How Volunteer Hours on High School Resumes Help College Applications | Track It Forward

How Volunteer Hours on High School Resumes Help College Applications

Last updated by Kasey Murphy on 07/28/2021

For many high school students, their last year of high school is pretty stressful. Those who decide they want to go to college have to complete college applications which entail making resumes and writing application essays. 

Not to mention, some high school students have to complete volunteer hours required for graduation. Many high school students might be thinking about how gaining volunteer hours are really relevant. Beyond the reasons for volunteering being beneficial for personal growth, volunteer hours are a great addition to college applications or high school student resumes. 

Volunteering should be completed for non-selfish reasons, but many high school students would love to know more about how their volunteer hours can be placed on their resume or college application to help their chances, or represent themselves better. 

If you are looking for high school resume templates with volunteer hours on them, or just want to see how volunteer work on resumes looks - download our examples here

Volunteer Work On Resume Vs. Volunteer Hours on Resume 

When it comes to expressing a student’s volunteer experience on a college application, if there is no specific prompt that asks about volunteer work, it might seem like too big of a stretch to include it in personal statements. This is why it is important to include volunteer experience in high school graduate resumes. 

Now, the question comes - should students put specifically where they volunteer, and what type of volunteer work they are interested in. Or, should students state the number of hours they have contributed to volunteer work. 

Let’s discuss the pros and cons of placing volunteer work descriptions and volunteer hours. 

So, depending on how many volunteer hours students have, it might be okay just putting their volunteer hour total. 

Our recommendation is to put a little bit of both if a resume allows it when constricted with space. The best thing to do is to showcase that a student is organized and can easily see their impact on an organization. This can be done by showcasing volunteer hours on resumes, along with one brief statement about what they did, or the organization they worked for. 

If students are only putting the volunteer work that they did, it can easily be looked over if colleges are looking quickly at the resumes. The same point can be made if they write a paragraph about volunteer work in high school and how it will contribute to college, and just subtly mention the volunteer hour totals. 

If you or a student you know are looking for specific examples of this, we have them in our examples download! 

When To Put Volunteer Work in College Applications

Specific college applications are different for every school. Some college applications might ask high school students specific questions, some might ask for an essay responding to a topic, and others might only ask for a resume and a personal statement. 

Almost all of the college applications will ask for a resume, and this is why it is important to put volunteer work and hours on high school resumes! 

If a college application specifically asks about helping the community or volunteering - this is easy, this is when students should go into detail about the volunteer work that they did, different skills they had to use or that improved with volunteering, and the number of hours they put into each volunteer aspect. 

If a college application asks what students might do in their free time, they can talk about volunteering here! Subtly mention their volunteer hour amount to showcase just how much of their free time was spent helping others and volunteering. This is a great way to show personality and the things that the student likes to do or cares about. 

If a college application asks about personal interests or how students feel their community can use their help, students can also mention volunteering here. But, it is important to answer the question fully and have volunteered as a supporting statement. 

Be sure that students do not force their volunteer work on college applications, volunteer work is something that should be supporting their application, not something that they are bragging about or using to make colleges and universities think they are a good person. 

The great thing about volunteering is that it is done to help others and it helps showcase students and individuals care about the community and others. But, it can be offputting if they try to apply their volunteer work to a college application when it is not asked for or relevant. 

Why Volunteer Hours on College Application Are Important 

Due to wanting to remain authentic. This is why volunteer hours and statistics are important in a college application. A volunteer hour total can be easily mentioned in one sentence to support another statement, and it does not have to be a big deal or seem like students are inauthentic. 

Volunteer hour totals are extremely easy to slip into any statement as proof or backup to a statement like: “I care deeply about the community I live in. I have devoted 56 hours to the Junior League Chapter in my town volunteering in different projects.” This is a great statement for students to include in an essay or a personal statement. 

If students are able to total up their volunteer hours or showcase how many hours they have done in certain roles or tasks. This showcases their level of commitment and organization, along with their good moral character with volunteering. 

How To Easily Total Up Student Volunteer Hours For Resumes & College Applications 

If students are a part of service clubs, sports teams, or are required to volunteer for high school graduation, they have a lot of volunteer hours that they are doing for many different reasons! 

It can be quite overwhelming for students to try to track their own hours, without any tools. The best way to track high school students’ volunteer hours is to provide them with a volunteer time tracking tool. 

A tool like Track It Forward can help students track their volunteer hours and allocate which volunteer hours are going towards which school-related goal. They can also note what type of activity each volunteer opportunity is, and what exactly they did while volunteering. 

Then, for college applications, volunteer hours can be totaled up for different categories and organizations, as well as in total. With a tool like Track It Forward, students can quickly see how many hours they have completed and input them into their college application or resume. And, if they want to iterate on what exactly they did while volunteering and how it was impactful, they can showcase this and pull this data from their Track It Forward Dashboard.