference and have the experiences impact your life.
But you may ask, how do I find these experiences? UCF has incredible resources to help find volunteer opportunities. You can volunteer at the Arboretum, Knights Pantry and UCF even has a program called Knights Give Back. Knights Give Back has volunteer connections with animal awareness, the arts, civic engagement, different abilities, domestic violence, education, the environment, health, and homelessness to name a few. On their website, they have an upcoming events page that also shares things going on in the community.
You may also check out the organization Volunteer UCF which lists other organizations that you can volunteer at including Special Olympics, Habitat for Humanity, Sunday Knight Food Share and the Sharing Center, amongst others.
Another option students who are majoring specifically in medical, engineering, or anthropology may find are volunteering opportunities through research. This is often a great option because research and volunteering are often two large portions of an application that a student can complete at the same time. To find research positions, click here.
And, some students will participate in UCF’s Alternative Break program which can be international or within the country. These trips provide a great opportunity to give back to communities in need while having some fun. These trips are available in the fall, during Thanksgiving, Winter, MLK holiday weekend and Spring Break. Check it out here.
Rebekah Schachner, Intern for HaveUHeard