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The importance of volunteering (school)

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My first thread!


Hey SF, I couldn't find much from searching and wanted your opinions on this.

Basically, I've heard from everyone and their mothers that volunteering is essential for post-secondary, and that marks don't matter as much as everyone thinks. In fact, I've even seen one poster on here type on hiring people and mentioning how they would hire a straight B student with volunteer work over a straight A student. (I digress; wouldn't the A student have used the time that the B student volunteered to ... study?)

So my questions are, how important is volunteering (to get to a good school, when looking for a job, etc.)? What is the easiest way to get credits? Experiences, fun facts, any info shared is much appreciated.

Thanks guys.
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by BYucko View Post
My first thread!


Hey SF, I couldn't find much from searching and wanted your opinions on this.

Basically, I've heard from everyone and their mothers that volunteering is essential for post-secondary, and that marks don't matter as much as everyone thinks. In fact, I've even seen one poster on here type on hiring people and mentioning how they would hire a straight B student with volunteer work over a straight A student. (I digress; wouldn't the A student have used the time that the B student volunteered to ... study?)

So my questions are, how important is volunteering (to get to a good school, when looking for a job, etc.)? What is the easiest way to get credits? Experiences, fun facts, any info shared is much appreciated.

Thanks guys.
The real answer, unfortunately, is "it depends". From my experience in hiring junior lawyers and paralegals, I prefer people who have substantive non-academic experience (volunteer, paid job, whatever) that demonstrates some maturity, judgment, and/or ability to function in the real world and get things done. I will sometimes favor such a candidate over someone with slightly better grades, although academic success is also an important part of the mix. In that context, however, I am only impressed by experience that shows some real commitment or responsibility, not obvious window dressing resume-padding bullshit.
post #3 of 11
yup, completely agree with LD there. I'd take real world over paper, but would like a candidate to demonstrate to me how that experience benefits my clients or business.
post #4 of 11
post #5 of 11
Volunteering and similar activities are very important, but in today's tight job market, grades cannot be overlooked. Unfortunately, I think it will be even more difficult in the next upcoming years to get good jobs with B averages + extra-curriculars. There is just too much competition.
post #6 of 11
^i like that article bbaquiran posted; however it has less weight in the academic science world, where grades matter the most. this is, of course, because they spend the rest of their lives doing things that will be eventually printed IN textbooks.
post #7 of 11
If you're going to volunteer for something because you believe in the cause that you are volunteering for then by all means do it and I applaud that. But, I'm a little sickened by people who volunteer because they think it looks good on their resume or will help them get into a better school.
post #8 of 11
It depends on what you want.

In the UK, extra-curricular activity can be the difference between getting in to a university and not. This is not in place of the appropriate grades, but in addition. The more choosy universities want to see commitment and enthusiasm and so an additional string to your bow, such as volunteering to assist in a research project, outreach work, archives etc etc can signify this.

This applies at postgrad as well as undergrad level. They want to know they are considering someone who will actually finish their degree. (there can be rather harsh funding penalties here for universities who have an issue with this)

I am currently involved on a number of extracurricular, but history related projects in addition to getting high grades, as I will be applying for postgrad study at another establishment soon.

Good luck whatever you do, and don't forget to enjoy it, I would not volunteer for anything I disliked, (I assist in a Holocaust research resource room, occasionally help with disabled students (I am one too), have assisted in a PhD project and represent my course on the Staff/Student council) no matter how good it looked on a cv. (although I do have plenty outside my academic area to put on there already)
post #9 of 11
Sorry, double post!
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nonk View Post
occasionally help with disabled students (I am one too)
what is your disability, Nonk?
post #11 of 11
I have a minor physical disability relating to my dominant hand, resulting from an injury I received in the service. (Severed median nerve)

It means I have difficulty writing etc (limited sensation in my hand) and am in discomfort and frequent pain.

I am a user of our university's 'AccessAbility Centre' which is the focal point for our disabled students, which range from dyslexics to blind and partially sighted members and those with all manner of physical disabilities, some very serious indeed.

I also suffer from a slight limp at times due to another injury and minor mental health problems.

It comes with being older and my past!

The AccessAbility Centre does very good work and I am delighted to both receive their help and to occassionally be asked by the boss there to help out too.
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