30 Best Places To Volunteer For College Applications

Looking for the best places to volunteer for college? Here are 30 places that will look outstanding on your college applications.

If you are applying to college, chances are you should be considering adding volunteer programs to your application.

High school students who volunteer or complete community service projects as part of their extracurricular activities really stand out in the college application process.

Admissions officers love when you can share your personal interests through your volunteer work. Don’t volunteer just because you feel you have to. Do it as a place you truly care about.

Why does volunteering look good on your college applications?

Volunteering can help you demonstrate your commitment to serving others, and it’s a great way to explore potential career and academic interests.

Not only will volunteering look good on your college applications, but it is also an incredibly rewarding experience that allows you to give back to your local community.

There are various ways you can help out so don’t be discouraged if you feel you don’t have the time.

If you are looking for places to volunteer for your college applications, then there are plenty of organizations that could use your help. From environmental conservation initiatives to local soup kitchens and animal shelters, here are the 30 best places to volunteer for college applications:

30 Best Places To Volunteer For College Applications

1. Habitat for Humanity:

By volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, you can help build strength, stability and independence in your local community.

You will gain valuable skills while gaining hands-on experience that looks great on resumes and college applications.

It’s a great choice if you are going into social work.

2. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America:

This program is an amazing way to enrich a child’s life by mentoring and providing guidance.

You can make a difference in the life of an at-risk child while creating strong relationships.

3. Meal Delivery:

Many organizations provide meals to those less fortunate or unable to get food on their own.

You can volunteer with a local organization that delivers meals to help your community.

4. Local Soup Kitchen:

If you’re looking to lend a helping hand, consider volunteering with your local soup kitchen.

Help out by preparing meals for those in need, cleaning up afterwards and serving food.

5. Animal Shelters:

Spending some time volunteering at an animal shelter is not only rewarding but also beneficial for your college application.

You’ll get to spend time with animals, help feed and clean up after them and provide much-needed attention.

6. Emergency Shelters:

Volunteering at a local emergency shelter is a great way to give back to the community while also gaining valuable experience that can translate into college applications.

Help out by providing meals and snacks, organizing events or simply spending time with residents.

7. National Park Service:

Spending time outdoors can be both rewarding and beneficial for college applications.

Participate in various volunteer activities at a local national park such as cleaning up trails, building structures or planting trees.

If you’re lucky enough to live near a national park, this is a great place to do volunteer work. You can even continue once you’ve moved past high school and encourage other college students to join in as well.

photos of a grey and white cat at an animal shelter - best places to volunteer for college

8. Benefit Concerts:

Benefit concerts are a great way to make a difference in the community while meeting new people and experiencing live music.

Donate your time by helping staff the event, selling tickets or setting up for the show.

9. Soup Drives:

Soup drives are usually organized around Thanksgiving or Christmas and are a great way to give back during the holiday season.

Help out by collecting canned goods or serving up hot soup to those in need.

10. Special Olympics:

You can enrich the lives of these special athletes by volunteering at a local event or fundraising for the organization.

Not only will you get to help make an impact, but you’ll also gain wonderful experience that looks great on college applications.

11. Libraries:

There are a variety of volunteer opportunities at libraries, including activities such as helping with book readings, setting up displays and organizing events.

You can also help out by cataloging books or assisting with computer-related projects.

Libraries have a lot of options for volunteering and are one of the best places to volunteer for college.

12. Senior Citizen Homes:

Consider volunteering your time to visit elderly citizens in nursing homes or assisted living facilities.

Your conversations and visits can make a huge difference in their lives while also enriching your own.

13. Environmental Organizations:

You can do your part to save the planet by volunteering with a local environmental organization.

Help out by planting trees, cleaning up trash or simply spreading awareness about important causes.

The way we treat our environment is more important every day so this is a great place to spend your time volunteering.

14. Beach Cleanups:

Beach cleanups are a great way to make an impact while enjoying the outdoors.

Help out by picking up litter, restoring dunes or simply educating others on the importance of keeping our beaches clean and safe.

15. Tutoring:

If you’re looking for an enriching volunteer opportunity, consider tutoring local students in need.

You can help kids with math, reading and writing or simply provide moral support and guidance.

16. Local Food Bank:

Food banks are always in need of volunteers to help package food for those who might not have enough to eat.

This is a great way to give back during the holiday season while also learning valuable skills.

17. Fundraising Events:

There are plenty of ways to get involved with fundraising events and make a difference in the community.

Help out by staffing an event, providing entertainment or setting up a booth to raise awareness about causes you care about.

18. Clothing Drives:

Clothing drives can help those in need while also providing valuable volunteering experience.

Help out by collecting donations, organizing clothes or staffing the event on the day of.

19. Animal Rescue:

If you’re passionate about animals, consider volunteering in an animal rescue center.

Assist with finding homes for pets, cleaning cages and providing much-needed attention to cats and dogs.

20. Blood Drives:

Blood drives are one of the best ways to give back and save a life.

Participate by providing snacks, setting up tables or simply donating some of your own blood. This volunteer opportunity looks great on college applications and could potentially save someone’s life.

This is a great opportunity for medical students or those headed in to medical school. And once you’re in college, you can even be a volunteer coordinator.

Search for the american red cross and find local organizations hosting a blood drive.

high school student considering college volunteer opportunities

21. Elementary Schools:

Primary schools are always looking for volunteers to help out with after-school programs, field trips and other activities.

Get involved with a local school and make an impact on the lives of young students.

22. Art Galleries:

Consider volunteering your time at an art gallery or museum in your community.

Help out by staffing events, setting up displays or providing educational resources to visitors.

23. Homeless Shelters:

Homeless shelters need volunteers to help with meal preparation, laundry and other tasks.

Your time and effort can make a huge difference in the lives of those less fortunate.

24. Local Churches:

Many churches are always looking for volunteers to help out with events or programs.

Consider getting involved by organizing activities, teaching classes or simply providing moral support.

25. Disaster Relief:

If you’re looking for a way to make an impact on a global scale, consider volunteering with an organization that supports disaster relief efforts.

You can help out with fundraising, collecting donations or simply providing emotional support to those affected.

26. International Charities:

If you’re looking for an opportunity to make a difference in other countries, consider volunteering with an international charity organization.

Help out by donating money and supplies or traveling abroad to provide assistance on the ground.

Anything with an international component is generally one of the best places to volunteer for college.

27. Senior Centers:

Senior centers are always looking for volunteers to help out with activities, meal preparation and other tasks.

Assist in providing companionship and emotional support to elderly members of the community.

28. Political Campaigns:

If you’re passionate about making a difference on a larger scale, consider volunteering with a political campaign or organization.

You can help out with door-to-door canvassing, staffing events or providing social media support.

29. Environmental Stewardship:

Help keep your community clean and safe by volunteering with a local environmental stewardship organization.

Assist in planting trees, cleaning up playgrounds and organizing green initiatives in the area.

This is a good place for a service project as well. You can truly impact positive change in the world by volunteering.

30. Libraries:

Libraries are always looking for volunteers to help out with book sorting, research and other tasks.

Consider getting involved in your local library and make a difference in the lives of young readers.

high school student picking up trash to volunteer for college

How To Find Time To Volunteer in High School

High schoolers are often busy with classes, sports activities and other obligations, especially if you have a part-time job.

But volunteering is still a great way to make a difference in the world.

Here are a few tips for finding time to volunteer:

1. Set Aside Time Each Week:

Try setting aside an hour or two each week for volunteering. This could be after school, in the evening or on weekends.

2. Take Advantage of School Breaks:

Make use of school breaks and holidays to volunteer with an organization or cause that you’re passionate about.

You could even sign up for an alternative spring break or dow something over your summer break.

3. Look for Flexible Opportunities:

Look for flexible volunteering opportunities that allow you to work around your schedule.

Many organizations are in need of volunteers and may be able to work with your availability.

Once you’re in college you can look to your own campus community to find volunteer opportunities.

Try reaching out to your local community and see if there are any volunteer opportunities that you could get involved in.

You’d be surprised what kind of impact you can make when you give back. You own community likely needs help.

5. Get Creative:

If you’re pressed for time, try getting creative with how you volunteer.

Consider writing letters or making cards to cheer up those in need or helping out virtually by using your social media skills.

6. Spread the Word:

Share your experiences of volunteering with others and encourage them to join you in making a difference.

7. Make it a family affair:

Have your entire family participate so it’s something you all do together every month.

No matter how busy your schedule is, there’s always time to give back and volunteer. It may start off small, but the impact you can make is huge. So get out there and start making a difference!

8. Volunteer in your desired career path:

This will help you get experience and can make a big difference when you are apply to college.

High school seniors who already have some experience in the path they wish to pursue have more to talk about when it comes to the college interview process as well.

In Summary: Best Places To Volunteer For College

These are just a few of the many ways to volunteer and make an impact on your community.

There are a lot of nonprofit organizations, local school, volunteer organizations, your local food pantry, local schools, and other volunteer organizations that desperately need help.

Remember that volunteering doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming; even small contributions can go a long way in making a difference. So get out there, find something you’re passionate about, and start making a difference!

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About the Author

Nicole Booz

Nicole Booz is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of GenTwenty, GenThirty, and The Capsule Collab. She has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and is the author of The Kidult Handbook (Simon & Schuster May 2018). She currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons. When she’s not reading or writing, she’s probably hiking, eating brunch, or planning her next great adventure.

Website: genthirty.com