Scholarships for Community Service

Posted - September 2, 2023

Scholarships for Community Service

Giving back to your community not only feels good, but did you know it can also lead to valuable scholarships for your child's college journey? Scholarships for community service provide a fantastic opportunity for high school students to earn money towards their education while making a positive impact in their neighborhoods.

By doing community service, high school students can tap into a whole range of scholarship options that reward their efforts. Scholarships for community service often recognize students who have dedicated their time and energy to making their communities better.

So, whether your child has been serving their community for years or they need a reason to get started, this blog will lay out the benefits and list some examples of community service scholarships available.

The Benefits of Community Service

There are many benefits to community service; here are seven.

1. Scholarships for College

Scholarships are a powerful reason for high school students to get involved in community service. Many organizations and colleges offer scholarships for community service to recognize students for their commitment to serving their communities. These community service scholarships are also meant to encourage students to give back and can significantly reduce the financial burden of college tuition.

>>RELATED: Micro-scholarships: How to Find & Win Them

2. Building a Strong College Application

Colleges look for well-rounded applicants who demonstrate more than just academic prowess. Engaging in community service showcase your child's dedication, responsibility, and commitment to making a positive impact in their community.

Most students in high school are required to volunteer; however, certain types of volunteering activities can make your student stand out. For example, students can show their commitment to a particular cause or organization over several years, initiate a high-impact service project and serve in leadership roles.

3. Developing Leadership Skills

Doing community service often means being a leader. Your child can learn important leadership skills by doing things like planning a food drive, leading a cleaning team, or being a mentor to younger students. These skills, like working well with others, figuring out solutions to problems, and being a good communicator, not only help with community service, but also get them ready for leadership roles in college and even later in life.

4. Building Empathy and Compassion

Engaging in community service exposes high school students to different perspectives and challenges faced by others. This firsthand experience fosters empathy and compassion, helping your child become a more understanding and caring individual. These qualities are not only essential for personal growth but also highly valued by colleges.

5. Exploring Career Interests

Community service allows high school students to explore potential career interests. By volunteering in fields related to their intended majors or future professions, they gain valuable insights into their chosen paths or discover ones they never thought about. This hands-on experience can help them make more informed decisions when selecting a college major and career path.

6. Personal Growth and Fulfillment

In the end, doing community service makes you feel good about yourself and helps you grow as a person. Your child will feel proud of themselves for making a positive impact on their community. This feeling of doing something important and achieving something great can make them feel more confident and happy overall, which will make them better prepared for college.

According to a research cited in TIME magazine, kids who are 12 years old or older and volunteer are about 25% less likely to feel anxious compared to kids who don't volunteer.

7. Stronger Scholarship Essay

Having strong leadership skills while doing volunteer work can help your child write an impressive scholarship essay. Scholarship committees and college admissions officers are interested in learning about experiences that have influenced your child's personality.

High-Impact Ways to Volunteer

Volunteering in impactful roles can help high school students stand out on scholarships and college applications. Here are seven ideas:

1. Start a Social Impact Project

Launch your own community service project or initiative. Identify a local issue you're passionate about and create a plan to address it. Whether it's organizing a neighborhood cleanup, starting a youth-led literacy campaign, or starting a local charity, taking the initiative to lead a project demonstrates leadership and commitment.

2. Environmental Stewardship

Join or start environmental projects in your community. Activities like tree planting, community gardening, or organizing eco-friendly events showcase your dedication to sustainability and the environment. These experiences highlight your leadership and passion for making a positive impact on the planet.

3. Youth Advocacy Groups

Get involved in youth advocacy organizations focusing on social justice, human rights, and environmental conservation. These groups often lead campaigns, organize events, and engage in grassroots activism, offering opportunities to advocate for important causes and develop leadership skills.

4. Creative Arts for Social Change

Combine your artistic talents with community service. You can organize art exhibitions, theater performances, or music concerts that raise awareness about pressing social issues like mental health illness. Using the arts to inspire change demonstrates creativity and a commitment to advocacy.

5. Tech for Good

Leverage your tech skills for social impact. Volunteer with organizations that need website development, app design, or data analysis assistance. These contributions showcase your technical abilities while benefiting causes you care about.

6. Youth Mentorship Programs

Help out younger students in areas you excel at. Whether it's tutoring in a certain subject, coaching in sports or the arts, or giving advice on getting ready for college, mentoring shows leadership and a dedication to helping others succeed.

Remember to keep a record of your volunteer experiences, including the number of hours and the impact you made (like if you managed to increase an organization's Instagram followers by 150%).

Also, try to take on leadership roles whenever possible, since showing leadership can greatly benefit your chances of getting scholarships.

Where to find Volunteer Opportunities

Students can discover volunteer chances at places like their school, nearby library, senior center, hospital, or religious group.

They can also ask their school counselor, family members, or friends if they have any suggestions.

Here are a few websites that can help you find opportunities:

  1. VolunteerMatch
  2. Idealist
  4. Points of Light (digital volunteering opportunities)

By using these sources and websites, high school students can find various volunteer opportunities that match their interests, skills, and schedules. If getting to a place is difficult, consider virtual volunteering as an option.

>>RELATED: 5 Reasons You Should Borrow Less for College

How to Find Scholarships for Community Service

Now that you know the benefits of community service, let's talk about finding scholarships for volunteering.

1. Do Some Research

Look for scholarships online using scholarship search engines like ours. Ask your high school guidance counselor for suggestions. Also, check with local organizations and non-profits in your area.

2. Read the Fine Print

Each scholarship has its own rules. Some might require a certain number of community service hours. Others may have GPA or academic requirements. Make sure you meet all the criteria.

3. Application Deadlines

Pay attention to deadlines. Some scholarships have early deadlines, so plan ahead.

4. Your Essay Matters

High school students can use their essays to explain how their community service experiences have made them better people. They can share stories and moments from their volunteering that show how they've become more caring, understanding, and responsible.

When writing these essays, it's important to remember that scholarship committees appreciate both stories where students overcome challenges and moments where they've had important realizations or "aha moments."

Examples of Community Service Scholarships

Here are a couple of examples of scholarships that reward community service:

1. GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship: This scholarship is for outstanding high school seniors who demonstrate strong leadership and engagement in their communities. Scholars can earn up to $40,000 to pay for college.

2. The Prudential Emerging Visionaries: This national program recognizes students committed to serving their community by "finding real solutions to real problems." Winners can receive up to $15,000 in scholarships and even a trip to Prudential's headquarters in New Jersey.

3. Rotary Club Scholarships: Many Rotary Clubs offer scholarships to students actively involved in community service projects. Your local Rotary might also sponsor the Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (RYLA), which provides intensive leadership experiences for students ready to change the world. Check with your local Rotary Club.

4. Eagle Scout Scholarships: If your child is an Eagle Scout or aspires to be one, they may be eligible for scholarships from the National Eagle Scout Association, which values community service. In 2019, Boys Scouts of America began accepting girls into the organization (now renamed Scouts BSA). As a member, girls can now become an Eagle Scout.

5. The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes: This award celebrates young people between the ages of 8 and 18 who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet. Winners receive a cash award to support their education or service project.

6. Kiwanis Scholarships: Kiwanis International offers scholarships to high school students who are members of Key Club, a student-led service organization.

7. Elks National Foundation Most Valuable Student Scholarship: This scholarship rewards high school seniors demonstrating leadership, scholarship, and financial need. They offer scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $7,500 per year.


Scholarships for community service can be a great way to make college more affordable. By doing good for your community, you can also benefit your future education. So, get out there, make a positive impact, and start your journey to finding free money for college!

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