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Volunteering, Internships and Jobs: How Colleges View Them

Volunteering, Internships, and Jobs How Colleges View Them

Every summer, high school students choose between internships, jobs and volunteer opportunities. All of these can be rewarding, but many students wonder what colleges and universities will think of their choices.

When deciding between an internship, job or volunteer work, it's important to think about how your choice highlights your interests and furthers your goals. You also need to take time and finances into account. Take a look at the list of advantages and disadvantages below before you decide how you want to spend your summer.

Advantages of Volunteer Work

Not only does volunteer work help people who need it, but it also shows that you're engaged with your community. Admissions officers appreciate your dedication to others.

Volunteering also can expose you to adversity in ways you wouldn't normally experience, which can broaden your perspective.

Disadvantages of Volunteer Work

Volunteering is increasingly common among high school students. Many high school organizations also require students to volunteer for a minimum number of hours. Admissions officers can tell when you only volunteered because you had to.

Additionally, volunteering abroad can be a profound personal experience, but extravagant mission trips risk coming across as privileged. Finally, remember volunteering for a week every summer is no substitute for a full-time job or internship. 

Advantages of Internships and Summer Jobs

Internships and summer jobs can be difficult to obtain, but they're a great indication of interests and future aspirations. A summer job or internship shows maturity, responsibility and financial planning.

Both look impressive on an application and your work experience will make it easier to apply for jobs and pursue professional opportunities in your undergraduate career and beyond. 

Disadvantages of Internships and Summer Jobs

Internships and jobs aren’t always the most fun or fulfilling way to spend your time. If your job or internship has nothing to do with what you want to study or do professionally, it can be a question mark on your application. Internships might be harder to secure and most are unpaid.

Of course, there's no reason you can't both work and volunteer, if you can find the time. Ultimately, figure out which opportunity shows engagement, maturity and open-mindedness.

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