Campuses That Are Making Community Service a Priority
Colleges aren't just about studying, exams, tuition and the chance to live away from home. Community service is becoming a bigger part of college life at some schools. Funding through organizations like the Corporation for National & Community Service helps to drive community service and college volunteer efforts. So too do social service majors, a student's search for the "right" career path and the opportunity for a student to distinguish herself from other advanced academic program applicants. Benefits of community volunteerism range from early work experience, eligibility for certain scholarships and grants, academic credit and life skills.
15 Colleges With Strong Community Service Programs
Rhodes College is a leading community service school. The Memphis, Tennessee based college has ties to about 100 service programs in Memphis. Bonners Scholars , summer service fellowships and student community service groups like Habitat for Humanity, Special Olympics Lynx Club and Voices for Planned Parenthood offer one-time and ongoing volunteer opportunities. The summer service fellowship last for nine-weeks. Academic credit is awarded for participation in the fellowship.
Syracuse University offers service learning, volunteer opportunities and community based service activities. These community service efforts are administered through the school's Mary Ann Shaw Center for Public & Community Service . Classroom learning, coaching, mentoring and tutoring sessions are among the leadership opportunities available through the center. More than 100 community organizations across healthcare, civic engagement and nutrition partner with the school
Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Marquette University offers a service oriented program that links classroom learning with community based learning. Through the program that launched in 1994, students fulfill one of the school's four pillars. The Center for Community Service provides oversight for events, programs and community service resources at the school. Key community service programs at Marquette include SERVE, Marquette Volunteer Corps, Making A Living, Making A Difference and Service Retreat.
Westminster College is a private school located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Known as a military friendly school, Westminster College made the 2016 Presidential Honor Roll for its community service. The recognition came from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Volunteer opportunities, community based learning and student organizations that support residents in need and nonprofit organizations are overseen by the school's Katherine W. Dumke Center for Civic Engagement . More than 63% of the school's students get involved in community service. Wellness screenings, Merritt Take Action and volunteer opportunities with local nonprofits are examples of community service events organized through the center.
St. John's University
St. John's University offers academic service learning. This learning takes place in a classroom setting. Domestic and international volunteer opportunities are available at the school. International volunteer opportunities are managed through the Conversation Partners Program . Aim of the program is to help students whose native language is not English improve their English communication skills. There are more than a dozen service efforts spearheaded by the school, including LEADing Through Service, Plunge Program, Ronald McDonald House and Sponsor a Family.
Morehouse College is a historically black college and university that was founded in 1867. The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Maynard Jackson and Julian Bond are among the renowned service leaders who attended Morehouse. Bonner Office of Community Service has oversight for community engagement at Morehouse College. Service based learning, the school's leadership center and the Community Development Revitalization Task Force are internal service partners. External service partners include Atlanta based homeless shelters, food banks, hospitals, mentoring programs and AIDS awareness programs.
College of the Holy Cross
College of the Holy Cross has a mission to serve Catholic and larger communities. Faith based and community service programs include the Student Coalition on Homeless and Housing and Work for Worcester Youths. The school has committed to invest seven percent of its federal work study funding in community based student work study employment. Through its community outreach programs , students volunteer with area nonprofits. Students also sit on boards of community service organizations and participate on the Holy Cross Community Engagement Committee .
Scientist George Washington Carver is among the early students who attended Simpson College. The school's civic engagement services are offered at the Kent Campus Center. Area volunteer and community service activities come through programs and initiatives like Religious Life Community , the Iowa College AmeriCorps Program and the Culver Center.
Widener University is located less than 15 miles from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The school's civic engagement and leadership programs are nationally recognized. In addition to its public administration and social work academic programs, Widener teaches students to apply classroom learning to real life community service opportunities. Habitat for Humanity, Engineers Without Borders and Big Brothers / Big Sisters are key community based programs that the school partners with through its Civic Engagement unit. Shoes for Schools, Stetser After School Tutoring and the Academic Service-Learning Faculty Development Program are one-time volunteer opportunities that students get involved in.
Bryn Mawr College
Bryn Mawr College hosts a community day of study, during which present, past and future learning are addressed. The women's liberal arts college has several volunteer resources and opportunities. Club and class volunteers, fundraising and affinity group volunteers are different pathways to service at Bryn Mawr College. Students who volunteer independently of school efforts may receive reimbursement for up to 50% of their travel expenses. Community service programs sponsored through the college's Civic Engagement division include America Reads / America Counts, Bryn Mawr Buddies, Saturdays of Service and Summer Service Opportunities.
Hillsdale College is a private school located in Hillsdale, Michigan. As many as 20 volunteer opportunities exist for students. In addition to strengthening the community, these volunteer opportunities are used to develop student leadership skills. Among these opportunities are A Few Good Men, Buddy Reading, Music in the Community and Hillsdale Youth Mentoring. Alumni and area business and civic leaders offer their community service through the college's Associate's Program . Associates volunteer through leadership seminars, off-campus programs and college fundraising opportunities.
Tulane University is known for its culture of community engagement. The school's Center for Public Service is one of the first places that students who are interested in getting involved in community service visit. The center launched in 2006. Internships, the Melon Graduate Program and international community engagement programs are managed through the center. Students may help build homes, restore community facilities and prepare to serve in the Peace Corps.
Wake Forest University
Wake Forest University campus groups like sororities and fraternities are one way that Wake Forest students give back to the community. The school also has a Volunteer Service Corps . The student led organization connects student volunteers with area nonprofit organizations. During the organization's Pro-Humanitate Day, students across campus participate in community-based events. Advocacy for the Poor, AIDS Care Services and the American Heart Association are external partners that the Volunteer Service Corps works with.
Sacred Heart University
Fairfield, Connecticut's Sacred Heart University aims to make a difference in local and regional communities through its volunteer efforts. Classroom studies within the school's Volunteer Programs & Service Learning department focuses on social responsibility. Mentoring, urban food programs, senior citizens support and opportunities to engage with community partners are ways that students provide community service. The Service Learning Council offers oversight for volunteer and community based services at the school.
Saint Anselm College
Saint Anselm College is a Catholic college in New Hampshire. Service learning is at the heart of the college's community based work. Events, volunteer opportunities, mission trips and service learning are facilitated through the Meelia Center for Community Engagement . As one of the country's top community service schools, Saint Anselm College partners with more than 50 nonprofit and community oriented organizations. Well over 850 students, faculty and administrators provide more than 18,000 hours of community service. Dozens of volunteer opportunities in the community like Benchmark, Kids Cafe and Liberty House are available through the school.
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10 Top College Social Service Programs
Social service majors work with infants, youth and aging adults. These people may be dealing with mental health issues, poverty, illiteracy, abuse, physical disabilities or chronic health conditions. For social service majors, it can be rewarding to improve the community by doing the work that helps the head of a family learn to read, strengthen an abused child's self-esteem or teach a family how to get out of poverty. Non-profit, public and private organizations may require social service workers to possess undergraduate or graduate degrees. These 10 college social service programs are known for linking academics and community service.
University of California-Berkeley
University of Georgia
University of Michigan-Dearborn
University of Chicago
College of William & Mary
7 Ways To Get The Most From Colleges That Value Community Service
According to college admissions advisors, students can never have too much volunteer work. The important factor is the area that students volunteer in. For example, a senior college student who volunteers 500 hours a year tutoring freshmen engineering majors could signal to graduate college admissions counselors that the senior has deep interest in engineering. A combination of high entrance exam scores, good essays and proven interest in a major could help a student get admitted into widely respected academic programs.
That's just one way to get the most from colleges that value community service. Here are six other ways for students to make attending colleges that value community service support them while they are in school and after they graduate.
- Add community service work to resumes. Community service may be the only work experience that new college students have. This would could serve as the beginnings of a professional resume.
- Network with public service leaders who work at volunteer or community organizations. These may be hospital administrators, mayors, heads of family service agencies and military leaders.
- Tie community service efforts with personal passions. It might even be possible to complete internships through community service programs.
- Seek programs that offer academic credit for community service. Students could check with academic advisors to get a list of credits that colleges that value community service offer for community-based work.
- Participate in community service programs that put students in direct contact with hiring managers. Major corporations offer grants to service oriented organizations. Some of the grant funds are used to host gala fundraisers like elegant dinners and golf outings. Getting a seat at these events could put students in touch with senior leaders at major corporations.
- Apply for scholarships and grants that require students to complete community service. Students may need to volunteer in specific fields to qualify for the funding.
Scholarship and Grants at Colleges With Strong Community Service Programs
Following are scholarships and grants that are designed for students eager to combine community service and college. As with traditional scholarships and grants, essays may be required to complete these scholarship and grant applications.
Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship
Approximately $1,000 awarded to students who work to improve their communities. (Note: Unavailable for the 2020-2021 academic year.)
Horatio Alger Association Scholarship
Awards scholarships in the amount of $25,000 to students who are active in the community.
Ronald McDonald House Charities Scholarship
Eligible to students with academic and community service strength.
Focuses on students who are determined to create positive change in the world.
Tylenol Future Care Scholarship
Awarded to students who demonstrate strong leadership, community service and academic excellence.
Up to $50,000 is awarded through the program. A strong GPA, community service and extracurricular experience are needed.