How to record community service hoursAnswered
I am a Junior high school student with a 3.7 GPA and 30 ACT composite but near-zero extracurriculars. I've been trying to compensate with community service with JROTC and volunteer tutoring. The problem is apart from JROTC keeping track of my community service, I don't know how to record my community service.
Do I do it myself? and how do colleges know I'm not just lying?
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A spreadsheet or table is probably the best way to track your community service hours. Community service hours are basically reported by honor code—as long as it seems realistic to the amount of time you had, a college isn’t going to dig deeper into anything. Definitely don't lie though! If you forgot to record past community service, you can estimate hours based on how many you had weekly and how long you've been doing the activity. How long you've been doing the activity is what applications will typically ask you for instead of total hours anyways.
In your spreadsheet, you can easily include: Organization you volunteered with, what you did, date you volunteered, hours spent, and a "supervisor" contact that you could reach out to if you needed
It's a good way to remember everything you did -- who knows, you may find some good essay material in your volunteering experience notes!
If you are like most students, your volunteer hours are tracked all over the place. Your school keeps one set of records. Your club records volunteering completed as a group. And maybe you volunteered on your own or with family. It is important to keep good records - in real time - and find a way to corroborate your hours. We encounter many students who try their best to remember, but with busy schedules, recall is never 100%. Imagine trying to remember your grade on a midterm two years ago, or what you scored at a basketball game. The details blur over time. So keep real-time records and get proof!
Depending on what your goal is and whether you are willing to spend money, there are many different ways to keep track. One simple free version is to simply make an Excel spreadsheet and log your hours. If you're looking to get a high-quality record, however, x2Vol is a good application. Check to see if your school has a subscription because you might be able to get it for free then. Either way, when you want to submit the hours, make sure to get the proper documentation from the volunteer coordinator that you were working for that states you actually achieved the number of hours you stated. Good luck!
You should track roughly the number of hours you spend per week and how many weeks in a year you spend volunteering.
Colleges cannot directly tell that you're lying but if colleges find out, they will decide to rescind you. Admission officers usually can tell if you numbers are off if they do not line up with your application.
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