Community involvement is essential to an impressive college or scholarship application. Community service and volunteering demonstrate community involvement.

Definition: Community service is defined as volunteering ones time to help others in need. Typically, community service, or volunteering, takes place through a legitimate channel. This could be a non-profit organization or a student club.

What counts as volunteering?

Doing nice things for others demonstrates good character; however, the following examples do not count as community service:

  • helping a neighbor out by mowing their lawn.
  • volunteering time on a local politician’s campaign.
  • raising money for your cheerleading squad at a bake sale.

Helpful hints for demonstrating community involvement:

  1. Set a goal for the number of volunteer hours you want to complete by the time you graduate.
    • A goal of 200 hours = 50 hours each year during high school.
    • Your goal will depend on your career path or emphasis.
  2. Diversify your service.
    • Find at least three organizations to volunteer with, even if the majority of your community involvement is through only one. This shows that you are committed to the act of volunteering itself, not just a particular organization or group of individuals.
  3. Seek out community service opportunities as soon as you graduate 8th grade.
    • You need to ensure that your hours will be spread out over time. A large number of hours accumulated nearing graduation could look like procrastination and questions your commitment to community involvement.
  4. Keep in mind that some applications will require verification of your community service.
    • Verification letters will be provided by the person responsible for supervising the community service. These letters include the volunteer’s name, the organization for which they volunteered, and the dates and hours worked.
    • Keep a copy of all verification letters in one place.

Bonus Tip: Community involvement supervisors are great people to ask for letters of recommendation.

Quick Tips for Community Involvement:

  • Set a community service goal.
  • Continue brainstorming ways to get involved and diversify your service.
  • Log your community service hours.
  • Keep all verification letters.


What are some ways you are showing your commitment to community involvement? What is your favorite way to volunteer? Tell us in the comments below!