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The importance of volunteer work

adambedfordadambedford 250 replies47 threads Junior Member
I'm wondering how much emphasis USC places on whether a student has done volunteer work and if so, how many hours are deemed "suitable".

I'm an international and its much less common for students here in the UK to do volunteer work than in the US from what I can gather.

By the way, what is the US policy on volunteer work? Are all students expected to do some? Is it part of the school curriculum because from what I've seen on here most students have a reasonable amount of hours.

edited September 2009
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Replies to: The importance of volunteer work

  • EiffelEiffel 1191 replies179 threads Senior Member
    I'm not sure about USC, but I'm pretty sure most American schools require about 30 - 40 hours to graduate. However, most students who apply to competitive schools like USC often have 100+ hours.

    I don't think it's a huge deal to USC though. Some people are very passionate about their volunteer work and said work can really say something about the person. For instance, if someone is applying to be an Education major and writes his essay about wanting to be an elementary school teacher, 200+ hours of volunteer work in an elementary school would obviously help his case.

    Other times, it can just show that someone is well-rounded. Most of my extracurriculars are film/writing based but my community service (drama-coaching kids for theater productions and also generally helping at an elementary school) will hopefully show qualities of caring and concern for children about me.

    Overall, though, if you have other extracurriculars that you show passion and dedication in, I would suspect a lack of volunteer work won't be a huge deal to USC. I'm not 100% sure though, so anyone...feel free to correct me! :)
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  • cc411cc411 1659 replies65 threads Senior Member
    Hi adambedford,

    There is no policy in the US on volunteer work. However, most districts and schools highly encourage it. Some give you a commendation on your transcript for a certain number of hours. Some schools actually do require it as part of their curriculum but the hours would vary school by school. (The local schools in my city have no volunteer requirement.)

    As far as USC Admissions- they want to see a good application that shows a great candidate. Of course we have analyzed and argued what that means but from what they have told us on the phone, what we can see on their website, and studying the statistics of those who have been accepted, I believe it is not the number of hours that is important on an application. Just working a number of hours in several charity organizations is not going to do it. The fact that a student found a "passion" and strived to learn, practice, develop, and show leadership in this endeavor seems to be what is important.

    Being "well-rounded" no longer seems to be the key- rather it is committed involvement in focused activities.

    There are some who were accepted to USC who had no volunteer hours at all. But those students probably had other activities during their high school careers and they were able to show those commitments as strengths and passions on their applications.
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