Volunteering helps earn acceptance

By Brenda Diaz

Acceptance to a four-year university is harder now than it has ever been.

One very important factor of acceptance to a university is getting involved in extracurricular activities.

Extracurricular activities are important to admissions officers because they give students an opportunity to showcase their personalities, uniqueness and how they spend their time off campus.

Volunteering is one of the easiest ways of improving your chances of being accepted to a university and a great extra curricular activity.

It  lets students express their passion, creativity and commitment all while helping others.

Being involved with only one organization for a long period is better than being involved in five or six for a short period.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of college students that volunteered in the U.S dropped by three percent from 2009 to 2013, this decrease is significant considering that more students are now applying to a larger number of schools.

Not everyone knows of organizations or corporations that are willing to accommodate schedules and creative preferences.

Luckily, a website called VolunteerMatch was created to facilitate this task.

VolunteerMatch is a website that helps connects students to nonprofit organizations and has made it possible for students to access specific volunteer opportunities in a variety of fields.

Engagement Director of Volunteer Match Shari Ilsen said their mission is to strengthen communities by making it easy for good people and good causes to connect.

“Volunteering is a great way for students to give back, have fun and learn new skills. It is also a great way to get work experience and make connections in the fields and areas in which you might be interested in working eventually,” Ilsen said.

By creating a profile on VolunteerMatch, students can interact with organizations that provide volunteer opportunities for causes such as health care, community services, animal care, environmental welfare and many more.

Most of the fields that are looking for volunteers do not have any academic requirements so it is ideal for students that are in their first year of college and for those near graduation.

Organizations may also look for students with specific skills such as writing, graphic artistry and even knitting.

“Our website is free for volunteers and nonprofit organizations to use.We currently work with close to 100,000 nonprofits, and millions of volunteers and many nonprofits are happy to train and orient volunteers to what needs to be done,” Ilsen said.

With competition for school admittance at its peak, students should be motivated to volunteer.

Using a website like VolunteerMatch could facilitate that interaction and make everything a bit easier amidst the stressors of college education.

“Students who are interested in finding ways to give back in their own communities in L.A. and beyond can go to our website, register and fill out their profiles. When they indicate the causes they care about and the skills they have to contribute, VolunteerMatch will provide personalized, localized recommendations just for them,” Ilsen said.

For more information on volunteering visit VolunteerMatch.org or email silsen@volunteermatch.org.

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