Service hours benefit students more than the community


Meghan McGowan

Service hours are first and foremost self-serving for students. A majority of students completed hours to only put them on applications.

Many clubs on campus are dedicated to helping students get the service hours they need for college applications and resumes. These hours are required to be in many honors societies or service organizations, such as National Honors Society and Spanish Honors Society. Service hours look great to potential universities and employers, and they show that the student is committed to serving the community and finding joy in serving others. All good things, right?

Well, that’s not exactly the case. It’s too good to be true that busy students spend a lot of their time serving others just for the sake of serving. These service hours open doors into prestigious organizations as well as potential scholarships: which is probably the main drive behind the participation in community service. 

Although potential employers and universities think that they are admitting someone who has formed a sense of selflessness and habit of service, they are actually selecting someone who acts out of their own self-interest. 

Part of the reasoning behind service hours and why students are required to complete so many of them to be in clubs such as NHS is so the students can form a habit of serving their community. Unfortunately this so-called “habit” will probably stop after high school. Students complete hours for the applications. If there were no college application, students would not be completing nearly as many hours, if they were completing hours at all. 

Another reason employers and universities value service hours is because it shows that a student understands and cares about their role in the community. While it’s true that after completing service hours, students can better understand their role in the community, it doesn’t mean that they actually care about their role. It’s all for show. 

Service hours help students learn crucial skills; the skills being taught differ from organization to organization, but in general, students learn hard work, leadership, and organizational skills. While these capabilities can be helpful in the future, in actuality, people who complete service hours are just learning how to make themselves look better.

Some may argue that no matter if the hours are self-serving, they are still service, and the people they are serving are better off for it. While that may be true to an extent, who makes more of an impact on the people in need: someone who actually cares about who they are serving, or someone who is looking out for themselves? 

Of course, there are those who serve out of the goodness of their hearts. They truly mean and complete every service hour that is signed off. But those students are few and far between. 

Service hours sound great in theory; but in practice, it just allows students to look good without creating any sense of service, because students complete these hours because of the requirements to be in clubs or for college or job applications.