Are you applying to a college or a scholarship that requires a community service essay? Do you know how to write an essay that will impress readers and clearly show the impact your work had on yourself and others?
Read on to learn step-by-step instructions for writing a great community service essay that will help you stand out and be memorable.
What Is a Community Service Essay? Why Do You Need One?
A community service essay is an essay that describes the volunteer work you did and the impact it had on you and your community. Community service essays can vary widely depending on specific requirements listed in the application, but, in general, they describe the work you did, why you found the work important, and how it benefited people around you.
Community service essays are typically needed for two reasons:
1. To Apply to College
- Some colleges require students to write community service essays as part of their application or to be eligible for certain scholarships.
- You may also choose to highlight your community service work in your personal statement.
2. To Apply for Scholarships
- Some scholarships are specifically awarded to students with exceptional community service experiences, and many use community service essays to help choose scholarship recipients.
- Green Mountain College offers one of the most famous of these scholarships. Their "Make a Difference Scholarship" offers full tuition, room, and board to students who have demonstrated a significant, positive impact through their community service
Getting Started With Your Essay
In the following sections, I'll go over each step of how to plan and write your essay. I'll also include sample excerpts for you to look through so you can get a better idea of what readers are looking for when they review your essay.
Step 1: Know the Essay Requirements
Before your start writing a single word, you should be familiar with the essay prompt. Each college or scholarship will have different requirements for their essay, so make sure you read these carefully and understand them.
Specific things to pay attention to include:
- Length requirement
- Application deadline
- The main purpose or focus of the essay
- If the essay should follow a specific structure
Below are three real community service essay prompts. Read through them and notice how much they vary in terms of length, detail, and what information the writer should include.
From the AXA Achievement Scholarship:
"Describe your outstanding achievement in depth and provide the specific planning, training, goals, and steps taken to make the accomplishment successful. Include details about your role and highlight leadership you provided. Your essay must be a minimum of 350 words but not more than 600 words."
From the Laura W. Bush Traveling Scholarship:
"Essay (up to 500 words, double spaced) explaining your interest in being considered for the award and how your proposed project reflects or is related to both UNESCO’s mandate and U.S. interests in promoting peace by sharing advances in education, science, culture, and communications."
From the LULAC National Scholarship Fund:
"Please type or print an essay of 300 words (maximum) on how your academic studies will contribute to your personal & professional goals. In addition, please discuss any community service or extracurricular activities you have been involved in that relate to your goals."
Step 2: Brainstorm Ideas
Even after you understand what the essay should be about, it can still be difficult to begin writing. Answer the following questions to help brainstorm essay ideas. You may be able to incorporate your answers into your essay.
- What community service activity that you’ve participated in has meant the most to you?
- What is your favorite memory from performing community service?
- Why did you decide to begin community service?
- What made you decide to volunteer where you did?
- How has your community service changed you?
- How has your community service helped others?
- How has your community service affected your plans for the future?
You don’t need to answer all the questions, but if you find you have a lot of ideas for one of two of them, those may be things you want to include in your essay.
Writing Your Essay
How you structure your essay will depend on the requirements of the scholarship or school you are applying to. You may give an overview of all the work you did as a volunteer, or highlight a particularly memorable experience. You may focus on your personal growth or how your community benefited. Regardless of the specific structure requested, follow the guidelines below to make sure your community service essay is memorable and clearly shows the impact of your work.
Samples of mediocre and excellent essays are included below to give you a better idea of how you should draft your own essay.
Step 1: Hook Your Reader In
You want the person reading your essay to be interested, so your first sentence should hook them in and entice them to read more. A good way to do this is to start in the middle of the action. Your first sentence could describe you helping build a house, releasing a rescued animal back to the wild, watching a student you tutored read a book on their own, or something else that quickly gets the reader interested. This will help set your essay apart and make it more memorable.
Compare these two opening sentences:
"I have volunteered at the Wishbone Pet Shelter for three years."
"The moment I saw the starving, mud-splattered puppy brought into the shelter with its tail between its legs, I knew I'd do whatever I could to save it."
The first sentence is a very general, bland statement. The majority of community service essays probably begin a lot like it, but it gives the reader little information and does nothing to draw them in. On the other hand, the second sentence begins immediately with action and helps persuade the reader to keep reading so they can learn what happened to the dog.
Step 2: Discuss the Work You Did
Once you’ve hooked your reader in with your first sentence, tell them about your community service experiences. State where you work, when you began working, how much time you’ve spent there, and what your main duties include. This will help the reader quickly put the rest of the essay in context and understand the basics of your community service work.
Not including basic details about your community service could leave your reader confused.
Step 3: Include Specific Details
It’s the details of your community service that make your experience unique and memorable, so go into the specifics of what you did. For example, don’t just say you volunteered at a nursing home; talk about reading Mrs. Johnson her favorite book, watching Mr. Scott win at bingo, and seeing the residents play games with their grandchildren at the family day you organized. Try to include specific activities, moments, and people in your essay. Having details like these let the readers really understand what work you did and how it differs from other volunteer experiences.
Compare these two passages:
"For my volunteer work, I tutored children at a local elementary school. I helped them improve their math skills and become more confident students."
"As a volunteer at York Elementary School, I worked one-on-one with second and third graders who struggled with their math skills, particularly addition, subtraction, and fractions. As part of my work, I would create practice problems and quizzes and try to connect math to the students' interests. One of my favorite memories was when Sara, a student I had been working with for several weeks, told me that she enjoyed the math problems I had created about a girl buying and selling horses so much that she asked to help me create math problems for other students."
The first passage only gives basic information about the work done by the volunteer; there is very little detail included, and no evidence is given to support her claims. How did she help students improve their math skills? How did she know they were becoming more confident?
The second passage is much more detailed. It recounts a specific story and explains more fully what kind of work the volunteer did, as well as a specific instance of a student becoming more confident with her math skills. Providing more detail in your essay helps support your claims as well as make your essay more memorable and unique.
Step 4: Show Your Personality
It would be very hard to get a scholarship or place at a school if none of your readers felt like they knew much about you after finishing your essay, so make sure that your essay shows your personality. The way to do this is to state your personal strengths, then provide examples to support your claims. Take some time to think about which parts of your personality you would like your essay to highlight, then write about specific examples to show this.
- If you want to show that you’re a motivated leader, describe a time when you organized an event or supervised other volunteers.
- If you want to show your teamwork skills, write about a time you helped a group of people work together better.
- If you want to show that you’re a compassionate animal lover, write about taking care of neglected shelter animals and helping each of them find homes.
Step 5: State What You Accomplished
After you have described your community service and given specific examples of your work, you want to begin to wrap your essay up by stating your accomplishments. What was the impact of your community service? Did you build a house for a family to move into? Help students improve their reading skills? Clean up a local park? Make sure the impact of your work is clear; don’t be worried about bragging here.
If you can include specific numbers, that will also strengthen your essay. Saying “I delivered meals to 24 home-bound senior citizens” is a stronger example than just saying “I delivered meals to lots of senior citizens."
Also be sure to explain why your work matters. Why is what you did important? Did it provide more parks for kids to play in? Help students get better grades? Give people medical care who would otherwise not have gotten it? This is an important part of your essay, so make sure to go into enough detail that your readers will know exactly what you accomplished and how it helped your community.
Compare these two passages:
"My biggest accomplishment during my community service was helping to organize a family event at the retirement home. The children and grandchildren of many residents attended, and they all enjoyed playing games and watching movies together."
"The community service accomplishment that I'm most proud of is the work I did to help organize the First Annual Family Fun Day at the retirement home. My job was to design and organize fun activities that senior citizens and their younger relatives could enjoy. The event lasted eight hours and included ten different games, two performances, and a movie screening with popcorn. Almost 200 residents and family members attended throughout the day. This event was important because it provided an opportunity for senior citizens to connect with their family members in a way they aren't often able to. It also made the retirement home seem more fun and enjoyable to children, and we have seen an increase in the number of kids coming to visit their grandparents since the event."
The second passage is stronger for a variety of reasons. First, it goes into much more detail about the work the volunteer did. The first passage only states that she helped "organize a family event." That really doesn't tell readers much about her work or what her responsibilities were. The second passage is much clearer; her job was to "design and organize fun activities."
The second passage also explains the event in more depth. A family day can be many things; remember that your readers are likely not familiar with what you're talking about, so details help them get a clearer picture. Lastly, the second passage makes the importance of the event clear: it helped residents connect with younger family members, and it helped retirement homes seem less intimidating to children, so now some residents see their grand kids more often.
Step 6: Discuss What You Learned
One of the final things to include in your essay should be the impact that your community service had on you. You can discuss skills you learned, such as carpentry, public speaking, animal care, or another skill. You can also talk about how you changed personally. Are you more patient now? More understanding of others? Do you have a better idea of the type of career you want? Go into depth about this, but be honest. Don’t say your community service changed your life if it didn’t because trite statements won’t impress readers.
In order to support your statements, provide more examples. If you say you’re more patient now, how do you know this? Do you get less frustrated while playing with your younger siblings? Are you more willing to help group partners who are struggling with their part of the work? You’ve probably noticed by now that including specific examples and details is one of the best ways to create a strong and believable essay.
Compare these two passages:
"As a result of my community service, I learned a lot about building houses and became a more mature person."
"As a result of my community service, I gained hands-on experience in construction. I learned how to read blueprints, use a hammer and nails, and begin constructing the foundation of a two-bedroom house. Working on the house could be challenging at times, but it taught me to appreciate the value of hard work and be more willing to pitch in when I see someone needs help. My dad has just started building a shed in our backyard, and I offered to help him with it because I know from my community service how much work it is. I also appreciate my own house more, and I know how lucky I am to have a roof over my head."
The second passage is more impressive and memorable because it describes the skills the writer learned in more detail and recounts a specific story that supports her claim that her community service changed her and made her more helpful.
Step 7: Finish Strong
Just as you started your essay in a way that would grab readers’ attention, you want to finish your essay on a strong note as well. A good way to end your essay is to state again the impact your work had on you, your community, or both. Reiterate how you changed as a result of your community service, why you found the work important, or how it helped others.
Compare these two concluding statements:
"In conclusion, I learned a lot from my community service at my local museum, and I hope to keep volunteering and learning more about history."
"To conclude, volunteering at my city's American History Museum has been a great experience. By leading tours and participating in special events, I became better at public speaking and am now more comfortable starting conversations with people. In return, I was able to get more community members interested in history and our local museum. My interest in history has deepened, and I look forward to studying the subject in college and hopefully continuing my volunteer work at my university's own museum."
The second passage takes each point made in the first passage and expands upon it. In a few sentences, the second passage is able to clearly convey what work the volunteer did, how she changed, and how her volunteer work benefited her community. She also ends her essay discussing her future and how she'd like to continue her community service, which is a good way to wrap things up because it shows your readers that you are committed to community service for the long-term.
Are you applying to a community service scholarship or thinking about it? We have a complete list of all the community service scholarships available to help get your search started!
Do you need a community service letter as well? We have a step-by-step guide that will tell you how to get a great reference letter from your community service supervisor.
Thinking about doing community service abroad? Before you sign up, read our guide on some of the hazards of international volunteer trips and how to know if it's the right choice for you.
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An ideal student is one who studies dedicatedly, behaves sincerely in school and at home and also takes part in co-curricular activities. Every parent wants his child to become an ideal student who serves as a role model for others.
Ideal students are welcomed everywhere – in schools, at coaching centres and in sports academies. These students carry out all the tasks assigned to them with accuracy. They like to be on the top and work hard to achieve that position. Here are various essays on Ideal Student to help you with the topic. You can select any ideal student essay according to your need:
Ideal Student Essays
Ideal Student – 1 (200 words)
An ideal student is good in academics, takes part in extra-curricular activities, well-behaved and well-groomed. He is somebody everyone wishes to be like and wants to be friends with. Teachers are also fond of such students and they are appreciated wherever they go.
However, an ideal student is also somebody whom every other student secretly envies. So while everyone wants to sit with or be friends with such a student many do not wish well for them as they are jealous of them. Nevertheless, this does not or should not dither the spirit of an ideal student as he is to achieve higher things in life.
Now, an ideal student is not necessarily somebody who is perfect and fetches full marks in every test or wins medals in every sports activity he participates in. He is one who is disciplined and has a vision in life. He is somebody who works hard with complete determination and possesses a true sportsman spirit. He is not the one who never fails but one who doesn’t give up on failing. He tries again and again until he succeeds. He is keen on learning new things. He is determined to taste success and does whatever it takes to achieve the same.
Ideal Student – 2 (300 words)
An ideal student is one whom every other student looks up to. He is applauded for the way he carries out all his tasks be it in the classroom or the playground. He is a favourite among the teachers and is entrusted with various duties in school. Every teacher wants his class to be filled with such students.
Parent’s and Teacher’s Role in Shaping an Ideal Student
Every parent wants his child to outshine others in his class and be an ideal student. Many students want to fulfil the expectations of their parents but lack the determination and many other factors that make for an ideal student. While some try and fail, others fail to try in the first place. But should the students alone be blamed for this failure? No! Parents must understand that they play a significant role in shaping their child’s overall personality and attitude towards life. It is their duty to help their children understand the importance of doing well in school.
Now, many parents show their children the bigger picture and tell them as to how fetching good grades and working hard during the school days would help them as they get on with their professional and personal life later. However, most of them do not teach their children as how to stay determined and motivated to work hard and achieve the set goals. Parents must work together with the children to help them do well in school.
Teachers also play an equally important role in shaping up their students’ personality. They need to look for ways to impact them positively and encourage them at every step.
Nobody is born perfect or ideal. It takes time to inculcate habits that make a student ideal. Both the parents and teachers need to put in efforts to bring out the hidden potential in a child.
Ideal Student – 3 (400 words)
An ideal student is the one who is good in academics as well as in co-curricular activities. While every parent wants his child to do well in school only a few are able to fulfil these expectations. Parent’s role should not only be to lecture their children and set high expectations from them but also to help them fulfil those expectations by nurturing and guiding them properly.
Characteristics of an Ideal Student
Here are some of the key characteristics of an ideal student:
An ideal student sets goals and works extremely hard to achieve them. He wants to do best in studies, sports as well as other activities and doesn’t hesitate to put in his best effort to achieve the same.
An ideal student does not give up even when the times get tough. He stays determined to achieve the set goals and works continually to achieve the same.
Many students are seen giving excuses for various things including reaching late to the school/ coaching centre, not completing their homework, not doing well in the exam and so on. However, an ideal student is one who looks for solutions to such problems rather than coming up with excuses.
An ideal student is trustworthy. Teachers often assign them different duties which they carry out without fail.
An ideal student will always be seen donning a positive outlook. Even if the syllabus is vast, even if the teacher schedules a test without giving much time to study, even if there is a sudden call for some competitive activity. An ideal student remains positive in every situation and takes on the challenge with a smile.
An ideal student is curious to learn new things. He does not hesitate asking questions in the class. An ideal student also goes out of his way to read books and surf the internet to widen his knowledge about different things.
An ideal student is also ready to take initiatives. This is a great way to learn, understand and enhance one’s knowledge and ability.
It takes a good amount of determination to become an ideal student. However, the effort is worth it. If a child develops the aforementioned characteristics from an early age he would certainly be able to achieve a lot as he grows up and takes on bigger challenges in life.
Ideal Students – 4 (500 words)
Everyone aspires to be an ideal student however only a few are able to become one. It takes a good amount of effort to achieve that kind of excellence. However, once you achieve it, you are unstoppable. Being good at everything then becomes a habit and you do not want to settle for anything less.
How to Become an Ideal Student?
Here are a few techniques that should help you become an ideal student:
- Get Organized
The first thing you must do if you aspire to be an ideal student is to get organized. De-clutter your room, cupboard, study table and everything around to bring in positive energy. Chaotic surroundings only lead to a chaotic mind.
- Schedule Things
Begin by waking up and sleeping on the same time each day. Also prepare a schedule to accommodate your studies as well as other activities. Stick to the schedule you prepare to make the most of your time.
- Prepare To Do Lists
It is a good habit to prepare daily to-do lists. Prepare a list of things you need to accomplish during the day every morning. Prioritize the tasks and time them. Having a list at hand helps in better time management. Keep checking the tasks as you complete them. This gives a feeling of accomplishment and keeps you motivated.
- Take Initiatives
Do not hesitate to take initiatives in school as well as elsewhere. Take up new projects to test your calibre and understand where your interest actually lies. This way you will not only learn about various new things but also understand your ability to perform them.
- Learn Something New
Inculcate the habit to read, watch informational videos and other such content. This is a good way to learn new things, understand different perspectives and enhance your overall knowledge and ability.
- Keep Good Company
It is said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. So if you want to be an ideal student then choose to be friends with those who are serious about their studies and are driven to perform rather than those who take their life casually.
- Follow a Healthy Lifestyle
Following a healthy lifestyle is of utmost importance. It includes taking care of three aspects shared below:
It is essential to take a proper diet that includes all the required nutrients to keep healthy. You will be able to perform well only when you are physically and mentally fit.
It is essential to complete 8 hours of sleep each day. You must not compromise on your sleep in any case as it leaves you lethargic and hampers productivity. Oversleeping can also cause similar effect. So you must avoid that as well.
A student’s life is quite busy especially as he enters higher classes. However, it is essential to squeeze in half an hour to one hour to indulge in physical exercise. You can choose any exercise of your choice. It may be running, jogging, cycling, swimming, yoga, dancing or anything that interests you.
Parents must understand that their child cannot attain excellence on his own. He needs their support. They must thus be open to help him at various steps rather than merely setting high expectations.
Ideal Student – 5 (600 words)
Ideal students are not born ideal or perfect. They are nurtured to become ideal by their parents and teachers. The environment at home has a great impact on the way a student performs in school. Teachers also play a significant role in the same. However, the parents and teachers can only guide a student and it ultimately depends on how driven he himself is.
What makes a Student Ideal?
Here are a few things that make a student ideal:
- These students pay attention in the class and try to grasp as much as they can in their classroom sessions.
- They do not hesitate asking questions in the class to clarify their doubts.
- They make sure they study all that is done in the class each day as they go home.
- They keep things organized.
- They do not only try to do well academically but also take part in other activities such as sports, debate competitions, art and craft activities and more.
- They take initiatives and give their best shot. They do not give up on opportunities because of the fear of failure.
- They do not give up even if they face failure. They try to do things again until they finally achieve the desired result.
Ideal Students are Favourite in School
Ideal students are the ones who are good at almost everything in the school. They emanate positive energy. Everyone in their class wants to be their friends. Having an ideal student as a best friend makes a good impression on the teachers as well as other students. If your friend is good in studies you also get help in studies. His notes are always readily available for you. He also motivates you to study with devotion and take part in extra-curricular activities such as sports, music, dance, etc. A person’s company has a huge impact on him especially during the growing years. Those who keep company of good/ ideal students are bound to inculcate good habits.
Ideal students are also a favourite among the teachers. Teachers give their example to others in the class and ask them to learn their good habits. Teachers entrust these students with various other tasks such as preparation of projects, distribution of books/ notebooks and monitoring of class in their absence. Every teacher wants her class to have ideal students.
Being an Ideal Student Helps Later in Life
It is said that, you are what you repeatedly do. Excellence then becomes a way of life. An ideal student is organized. He keeps his room, school bag, books and other stuff in an organized manner so that he doesn’t have to waste time looking for things when need be. He knows where exactly to look for his stuff. Being organized does not only mean keeping things intact but also means the ability to prioritize and organize your tasks in an efficient manner so as to complete them on time. This becomes a habit and even as such a student grows up he remains organized. Those who are organized can manage both personal and professional life efficiently.
An ideal student knows how to strike a balance between different activities and as he grows into a professional it becomes easier for him to maintain a work-life balance. He is also quite hard working and determined and this helps a great deal later in life.
The life of an ideal student may seem tough from a distance. However, it is actually much more sorted as compared to those who procrastinate and do not give complete attention to their studies and other tasks. Ideal students are go getters. They aim high and work hard to achieve the set goals.