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How Volunteering Abroad Helps Your College Applications and Job Hunt

How Volunteering Abroad Can Help Your College Application

❶If you've made it to the next round in hiring, there are a few other ways your volunteer experience can make you an even more competitive candidate. What can I do?

Leveraging Volunteer Abroad Programs to Enhance Your Overall Community Service Experience

Sample Excellent College Application Essay #6
Getting Started With Your Essay
Sample Excellent College Application Essay #7

If you volunteer in Thailand to work with children, try out a tutoring program for local elementary school students. The possibilities are endless. By relating your service abroad to your service at home, you demonstrate for college admissions officers that the project was part of a larger devotion to the community rather than a one-time event for the sake of improving your prospects for admission. When sharing your story with college admissions officers through essays and interviews, consider how volunteering abroad impacted you personally.

Volunteering abroad arguably has just as great an effect on you as a volunteer as it does on the community that hosts you. The experience can have an enormous impact on your worldview, shaping your priorities and ultimately influencing how you choose to give back to the world. If presented with an appropriate prompt, your admissions essay is an opportunity to discuss these points. Write about how your expectations for the project matched up to the reality and how you adapted if the two were wildly different, or talk about how you made new friends in a foreign country despite a language or cultural barrier.

If your volunteer project influenced your choice of major, definitely bring that up! Discussion of these topics demonstrates your ability to reflect on your learning experiences and apply them to your life choices.

Undergraduate admissions officers aren't the only ones looking for unique candidates. Volunteering abroad can help you create a competitive graduate school application, as well. There are two primary ways that you can use international volunteer experience to enhance your graduate school applications:. If you've decided to take a break between undergrad and graduate school, volunteering overseas for a degree-related project gives you additional work experience in your field, along with a deeper understanding of the subject area.

For example, each year many students participate in Projects Abroad's medical volunteer initiatives to expand their skillsets, gain exposure to global health issues and give back to communities in need. If you haven't participated in an internship or other related work outside of the classroom, this is a chance to "test drive" a potential career choice before pursuing further study.

For example, aspiring teachers can enroll in Plan My Gap Year's teaching English overseas programs to gain exposure to the classroom setting before committing to a teaching career. Native English speakers are in very high demand to teach in developing economies, which means many of these opportunities are paid.

While undergraduate college admissions are primarily based on the content of applications, networking plays a huge role in graduate school admissions. The process is more competitive, the recommendations carry more weight and the statement of purpose you'll be asked to write is more intense than your undergraduate admissions essay.

If you have already selected a career field, seek out degree- or career-related volunteer abroad projects. In particular, look for opportunities to participate in projects spearheaded by research teams and other influential, respected individuals or organizations. For example, if you plan to study archaeology, seek out research expeditions led by professors in your particular field of interest.

You can also participate in opportunities like Projects Abroad's ancient civilizations program in Romania. If you'd like to work in the medical field, try a semester-long volunteer project or internship in an overseas clinic or hospital.

Possibilities include Maximo Nivel medical internships in Peru. Not only will you learn more about the subject you want to study -- you will also make valuable connections with professionals already working in the field.

Volunteering in your community is sure to benefit your career, as it offers networking opportunities, skill building and work experience. LinkedIn includes a section specifically devoted to volunteer work on users' profile pages, and hiring managers report that local community service projects can have just as much influence as paid work when it comes to moving you forward in the selection process. However, volunteering abroad is slightly different, and it needs to be handled separately from local community service as far as your resume is concerned.

Recruiters only spend six seconds looking at resumes , so be sure you can effectively and succinctly outline your volunteer experience as it relates to the job you're looking for. If you're applying for a software engineer position and you taught English overseas for six weeks, it might be easier to discuss how the project supported development of soft skills like collaboration and time management during your interview rather than trying to communicate this point through your resume.

On the other hand, if you repaired laptops at a school in Nicaragua and trained teachers on how to use them in the classroom, you'll have a much easier time relating the project to your potential new job in a few short words. This can be a sticky area, and whether to include a potentially polarizing project on your resume is a judgment call. Some career advisors recommend leaving certain types of volunteer projects off of your resume.

For example, if your volunteer project was political or religious in nature, a recruiter with strong or differing opinions on the subject could find reasons not to invite you for an interview. It should be noted that volunteering abroad, sometimes referred to as voluntourism, has become an increasingly volatile subject. While you may have taken an amazing, ethical volunteer abroad trip that did a lot of good within your host community, the hiring manager may not be as well-versed in the subject as you are.

Often, their only exposure to the concept of volunteer travel is from news outlets that sensationalize stories rather than have a real familiarity with this type of work.

The best way to avoid this potential issue is to bring up the ethical aspects of the program when including your volunteer abroad experience on your resume or discussing it in the job interview. Make it a point to mention the ethical features of the program you selected, including the due diligence you conducted in order to find a volunteer program that has a positive impact on the host community.

If your volunteer travel experience directly impacted your professional development, including it on your resume is a smart decision. For example, if you plan to apply for teaching jobs, there are many ways to gain hands-on experience in this area overseas.

There's no shortage of English teaching programs such as those offered by GVI , as well as opportunities to teach technical subjects like science and computer literacy. There are also amazing volunteer programs abroad such as those offered by Rustic Pathways if you are interested in pursuing fields related to social issues, politics, international affairs, journalism and NGO development.

Through these programs, you will gain new skills and valuable insights while working directly with change makers on the ground. Showing that you are willing to learn about your career path outside of the workplace and continually improve your abilities is well-regarded by hiring managers. They want someone with a passion for the job, in addition to being good at what they do.

Determine where to list your volunteer abroad experience. If your project equated to paid work, then it can easily be listed in the "Professional Experience" section of your resume rather than "Volunteer Experience.

This gives the appearance that it is simply an afterthought rather than the robust, long-term work that actually took place. If you volunteered for a semester in an overseas clinic, taught English for a year through GVI or spent six weeks balancing books for NGOs in another country, you gained professional experience, even if your title was "volunteer.

Be sure to sum up exactly how the volunteer project relates to the job under consideration, and quantify your accomplishments as best as you can. If volunteering outside your home is a real issue right now, be truthful. Colleges will appreciate the honesty and admire your determination to help your family. Communication is vital for college applications, and it is a substantial part of volunteering.

When it comes time to discuss your volunteering on your college applications, it is not enough just to do something; you have to explain why and how you did it. They want a personal elaboration in an interview, an essay, or both. Describe how the experience affected you. What did you think before, after, and during the experience? Some thanked me, and some looked down, ashamed.

Some brought their children, who talked to me as if I was their best friend. Then, it hit me. It was about us. I was helping people, like me, who needed. Just like I did above, write about what you saw and how it changed your perspective. Here are five questions to ask yourself that can help explain your experiences:.

You may not need to answer all of these questions, but they can help you get started. What can I do? How do I talk about volunteering on my college apps? Here are five questions to ask yourself that can help explain your experiences: How did you discover the opportunity, and why did you choose to do it? What did you expect from yourself and the opportunity?

What did you see when you arrived? Read on to learn step-by-step instructions for writing a great community service essay that will help you stand out and be memorable.

A community service essay is an essay that describes the volunteer work you did and the impact it had on you and your community. Community service essays can vary widely depending on specific requirements listed in the application, but, in general, they describe the work you did, why you found the work important, and how it benefited people around you.

Community service essays are typically needed for two reasons: In the following sections, I'll go over each step of how to plan and write your essay. Before your start writing a single word, you should be familiar with the essay prompt. Each college or scholarship will have different requirements for their essay, so make sure you read these carefully and understand them. Below are three real community service essay prompts.

Include details about your role and highlight leadership you provided. Your essay must be a minimum of words but not more than words. In addition, please discuss any community service or extracurricular activities you have been involved in that relate to your goals. Want to write the perfect college application essay? Get professional help from PrepScholar. Your dedicated PrepScholar Admissions counselor will craft your perfect college essay, from the ground up.

We'll learn your background and interests, brainstorm essay topics, and walk you through the essay drafting process, step-by-step. At the end, you'll have a unique essay that you'll proudly submit to your top choice colleges.

Don't leave your college application to chance. Find out more about PrepScholar Admissions now: Even after you understand what the essay should be about, it can still be difficult to begin writing.

Answer the following questions to help brainstorm essay ideas. You may be able to incorporate your answers into your essay. How you structure your essay will depend on the requirements of the scholarship or school you are applying to.

You may give an overview of all the work you did as a volunteer, or highlight a particularly memorable experience. You may focus on your personal growth or how your community benefited. Regardless of the specific structure requested, follow the guidelines below to make sure your community service essay is memorable and clearly shows the impact of your work.

You want the person reading your essay to be interested, so your first sentence should hook them in and entice them to read more. A good way to do this is to start in the middle of the action. Your first sentence could describe you helping build a house, releasing a rescued animal back to the wild, watching a student you tutored read a book on their own, or something else that quickly gets the reader interested.

This will help set your essay apart and make it more memorable. The first sentence is a very general, bland statement. The majority of community service essays probably begin a lot like it, but it gives the reader little information and does nothing to draw them in.

On the other hand, the second sentence begins immediately with action and helps persuade the reader to keep reading so they can learn what happened to the dog. This will help the reader quickly put the rest of the essay in context and understand the basics of your community service work.

Not including basic details about your community service could leave your reader confused. Johnson her favorite book, watching Mr. Scott win at bingo, and seeing the residents play games with their grandchildren at the family day you organized. Try to include specific activities, moments, and people in your essay. Having details like these let the readers really understand what work you did and how it differs from other volunteer experiences.

I helped them improve their math skills and become more confident students. As part of my work, I would create practice problems and quizzes and try to connect math to the students' interests. One of my favorite memories was when Sara, a student I had been working with for several weeks, told me that she enjoyed the math problems I had created about a girl buying and selling horses so much that she asked to help me create math problems for other students.

The first passage only gives basic information about the work done by the volunteer; there is very little detail included, and no evidence is given to support her claims.

How did she help students improve their math skills? How did she know they were becoming more confident? The second passage is much more detailed. It recounts a specific story and explains more fully what kind of work the volunteer did, as well as a specific instance of a student becoming more confident with her math skills. It would be very hard to get a scholarship or place at a school if none of your readers felt like they knew much about you after finishing your essay, so make sure that your essay shows your personality.

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Dec 05,  · College admissions officers warn that simply rattling off the places a candidate has volunteered, without sharing personal anecdotes, can sound insincere. "Get personal," the authors suggested.

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This is one of the most common questions we receive in the college admissions process from students and parents in high school. The answer is that it depends on the college. Facebook Twitter admission essay editing services uk starting high school or a junior getting ready to apply to college, getting involved in extracurriculars and volunteering is always the way to go. Do you need a class to transfer to another college or university? Read more. Colgate University is a private, liberal arts, help writing thesis .

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Essays Interviews Volunteering can help you learn more about yourself and even put you on a path to your future career. When you list your volunteer work on your college applications, you show admission officers the value you’ll bring to . Volunteering/Community Service (both can be used interchangeably) as it relates to the college admissions process is very similar to extracurricular activities; they are not the end-all, be-all of the review process when your application comes up for review, but, as an applicant, they can only help you.