What does it take to make your college application stand out from all the others? As a high school student, it’s your job to get prepared for your college education now. This means doing all you can to build up your resume, so that it’s impressive to admissions officers. Volunteering in your community is one way to earn brownie points as a college applicant. But according to stats, few students are actually taking advantage of community service. The amount of college students volunteering was at 31 percent in 2004, then dropped down to 26.1 percent in 2010. Don’t follow this downward trend – here are some community service benefits you should be aware of.

Increase Your Real-World Experience

Partaking in community service gives high school students an opportunity to practice the things they’ve learned in the classroom. Applying your knowledge and skills to real-life situations can be a great learning experience. This is something colleges like Cornell University are looking for all the time. You can find local activities to get involved in that relate to your courses. For instance, you can be an assistant coach for a junior softball team at your place of worship or volunteer at the local nursing home.

Build Your Problem-Solving Skills

There are a number of challenges some students face while participating in community service. These problems will need solutions, which you can help think up. Learning to resolve problems is crucial to admissions officers, who are always on the prowl for tomorrow’s leaders. If you can prove you are a great problem solver, then your chances of getting into a college are increased. Make sure to include specifics in your essay about the times you faced challenges while volunteering.

Employers like Volunteers

Getting involved in community service will benefit you for many years to come. Not only are colleges interested in volunteers, but employers are as well. Companies are looking for applicants who will be valuable employees for their organizations. Being a volunteer shows employers that you are able to solve problems, work as a team and follow instructions. It also shows a good sense of character.

The Networking Opportunities Are Boundless

You can end up meeting all sorts of people who can one day help you in your professional life. You are meeting new people and building relationships that can one day prove meaningful. You never know who will vouch for you in the future when you’re trying to land a job.

Build Skills outside the Classroom

Getting good grades is great, but what really attracts the interest of colleges like AU Online is your level of participation outside of the classroom. Being a volunteer allows you to learn new skills that can’t be taught inside of a textbook or classroom. This form of enrichment is priceless. Plus, it allows you to get some hands on experience in a field you might be interested in. You may find out that its right up your alley or something you no longer wish to pursue. This is good to know before you go to college!