Volunteer Hours Required For Graduation - How Lenient Can You Be? | Track It Forward

How Lenient Can You Be With Volunteer Hours Required For High School Graduation?

Last updated by Kasey Murphy on 03/22/2023

Volunteer hour requirements for high school graduation are usually a normal requirement in schools. But, throughout the past few years, there has been a question if high school students should actually be required to volunteer? While it introduces students to new opportunities and how they can be involved in their community, it also denotes the whole idea of volunteering out of pure want, not to meet a requirement. 

So, when it comes to volunteer hours required for high school graduation - how lenient should you be? Can you take each student in a case by case situation? And how exactly can you track your high school students’ volunteer hours to graduate high school? 

These are all questions that are subjective to each school and administration in charge of volunteer hours required for high school graduation. But, we will go over the details of each side below! 

If you wish to read more on the debate of if students should even be asked to volunteer a certain amount in order to graduate, read this piece.  

Different Volunteer Hours Required For High School Graduation

Each state in the United States is different in what type of community service or volunteer hours they require high school students to obtain in order to graduate. 

Some states require a high school service requirement, some require credit towards graduation with service-learning programs - either a course or a certain amount of hours qualify as a credit, and other states require certain districts to determine service requirements for high school students. 

22 of the 50 states do not have any sort of requirements by law for volunteer hours required to graduate high school. You can check out the list here to double-check your state’s requirements on the volunteer hours required for high school graduation! 

Volunteer hours required to graduate high school also vary in how they are obtained. Some students volunteer hours to graduate high school might be something they do on their own time and plan, while others might be from a student volunteer program that the school has in place. 

If you are in charge of student volunteer hours for high school graduation requirements, it is important that you have an idea of what kind of hours you will accept for volunteer hours to count towards graduation. 

This can be done easily in a student volunteer program, where all students complete similar tasks created by the school. But, students can also benefit from doing volunteer hours for high school graduation in their own time. The only caveat here is that you must figure out how to track the hours they are volunteering and put it towards their total volunteer hour requirement for graduation. 

Read more: Student Volunteer Program & Community Service Hour Ideas 

If you are going to offer students to volunteer in a program, or on their own time, it is important for them to understand: 

  • why they are being asked to volunteer

  • the requirement they have for their volunteer hours

  • how they can submit their volunteer hours

  • how the volunteer hours will be authenticated 

If the student volunteers do not understand any of the above, they will struggle to fulfill their volunteer hour requirement. 

Students need to know why volunteering is important to schools and why they are being asked to complete a certain amount. The more important volunteering feels to the student, the more they will want to volunteer!
Students need to be told as often as possible the exact number you are aiming for them to volunteer. The number, as well as how long they have to get the volunteer hours, and any other rules that might be applied - like it cannot be paid work, cannot be for a family member, etc. 

Keeping track of student hours is hard, so you need to have a system in place that helps keep data organized, and that allows students to check on their progress for themselves. Using a system where students track their own hours is highly successful. 
Unfortunately, students will try to take an easy way out and fake their volunteer hours, be sure students know how their hours will be checked over in order to prove that they were real volunteer hours. This will help ensure they won't try to falsify any volunteer hours.

Using a system like Track It Forward can help all of these things be accomplished. See how High Schools uses systems like Track It Forward to track student volunteer hours required for graduation, here. 

  1. The student volunteers can sign up for events and volunteer through the software. 

  2. Students can submit hour logs when they do volunteer work. 

  3. Admins can ask for a signature, GPS pin, or photo to prove and authenticate the volunteer hour. 

  4. Students can see their progress in real-time towards their graduation requirements. 

  5. Administrators can see which students are falling behind and motivate them. 

When To Give Students a Break on Their Volunteer Hour Requirements

If students are struggling to get a volunteer hour requirement, it is important to look into why this might be happening. If they were never properly notified of the requirement, how to track their volunteer hours or any other rules - this might be an issue as to why they won’t have as many volunteer hours logged. 

If students are having issues at home, in school, or in general - you should talk to them about their volunteer hour requirements. Sometimes, students cannot see how easy it is to volunteer, or just might be doing more than you know. 

Your school should talk about the circumstances of when you can be lenient with volunteer hours required for high school graduation because there are going to be times when students just cannot deliver. 

But, if you as an administrator are helping provide outlets and opportunities for students to volunteer, students know how to submit their volunteer hours for high school graduation, and administrators are reaching out to those students who fall behind - you should be able to provide a great student volunteer experience! 

So, we can’t answer how lenient you can be with volunteer hours, but we can provide you with information to consider when looking at student volunteer hours for high school graduation. And, we can give you a tool to better organize your student volunteer hours and help encourage students to volunteer for their graduation requirements!