Do you take time to volunteer in your community? As a student preparing for college you should consider spending some of your time giving back. CAA coaches want you to know that it is a great way to help you stand out on your college application.

Volunteering is a win-win situation. You help other people and help yourself at the same time. The colleges you apply to will be interested in your volunteer work—both its quantity (have you gone “above and beyond”?) and quality (Did you come up with an original idea? Was the work challenging?). When evaluating your volunteer history, the admissions staff will look at any leadership roles you have taken, any particular skills you used or developed, and whether the positions you held are related to your proposed major.

There are literally thousands of ways you can help others, develop skills, and become a leader at the same time: organize your classmates, or the kids who live in your area and start a group that makes things better for the people, animals, and/or the environment in your neighborhood, town, county, state, etc. Do something you are already good at and interested in.

If you prefer to work within an existing organization, check with your city’s volunteer center, your guidance counselor, local businesses, library, service organizations, Boys & Girls Clubs, local, state, and federal government. Americorps has a volunteer program for teens; Habitat for Humanity is always looking for people to help build homes for people who need one; and you can get more great ideas for volunteering at (Youth Service America); check it out!