Service Hours: How To Get The Most Experience As A Student

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    The ambiguous nature of service hours can make them confusing for students. This article explains everything a high-schooler needs to understand about accumulating hours.  

    How Many Do I Need?

    • Some high schools require a certain number of service hours to graduate. These can be accrued throughout middle and high school, in-class and out-of-class. 
    • Even if your school doesn’t require it, they’re important to obtain. It’s a chance to help your community and exercise leadership skills. Also, their total absence will be conspicuous on college applications 
    • According to this article, anywhere from 50-200 hours is impressive to colleges. 

    Quality, not Quantity

    • It’s more impressive to log an hour of service for an organization every week since freshman year than 100 hours in the summer before senior year.  
    • This consistency shows that you care about whom or what you’re serving.  
    • Thus, it’s prudent to be in it for the long haul when you begin serving an organization. 
    • On an application, service hours help college admissions officials understand you and your passions. Thus, they’re not the end-all, be-all of elements on a college application.  

    Finding Opportunities

    • Consider causes you care about. This will help narrow your research.  
    • Staying involved in clubs makes discovering opportunities more seamless. For example, service clubs, theater, and Allied Sports offer countless volunteer hours.   
      • Also, it’s important to examine your school or school district’s definition of valid service hours. 
    • A nearly universal strategy, if you’re at the end of your rope: research soup kitchens in your city. 
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    Sean Fowler


    Aerospace Engineering at UMD, intending to specialize in aeronautics with a focus on aerospace structures and design.


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