Volunteering in High School: The Benefits + Opportunities

High school volunteering
September 5, 2023
6 min read


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

For many, volunteering in high school is mandatory for graduation. Though some students look at volunteering as a chore, there are countless benefits of volunteering in high school. 

While they look great on college applications, volunteering as a high school student also presents valuable learning opportunities, from practicing your passions to developing vital, life-long skills.

Discover the value of volunteering and the different volunteer opportunities you have as a high school student!

The Benefits of Volunteering as a High Schooler 

Volunteering is not only about getting hours in for graduation. Believe it or not, there are several benefits of volunteering in high school. These benefits provide life-long learning opportunities that can help you with your studies, future career, personal growth, and beyond.


You Can Do What You Love

More often than not, high school students are told to pursue their passions. As you juggle studies, extracurriculars, and other responsibilities, it can be challenging to find downtime to pursue your hobbies and passions. That said, why not do what you love while clocking in volunteer hours?

Volunteer opportunities for high school students don’t stop at the hospital or your local church! 

Nature lovers can dedicate their time to summer volunteering at their local community garden, animal lovers can consider volunteering at a community shelter or dog rescue, or if you’re an artist, volunteering at a gallery, theatre, or as an art teacher might be the experience for you.

There are a plethora of volunteer opportunities that allow you to learn and engage in something you’re passionate about!

It’s a Great Way to Meet New People

It’s always nice to meet new people and make new friends. Volunteering in high school allows students to meet new people from different walks of life, offering them new perspectives on the world. 

Volunteering is also a great way to socialize, which is beneficial for fighting loneliness, improving cognitive skills, and enhancing one’s well-being.

Giving Back to the Community

According to a recent study, engaging in prosocial behaviors are beneficial to one’s happiness and health. Getting good grades feels good, but being a part of positive change and giving back to your community feels incredible!

You Can Develop Career Skills

One benefit of volunteering in high school involves career-developing opportunities. So-called “soft skills” like leadership, teamwork, and communication. However, the learning doesn’t stop there!

Volunteering in high school can also expose students to a variety of technical skills like report writing, marketing, data entry, or inventory. In fact, many of the skills that students pick up while volunteering in high school are transferable to their studies and careers.

Volunteer Opportunities for High School Students

There are plenty of good deeds to go around in your community. That means there are boundless volunteer opportunities for students! While this list does not cover every single volunteer experience you can have, it will give you an idea of the kinds of volunteer opportunities available for high school students.

food sorter

Food Sorter

Many local food banks are in need of food sorters, volunteers who organize food donations based on best-before dates and the food type. Food sorters can also pack goods into food boxes and assist the food bank team with other duties. 

This role may require lifting, standing, and interacting with other food bank volunteers, making it a great role for those who want to be more proactive in their volunteer work.

Creative Writer

Help charities get their mission out to the world using your writing talents while developing your skills in communication. Plus, a huge benefit of this opportunity is that, depending on the company, it can be completed remotely, making it a flexible volunteer role.

Long-Term Care Volunteer

There are volunteer opportunities for high school students in long-term care facilities, from retirement homes to hospitals. Depending on the program, high school volunteers can engage in activities like working at the center’s general store, helping seniors during mealtimes, or interacting with the residents during recreational time.

This volunteer opportunity is ideal for students who love interacting with people. However, volunteering at a long-term care facility can also help make a difference in residents’ social lives.

old folks home volunteer

Event Planner

Typically, volunteer event planners will work as a team–in a committee–to fundraise for charities. For example, event planners may work together to host a walk to raise awareness for a disease, engaging in roles related to sponsorship, marketing, and recruitment. 

Event planning is a volunteer opportunity that involves a lot of multi-tasking while giving you the opportunity to learn new skills, from managing social media content to interacting with customers.

Social Media Coordinator

High schoolers who are extra savvy on social media can try their hand as a volunteer social media coordinator for a charity or non-profit organization. Working with a team, the volunteer can create promotional content for the organization’s social media accounts, from advertising fundraisers to other fun initiatives. 

This volunteer opportunity for high school students is a creative way to form skills in multitasking, marketing, design, and teamwork. 

Program Instructor

Consider completing your volunteer hours at your local community center, assisting with or teaching a class that speaks to your interests. 

Teach kids how to paint, lead a dance class, or provide introductory computer lessons to senior citizens. As a program instructor, you’ll help members of the community learn new things while developing and nurturing skills of your own!

Museum Volunteer

Lovers of all things history and art ought to volunteer at their local museum. Museum volunteers can engage in many tasks, from facilitating children’s activities to supervising kids through the exhibits. 

Though many museums offer opportunities year-round, they also seek volunteers around the school break or during the holidays. Such a role is an ideal volunteering opportunity for enthusiastic high school students who love working with kids, enjoy activity planning, and are passionate about art and history.



If you are the kind of person that loves helping others achieve academic success, consider volunteering as a tutor. 

Besides tutoring a particular subject, volunteer tutors may also help students with various learning disabilities or needs. With that said, being a volunteer tutor is a rewarding experience that can develop a student’s communication skills, patience, and compassion for others.

STEM Outreach Volunteers

Across the country, there are universities and non-profit organizations dedicated to exposing young kids to science, specifically through outreach programs. 

As a STEM outreach volunteer, high school students can work with a team to facilitate in-class activities and teach STEM summer programs to young learners. Plus, an added perk of being an outreach volunteer includes networking with like-minded people passionate about STEM.

Community Gardener

Tend to a beautiful community garden by pruning weeds, watering plants, or planting garden beds for everyone to enjoy. While being a community gardener is hard work, this particular volunteer role is a great way for high school students to learn nifty horticultural practices while honing their skills for teamwork.


FAQs: Volunteering in High School

Here are our answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about volunteering in high school.

1. Why is it Important to Volunteer in High School?

Graduation is just one of the benefits of volunteering in high school! In fact, there are countless benefits to volunteering in high school, such as gaining skills, meeting new people, and helping your local community, among others. 

Volunteering is like watering many plants with one hose–there is a lot of benefit and skills to gain from volunteer work.

2. Does Volunteering Improve Grades?

While there is no clear-cut answer to whether or not volunteering improves grades, there are studies that suggest a positive relationship between volunteering and academic performance. Particularly, one study found a positive relationship between a student’s grade point average (GPA) with their volunteer involvement through medical school. 

Meanwhile, one study argued that service learning had no impact on a student’s grades. However, it did improve their understanding of course concepts, interpersonal skills, and a better understanding of civic responsibility.

3. Can Volunteering in High School Help You Get Into College?

Volunteering in high school will definitely help you stand out in college applications.

A recent survey from Forbes found that 58% of college admission personnel agreed that community service experience positively impacts a student’s application, which gives colleges an impression that the applicant has an active social life and is capable of contributing to the school’s mission.

However, an impressive volunteer history is not the only requirement that colleges look for in prospective students. Additionally, colleges look at an applicant’s grades alongside other traits like special talents, awards, personal achievements, and extracurricular activities.

4. What Volunteer Opportunities Look Best for College?

Volunteer opportunities for high school students that include community service look great on a college admission as it shows a student’s selflessness and willingness to give back to their community. 

With this said, spending volunteer hours towards causes that you are most passionate about will add the most to your college application.

Final Thoughts

Volunteering in high school is a graduation requirement for many secondary schools. While it may seem like a chore to some, there are many benefits of volunteering during your high school years. 

Volunteer experience can boost your college application and resume. They can also provide stellar learning experiences for high school students, especially those transitioning from the classroom into the real world. 

Finally, donating your time to a worthy cause and giving back to your community provides you with experiences and perspectives that will benefit you throughout your life.

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