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How to Create Successful Community Service Projects (For Students)

By Mary Ann Barge
Have you considered doing some community service work during high school but can't find anything that fits your interests?

Do you want to have more ownership over what kind of service work you do? If so, then making your own community service project may be the right idea for you.

Read on for a step-by-step guide that will tell you everything you need to know to complete a successful community service project.

Why Should You Do Community Service?

Community service work can be a great way to spend some free time in high school, but did you also know that it can also be a big help when you apply to colleges?

Colleges like seeing community service work as an extracurricular activity because it shows that you are actively involved in something that will better yourself and the world. By doing community service, you show that you have a real interest in making a positive change in your community.

Community service shows admissions officers that you have a number of the 'intangible' qualities that they're looking for in students. For example, through service work, you can show your ability to balance a lot of different activities at once while also maintaining your course load. This shows that you can stay organized and take initiative.

Finally, community service can help with some of the more concrete aspects of your college applications as well. The work you do can be great subject material for an application essay, can lead to good letters of recommendation, and — perhaps most importantly — can lead to scholarships!

If you're ready to start doing some community service work, you may want to consider starting your own community service project.

Usually, students will choose to volunteer their time for a pre-established organization. However, creating your own community service project gives you the opportunity to have greater control over what you want to work on and what you want to achieve.

Community service projects are different from traditional community service work because they are usually focused around one event or one goal and have distinct end points. For example, you may decide to host a race to raise money and awareness for a certain disease, or you could plan a blood drive to help out after a disaster. These kinds of projects require a lot of planning and careful execution, so they're best attempted by students who have confidence in their ability to follow through in those areas.

Though planning community service projects can be considerably more difficult than traditional community service work, it can also pay off in big ways, especially when considering your college applications:

It shows leadership skills. This is a big thing that colleges want to see in your extracurricular activities. According to a DoSomething.org survey, over 50% of admissions officers agree that being a leader in a project or running your own project is the best way to learn from community service experience. Why do admissions officers love leadership? Remember, they are on the lookout for the leaders of tomorrow. Show them now that you have the gumption to be one!
It shows the ability to plan and organize. While leadership can refer to an intangible ability to inspire others, the planning and organization skills it takes to pull off a successful community service project are noteworthy in their own right. To run a large-scale event, you will need to coordinate many people, accurately predict expenses, and create a timeline. All of these are important skills that will help you in college and the future.

It shows your ability to work with others. Most community service projects will be undertaken with a group. By organizing one, you are showing that you have great people skills. You can recognize different people’s talents and understand how to use them to maximum effect.
You will show initiative and innovativeness. You saw a problem and decided that you were going to be the one to fix it. Moreover, nobody else told you how you were going to go about doing that. This shows great critical thinking and problem-solving skills that colleges love to see.
Now that you know some of the reasons for making the effort to do a community service project let's go through the steps of successfully planning a project.

Culled from http://blog.prepscholar.com/community-service-projects
Click link for 10 Steps for Starting a Successful Community Service Project.
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