teens in the community

How Volunteering Can Help Offset College Costs

Harness your high school volunteering habit into real rewards on your college expenses.

As many of America’s 20.5 million college students would attest, education does not come cheap. But there may be a way that you can learn more about your community, gain valuable skills and potentially save money on your college tuition — simply by volunteering your time and effort.

Students who participate in volunteer projects throughout their high school careers are often able to receive better scholarships and other grants that support community engagement and activities. Consider the ways that volunteering could benefit you, your college costs and your future career.

How volunteering helps

When you have the chance to shine, your passion and success follows. Spending time at a local animal shelter, retirement community or hospital can earn you both experience and accolades on your college application.

If you have an idea of what you want to study at university, consider volunteer opportunities that can both diversify your experience and qualify for scholarships or grants that could ease your student loan burden.

Volunteering in college

Once you’ve started college, you may be able to find time for opportunities that give back to the community and make a difference to your financial bottom line.

For instance, if you’re already considering joining the military, you can set yourself up to cutting down on costs by joining the ROTC — or the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps. The ROTC helps you pay your college tuition while you serve your country. ROTC provides scholarships of up to $80,000 toward tuition and educational fees for students who enroll during college or in high school. It can also assist you along your career path, helping you excel and save on expenses throughout college.

And don’t underestimate the impact volunteering can have on your future employers. Volunteering can make you more hireable in an area of service that you’re passionate about, showing real commitment to your community. You’ll gain skills that are important when working with a team, getting to know the unique issues that people in your city face. You’ll be potentially working toward leadership positions, building skills that are highly prized by employers when deciding among new college grads.

But it doesn’t have to be just another tactic to fleshing out your resume. Volunteering for organizations within your major can provide experiences that dovetail with your studies, enriching what you’ve learned in the classroom, better preparing you for your chosen career.

What you can do after college

Whether you need to pay off student loans or pay for continued education at a reduced cost, post-college service opportunities abound.

AmeriCorps

AmeriCorps is a group of volunteers sent to locations around the US to teach, support at-risk communities and work within some of America’s poorest neighborhoods. AmeriCorps volunteers can receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award after fulfilling their term of service, which can be used for paying off student loans or advancing your education.

National Health Service Corps

If you’re pursuing a career in medicine, National Health Service Corp volunteers provide medical care to rural communities and communities that lack qualified health professionals. The NHSC offers scholarships for students who are still in medical school, and helps medical professionals who have already graduated pay off student loans after they’ve fulfilled their service term.

Peace Corps

The Peace Corps gives students a way to volunteer around the world while keeping an eye on graduate school. Volunteers can serve while pursuing a master’s degree program abroad and participate in the Coverdell Fellows Program, which provides financial assistance to volunteers who want to volunteer in the US. Just ensure you don’t lose out on the offset with high fees associated with moving money around while volunteering overseas, compare providers to find most cost effective options.

Consider student loans

Whether choosing to offset college through volunteering during or after college, keep in mind that while a huge expense, college is one that will pay off in the long run. To do this it helps to look ahead at the return your investment and work out whether the career you pick will support the level of debt you’ve accrued to get there. finder.com recently broke down the value of a student loan against potential future earnings based on LinkedIn’s Top 20 Highest Paying Jobs of 2017.

What we found is that it’s worthwhile to figure out whether your future career has a good return on investment — and that student loans can help ease some of the financial burden until you make good on that ROI.

Remember, it’s never too early — or too late — to start volunteering with a group or organization that you’re passionate about. You just might be able to both change your life and save money in the end.

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Written by Michelle Hutchison. Michelle is finder.com’s resident Money Expert and is passionate about helping Americans make better financial decisions. She has been in the financial services industry for over seven years and has previously worked as a journalist and editor.

Who is finder.com?

finder.com is a personal finance comparison website, which helps Americans compare financial products online so they can make better informed decisions. Visit finder.com to compare and learn about credit cards, mortgages, personal loans, international money transfers, life and travel insurance, shopping coupon codes, and so much more before choosing the option that best suits their needs.

Best of all, finder.com is completely free to use. We’re not a bank or insurer, nor are we owned by one, and we are not a product issuer or a credit provider. We’re not affiliated with any one institution or outlet, so it’s genuine advice from a team of experts who care about helping you find better.

 

Lion’s Heart in the News – Follow the Leader in OC Parenting Magazine

Teaching young people to become leaders in society, what could be better than that? Check out this great article in OC Parenting Magazine about teen opportunities in Orange County, California. Lion’s Heart was mentioned not only as a great place to gain leadership skills bit also focused on our recent bullying prevention event. Check it out here.

We Love Our Summer Interns!

In May 2016, Lion’s Heart staff began interviewing twenty-six Lion’s Heart teen Members for a summer internship in the Laguna Hills, California, corporate offices. Each potential intern provided a writing sample telling a little about themselves and why they wanted the summer internship. All twenty-six came in for a face to face interview, for some, it was their first interview ever. The teens, ranging from thirteen to seventeen years old, were truly wonderful people with so many amazing talents. Some were nervous, some were confident. One even arrived in a suit and tie! We eventually selected six interns to spend their summer working in our office with our staff on a variety of interesting projects.

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“Our goal was to give the interns a glimpse of how our operations work while allowing them to have a rich and educational intern experience,” said Terry Corwin, Lion’s Heart Founder and Executive Director. “They have all been given a variety of assignments such as making videos to share on social media, writing blog posts, researching volunteer outreach programs, whiteboard sessions on ideas for marketing, auditing volunteer logs, and much more.”

Lion’s Heart is so thankful for all six of our volunteers; Madison, Taylor, Reese, Julia, Matt and Kevin. They worked tirelessly, never complained, and were so productive. In the past three months, Lion’s Heart Teen Volunteer interns amassed a whopping 182.5 volunteer hours and finished 11 large projects which included making a fun video on what they love about volunteering with Lion’s Heart, researching the civic 50 corporations, guest blogging, reaching out to parents, alumni, and non-profits, getting booths in high school events, and listing Lion’s Heart on all the community directories they could find. Our interns became part of our Lion’s Heart family and while we are sad to see them go, we wish them all the best on their journeys and we welcome them back anytime.

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We will be showcasing each of our interns on the blog and social media this week so keep checking back!

We look forward to selecting a new batch of interns from our fantastic Members next summer so if anyone is interested in joining us, keep an eye out for our email coming next spring!

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When should students be preparing for the college application?

When should students be preparing for the college application? Depending on who you ask, the answer might be as early as when parents are selecting which kindergarten their kids should go to.

The truth is students should only start preparing for it when they decide they want to pursue higher education. College isn’t for everyone and it isn’t a path that can be predetermined by where parents decide to enroll their toddlers. When you do come to across a desire to apply to college, here are a few things you should focus on throughout high school:

Intellectual Curiosity

Stay curious. This probably goes without saying, because if you’re interested in continuing education, chances are you want to keep learning. This will keep you on your toes, on the edge of your seat as you take risks, seek for adventures and discover what you’re passionate about. Naturally, this will come in the forms of your club activities, extracurriculars, research, independent studies, and so on. Don’t stress yourself out with the need to fulfill a checklist of things that show you’re a well-rounded student.

Confidence

Many teenagers have a difficult time finding their confidence. You’re going through puberty, you’ve just enrolled at a new high school with new classmates, and you may not know what you’re good at yet. Truth is everyone feels the same way. The trick is to embrace what you do know. Love your own quirks, interests and don’t be afraid of showing who you are. Even if you have different passions, there’s something charming about a confident person that will help you make new friends and find a place for you to fit in.

Work Ethic

Developing a good work ethic is not only important in school, but also in life. Having a good work ethic doesn’t just mean working hard. It means you’re willing to help others out, support your teammate or classmate, and willing to do more than is expected. Good grades will come naturally, and you’ll also perform better on the field in sports.

These 3 key points may seem abstract, but if you’re applying to college, it will translate into a strong application.

Choosing where to go to college is an incredibly important decision. Make an informed choice by talking to current students on our mentorship platform. Access 60,000+ successful college application files uploaded by college students. AdmitSee is a community of students helping students. Our goal is to bring much-needed transparency to higher education.

Written by Frances Wong at AdmitSee. AdmitSee is a peer-to-peer college and grad school admissions platform. Access our crowd-sourced database to read applications, essays and advice direct from the students who got in. Find out how you compare.

 

Lion’s Heart Senior Spotlight – Everett J.

Lion’s Heart has made serving the community easy for teenagers like me. Through Lion’s Heart, I have had access to many different service opportunities that I could participate in i.e. Second Harvest Food Bank, NEGU, Relay for Life, Soup Kitchen’s, summer camps, etc…. I was motivated to help others with my service and felt a sense of joy from serving. It is very rewarding to be a servant of others.

Next year, I will be studying Mechanical Engineering at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. I am excited to find ways that I can get involved in college and continue to give back to my school and community.

Thank you, Everett, for sharing your story! Everett was a Member of the Foothill Ranch 2016 Boys Blue Group since 2012. Good luck at Cal Poly SLO in the fall!