Forté Foundation
Career Lab Virtual Campus

Why Every College Student Should Volunteer

By Megha Karthikeyan

March 20, 2018

Doing community service is important, and here are my top three reasons why all college students should volunteer:

Give back to your community.

There are so many organizations that are centered around college towns that need extra help, so providing your time will go a long way. Joining volunteering based clubs is a great idea because you can pick the organization based on what need it addresses. There are so many opportunities to volunteer like tutoring young children, serving meals at soup kitchens, spending time with the elderly at nursing homes, and working at a hospital. At the University of Virginia, I volunteer for CASH, a tax preparation organization that does tax returns for free for low income individuals. Since I am interested in finance and business, this was the perfect volunteering opportunity for me because it not only combined my interests, but it helped me make a significant economic impact on the community. Getting to know the local community where your school is located through volunteering will help you understand what the culture is like outside of your college bubble and give you a chance to interact with people you would otherwise not have a chance to meet. 

Build teamwork and communication skills.

Many jobs look for teamwork and communication skills and it can be difficult to get those skills from your classes, so volunteering with a group can help with that. Putting on volunteer projects and working on an assignment can involve working with many different groups of people from the executive team, to school administrators, to other members of the club. Being able to communicate the needs of the project to all the people involved and then working together with them to implement the project can help you gain both communication and teamwork skills. Sometimes problems can come up while volunteering, so brainstorming solutions with other members of the team and helping each other out during those situations can build up teamwork skills. Additionally, interacting with different members of the community through volunteer work can open your eyes up to more perspectives and build your communication skills. 

Good resume builder.

Doing community service is a good way to build your resume because it can show your interests outside of your coursework and internships. There are also opportunities to have leadership positions in volunteer based clubs, which can be something you showcase on your resume. In behavioral interviews, interviewers can ask about activities on your resume and being able to explain how you made an impact on your community through volunteering is a great way to keep up conversation with them. In my Goldman Sachs interview this past October, I talked about my experience as a volunteer tax preparer and what impact I made in the local Charlottesville community. Many companies now focus on corporate social responsibility, so showing the company that you also believe in doing good for the community will help them see you as a potential employee. 

Megha Karthikeyan is from Vienna, Virginia and attends the University of Virginia. She intends to double major in Economics and Commerce at the McIntire School of Commerce with finance and information technology concentrations. Megha will graduate from UVA in 2020. She hopes to work in the finance industry as a finance or risk analyst, but is also looking at working in investment banking.

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