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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 Equitable Excellence 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."


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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.

"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 .

"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.

sample essay about community service

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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.

The author of the second passage 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.

What's Next?

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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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.

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Essays About Community Service: Top 5 Examples Plus Prompts

If you are looking for your next writing topic, discover top examples of essays about community service and helpful writing prompts in our guide.

Community service refers to an individual or a group’s volunteer work dedicated to improving the community and its people. In America, Benjamin Franklin introduced community service in the 18th century by developing the idea of ​​the first volunteer firehouse in Philadelphia . Since then, stepping up has become a norm, with more people encouraged to participate.

Volunteering helps individuals gain experience, improve self-esteem, expand knowledge, and promote healthy goals. In addition, choosing community service as a topic in your essay allows you to explain its significance to entice your readers to get involved. To give you an idea of ​​how to write essays about community service, here are five examples that will help you.

5 Top Examples On Essays About Community Service

1. essay on community service and its importance by joni kim, 2. community service experience: essay on what i learned by anonymous on, 3. why is community service important by perry mullins, 4. concept of the community services in modern society essay by anonymous on, 5. community service experience essay by writer molly, 1. community service vs. volunteering, 2. community service: then and now, 3. why we should volunteer, 4. community service in schools: mandatory or voluntary, 5. community service and its influences, 6. types of community service, 7. my community service experience, 8. donation or service: what’s better to give.

“The service helps the group of people in need, for example, senior citizens, children, people with disability and the likes. Sometimes community service is geared towards solving problems related to the needs of community members, especially low-income earners.”

Kim explains that community service is a voluntary action done through various means. It includes health and child care services, education, housing, and other improvements to aid and support the community members who need the most assistance. Then, Kim focuses on its importance to individuals, the community, and the country. The essay showcases how community service improves social, interpersonal, and decision-making skills. It also allows students to explore and find their interests. Ultimately, Kim believes that the real-life experience of volunteering assists in determining one’s career path, providing advantages when applying for a job.

“This experience has helped me to cherish my ability to influence and impact others in a positive way, and it helped me to look at community service as a benefit for myself, instead of just another obligation to fit into my schedule.”

In this essay, the writer reflects on their community service experience, sharing the gains they reaped from the program. They discuss how their undying love for animals and tight-knit communities made them realize the gravity of sharing. They also had the opportunity to strengthen and develop a new set of talents and skills from the encounter. However, the author also mentions that when the desire to do good morphs into a forced responsibility, it leads to failure. The writer says they often receive more benefits than the people and animals they help, as the experience makes them more patient, flexible, and responsible.

“True volunteering lies in an individual’s will and drives to help other and enforcing it eliminates that drive.”

Mullins focuses his essay on explaining why it should not be mandatory for students to do community service. For him, mandatory volunteering takes away the true meaning of volunteerism. Students only view it as additional work – an obligatory criterion they must check off their list to graduate. He claims that students will gain nothing but stress instead of new skills and knowledge when compulsory community services are in place.

“As for me, I consider community work as a good opportunity to get the main idea of some particular services, still, I would not have the same great desire to participate in social life if the services would become obligatory for graduation.”

In modern society, volunteering is becoming a necessary factor in many organizations. People with experience in community service have more opportunities to get a job. The author delves into community service’s importance but also criticizes that making it a requisite takes away its value. With various arguments from professionals like Alina Tugend , the essay further argues that no one would want to receive help from people who consider it an obligation.

“The community service project is different from other school educations the community service can teach us how to love others and how to fulfill our heart with joy.”

Molly dislikes homeless people because of their appearance and smell, but this all changes when cleaning and selling preloved items to homeless people becomes the best experience of her life. Community service taught her that the homeless are no different from her. She also learned to be thankful for her situation. She concludes that after the program, she became more respectful, responsible, and caring to other people.

Do you want to secure that A+ Grade? Check out our round-up of the best essay writing apps for students and academics.

8 Helpful Prompts on Essays About Community Service

If you’re still confused about the topic and can’t choose what to talk about, you can use the prompts below:

To write this prompt, the first part of your essay should discuss the meaning of community service and volunteering. Next, identify and examine the different characteristics of a community service worker and volunteer to clearly explain their similarities and differences. Then finish your essay with your opinion on the matter or look for more information you can expound on in your own words. 

This prompt shows how people’s definitions, processes, and perceptions of community service changed over time. Research and write down how community service started in your country or area to make it more relatable. Include examples of community services that made a big difference for the community and consider how these services impacted people’s lives.

Essays About Community Service: Why we should volunteer?

Explain to your readers what voluntary work means and why exposure to it is crucial. Next, write the advantages and disadvantages of volunteering and what they should expect if they decide to be a volunteer. Finally, share your experience to clarify your comments, suggestions, and other points.

The decision to make community service mandatory in every school is still up for debate. First, pen your opinion on this topic and whether or not you agree with compulsory community service. Then, discuss your reasons and provide examples or factual evidence to support your arguments.

Identify and scrutinize the positive and negative effects of community service. Find news articles where one type of community service impacted its volunteers, community, and people differently. Write down how the organizer dealt with different situations and if it affected the program’s outcome.

There are three kinds of community service: direct, indirect, and advocacy. First, discuss and give examples for each one. Then, explain how these services differ from programs under service-learning. For example, direct community service includes directly serving homeless people food and clothes, while in service-learning, volunteers will teach people to garden and earn income. 

Use this prompt to share your memorable experience while doing community service and what you learned from it. It doesn’t matter if it’s a short program at your school, work, or organization. The important thing is that you have experience in community service. Include your initial reaction and if it changed over time while you were doing the service.

Some choose to donate money to various organizations that perform community service. Others join the program and personally help other people. In this prompt, share your opinion on the topic and whether you consider donating as community service. To make your essay more intriguing, look for prominent personalities who consistently contribute or engage in community service versus those who only present monetary assistance. 

AI grammar checkers are powerful resources that can help you improve your writing. See our guide on how to use an AI grammar checker. For help with this topic, read our guide explaining what is persuasive writing ?

sample essay about community service

Maria Caballero is a freelance writer who has been writing since high school. She believes that to be a writer doesn't only refer to excellent syntax and semantics but also knowing how to weave words together to communicate to any reader effectively.

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sample essay about community service

Tips for Writing a Standout Community Service Essay

←6 Diversity College Essay Examples

How to Write the “Why This Major” College Essay→

Through your college applications process, you’re likely to come across the term “community service” many times. In fact, you may be asked to write an essay about it. This post will cover the specifics of a community service essay and how to go about writing one, including what to cover and common mistakes to avoid. 

What is a Community Service Essay?

You may encounter the community service essay as you’re writing your supplemental essays for college. These are school-specific prompts that only go to the college that requests them, unlike the personal statement , which goes to every school you apply to. Not all schools require community service essays, but several do. It’s also a common requirement for scholarship applications, especially if it’s a school-specific merit scholarship. 

The community service essay is an essay that describes the initiatives you have taken outside of the classroom to benefit your community. In a 2018 survey of 264 admissions leaders across the US, 58% said that community service is a tie-breaker between students who are otherwise equally qualified. The community service essay offers you the opportunity to shine light on the work you have done to make an impact on the world and people around you, and is an additional way to help you stand out among other applicants. 

Approaching the Community Service Essay 

Understand the essay requirements  .

As with any essay, it’s important to first understand what is expected of your essay. For a start, elements to pay attention to include: 

  • Length requirements
  • Focus or subject of the essay prompt 
  • Organization of the essay 

Although all community service essays ultimately have the same purpose of having you describe your local service activities, they can come with different types of prompts. Below are three sample prompts. Note the differences in topic specificity, length requirements, and breadth of the prompt. 

From the CGCS – Bernard Harris Scholarship Program: 

Please describe a meaningful volunteer or community service experience, including what you learned from participating.

From the University of California Application :

What have you done to make your school or your community a better place? (350 words).

From the Equitable Excellence 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.

Brainstorming for your community service essay 

Once you have an understanding of what is required of the specific you are to write, the next step is to brainstorm ideas for a specific topic. If you have various community-engaged service experiences under your belt, consider the following before you finalize your decision. 

The best topics:

Are substantial in length and scope. It’s better to cover a long-term commitment than a one-off afternoon at the food pantry or animal shelter. 

Are transformative or inspiring. Although community service is “others”-oriented, colleges are looking to learn more about you. The ideal community service essay topic should be an experience that changed or challenged your perspective, and was ultimately fulfilling. 

Illustrate personal qualities or passions that you want to highlight. Given the specific prompt, and taking the rest of your application into consideration, which personal interests do you want to highlight? Which activity illuminates the personal quality that you want to bring attention to? 

These are all elements to consider before you begin writing your essay. 

sample essay about community service

Tips for Writing Your Community Service Essay 

1. include anecdotes.

Anecdotes are a great way to begin your essay, not only as a way to grab your reader’s attention, but by launching right into the experience of your service activity. You can start with a line about a particularly busy afternoon at the orphanage, or a morning cleaning up the streets after a storm, or the sense of accomplishment you felt when you watched a dog under your care at the animal shelter get adopted. 

2. Show, don’t tell 

We’re sure you’ve heard this axiom of general writing before, but it applies to college essays just as much as with any other piece of writing. Opt for evocative examples over plain explaining whenever possible. Take this sentence: “There was a lot of food waste at our school cafeteria.” It’s not nearly as powerful as this description: “I peered into the tall, gray trash cans to inspect the mountain of Styrofoam trays and discarded food. There were countless pizza crusts, globs of green beans, and unopened cartons of milk.” 

Anyone could write the first sentence, and it’s not a unique experience. In the second description, we’re shown the scene of the writer’s lunchroom. We get a peek into their perspective and life, which makes the writing more vivid and relatable. Aim to bring your reader into your world as much as possible.

3. Share your responsibilities and accomplishments.

The more tangible your community service activities feel to the reader, the more powerful your essay will be. Concretize your work by stating the basic details of what kind of work you did and what your duties involved, where it was based, when you began working, and the amount of time you spent working. 

Be sure to quantify your work and accomplishments when possible; it’s better to say your fundraiser yielded 125 books than “a large number” of books. It’s important to also elaborate on why the work you did matters. Why was it important? Did the books you collected or purchased after the fundraiser expand the library of the local orphanage that they already had, or did it offer the children easy access to books that wasn’t available previously? Be specific and detailed.  

4. Highlight what you learned and how you’ll use those lessons moving forward. 

Towards the end of your essay, you’ll want to share how you benefited from the community service work you did. This is an important part of the essay, because it shows how you are able to distill your experiences to applicable lessons in your own life. 

Think of this section in two potential parts: skills you learned, and personal development. Did you gain any hard skills, such as public speaking, poster design, or funds management? Then think about how you developed as an individual. Are you more empathetic or patient now? 

Things to Avoid in Your Community Service Essay 

1. don’t list out everything that happened..

You want to keep your essay well-structured and concise. This isn’t a résumé, or a play-by-play of the entire experience. Stick to the most telling details and anecdotes from your experience. 

2. Avoid using a pretentious or privileged tone.

Humility goes a long way, and entitlement can be smelled from afar. The purpose of this essay is not to paint yourself as a savior of any kind, but rather to show what’s important to you in your non-academic life, and how you approach solving real-world and interpersonal problems. 

3. Avoid clichés.

It may be tempting to quote famous people, but doing so can easily seem like a shortcut, plus it shows little of who you are. Try also to steer clear of trite and vague life lesson lines such as “I learned that people can be happy with so little,” or “I learned the importance of giving back.” Not only do they carry a tone of privilege, they are also sweeping general conclusions and don’t convey anything specific of what you learned. 

Community service is only a part of the college application process, which can be daunting and confusing. CollegeVine will help you navigate each step of the process, from building a college list, to calculating your chances at each school using our chancing engine. Create your free account and get started now !

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sample essay about community service

How to Write the Community Essay: Complete Guide + Examples

Community essay prompts are appearing more and more on college applications. Learn how to write the community essay with College Essay Guy’s complete guide equipped with real community essay examples.


  • Step 1: Decide What Community to Write About
  • Step 2: The BEABIES Exercise
  • Step 3: Pick a Structure (Narrative or Montage)
  • Step 4: Write a Draft!


On the Common Application, a number of colleges have begun to require that students respond to a supplemental essay question that sounds something like this:

Tell us a bit more about a community you are a part of.

Here is the exact wording from a few schools:

University of Michigan: “Everyone belongs to many different communities and/or groups defined by (among other things) shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage. Choose one of the communities to which you belong, and describe that community and your place within it. (250 words)”

Duke University: “We seek a talented, engaged student body that embodies the wide range of human experience; we believe that the diversity of our students makes our community stronger. If you'd like to share a perspective you bring or experiences you've had to help us understand you better—perhaps related to a community you belong to, your sexual orientation or gender identity, or your family or cultural background—we encourage you to do so. Real people are reading your application, and we want to do our best to understand and appreciate the real people applying. (250 words)

(Old) Brown University: “Tell us about a place or community you call home. How has it shaped your perspective? (250 words)

I love this essay question. 

Why? Because, while this essay is largely asking about your place within that community, it is a great opportunity to share more about you, and how you will most likely engage with that community (or other communities) on your future college campus.

It’s a chance to say: “Here’s how I connect with folks in this community. And if accepted to your college, I’ll probably be active in getting involved with that same community and others on your college campus.”

And colleges want students who are going to be active in engaging with their community.

How to Write The Community Essay

Step 1: decide what community you want to write about.

How? This may seem obvious, but it can be really helpful to first brainstorm the communities you’re already a part of. 

Here’s how:

Create a “communities” chart by listing all the communities you’re a part of. Keep in mind that communities can be defined by...

Place: groups of people who live/work/play near one another

Action: groups of people who create change in the world by building, doing, or solving something together (Examples: Black Lives Matter, Girls Who Code, March for Our Lives)

Interest: groups of people coming together based on shared interest, experience, or expertise

Circumstance: groups of people brought together either by chance or external events/situations

Use four columns in your chart, like this. 

Screenshot (122).png

Your turn. 

What communities are you a part of? 

Spend 5-10 minutes making a list of as many as you can think of. 

In fact, here’s a simple GoogleDoc you can download and fill in right now.

Once you’ve completed that exercise for several of the communities you are a part of, you might start to see one community seems to be the most obvious one to write about. 

Go with the one that you feel gives the best chance to help you share more about yourself.

Step 2: Use the BEABIES exercise to generate your essay content

Once you’ve chosen a community or two, map out your content using the BEABIES Exercise . That exercise asks:

What did you actually do in that community? (Tip: use active verbs like “organized” and “managed” to clarify your responsibilities).

What kinds of problems did you solve (personally, locally, or globally)?

What specific impact did you have?

What did you learn (skills, qualities, values)? 

How did you apply the lessons you learned in and outside of that community?

Don’t skip that step. It’s important.

Step 3: Pick a structure (Narrative or Montage)

The Narrative Structure . This structure works well for students who have faced a challenge in this community. Otherwise, the Montage Structure works well.

Consider answering these three questions in your essay if you choose the Narrative Structure: 

What challenge did you face?

What did you do about it? 

What did you learn?

Here’s an example of a narrative “community” essay based on a challenge that tackles those three questions, roughly in order:

Community Essay Example: East Meets West

I look around my room, dimly lit by an orange light. On my desk, a framed picture of an Asian family beaming their smiles, buried among US history textbooks and The Great Gatsby. A Korean ballad streams from two tiny computer speakers. Pamphlets of American colleges scattered on the floor. A cold December wind wafts a strange infusion of ramen and leftover pizza. On the wall in the far back, a Korean flag hangs besides a Led Zeppelin poster. Do I consider myself Korean or American? A few years back, I would have replied: “Neither.” The frustrating moments of miscommunication, the stifling homesickness, and the impossible dilemma of deciding between the Korean or American table in the dining hall, all fueled my identity crisis. Standing in the “Foreign Passports” section at JFK, I have always felt out of place. Sure, I held a Korean passport in my hands, and I loved kimchi and Yuna Kim and knew the Korean Anthem by heart. But I also loved macaroni and cheese and LeBron. Deep inside, I feared I’d labeled by my airport customs category: a foreigner everywhere. This ambiguity, however, has granted me the opportunity to absorb the best of both worlds. Look at my dorm room. This mélange of cultures in my East-meets-West room embodies the diversity that characterizes my international student life. I’ve learned to accept my “ambiguity” as “diversity,” as a third-culture student embracing both identities. Do I consider myself Korean or American? Now, I can proudly answer: “Both.” — — —

(250 words)

While this author doesn’t go into too much depth on the “What did you do about it?” question named above, we do get a sense of the challenge he faced and what he learned.

For more on how to use the narrative structure, check out the free guide to writing the personal statement.

The Montage Structure. This is another potential structure, often times great for essays that don’t necessarily focus on a particular challenge. 

Here’s a great example:

Community Essay Example: Storytellers

Storytellers (Montage Structure)

I belong to a community of storytellers. Throughout my childhood, my mother and I spent countless hours immersed in the magical land of bedtime stories. We took daring adventures and explored far away lands. Imagination ran wild, characters came to life, and I became acquainted with heroes and lessons that continue to inspire me today. It was a ritual that I will never forget. In school I met many other storytellers­­­­—teachers, coaches, and fellow students whose stories taught me valuable lessons and enabled me to share stories of my own. My stories took shape through my involvement with theatre. I have learned that telling stories can be just as powerful as hearing them. When I tell a story, I can shape the world I live in and share my deepest emotions with the audience. This is exactly why I love theatre so much. The audience can relate to the story in many of the same powerful ways that I do. I love to perform with my theatre class to entertain and educate young audiences throughout my community. To tell our stories, we travel to elementary and middle schools performing plays that help educate younger students of the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and bullying. As storytellers, we aim to touch lives and better the world around us through our stories. — — —

(219 words)

To write this essay, I recommend the “uncommon connections” exercise.

The Uncommon Connections Exercise

First: Use the Values Exercise at this link to brainstorm predictable values that other students might describe in their essay and then vow not to use those values. 

Second : Identify 3-4 uncommon connections (values other students would be unlikely to think of) and give an example of each.

Third : Describe one example per paragraph, perhaps in chronological order. 

Another idea: It’s also possible to combine the narrative and montage structures by describing a challenge WHILE also describing a range of values and lessons. 

Here’s an example that does this:

Community Essay Example: The Pumpkin House (plus Ethan's analysis)

The Pumpkin House (Narrative + Montage Combo Structure)

I was raised in “The Pumpkin House.” Every Autumn, on the lawn between the sidewalk and the road, grows our pumpkin. Every summer, we procure seeds from giant pumpkins and plant them in this strip of land. Every fall, the pumpkin grows to be giant. This annual ritual became well known in the community and became the defining feature of our already quirky house. The pumpkin was not just a pumpkin, but a catalyst to creating interactions and community. Conversations often start with “aren’t you the girl in the pumpkin house?” My English teacher knew about our pumpkin and our chickens. His curiosity and weekly updates about the pumpkin helped us connect.

The author touches on the values of family and ritual in the first few sentences. She then mentions the word “community” explicitly, which clearly connects the essay to the  prompt. In the second paragraph she mentions the value of connection.

One year, we found our pumpkin splattered across the street. We were devastated; the pumpkin was part of our identity. Word spread, and people came to our house to share in our dismay. Clearly, that pumpkin enriched our life and the entire neighborhoods’.

Here she introduces the problem. Then she raises the stakes: the pumpkin was part of her family’s identity as well as that of the community. 

The next morning, our patch contained twelve new pumpkins. Anonymous neighbors left these, plus, a truly gigantic 200 lb. pumpkin on our doorstep.

Describing the neighborhood’s response offers a vivid example of what makes for a great community.

Growing up, the pumpkin challenged me as I wasn’t always comfortable being the center of attention. But in retrospect, I realize that there’s a bit of magic in growing something from a seed and tending it in public. I witnessed how this act of sharing creates authentic community spirit. I wouldn’t be surprised if some day I started my own form of quirky pumpkin growing and reap the benefit of true community.

The author makes another uncommon connection in her conclusion with the unexpected idea that  “the pumpkin challenged [her].” She then uses beautiful language to reflect on the lessons she learned: “there’s a bit of magic in growing something from a seed and tending it in public.” 

Step 4: Write a first draft!

It sometimes helps to outline and draft one or two different essays on different activities, just to see which community might end up being a better topic for your essay. 

Not sure? Share your drafts with a friend or teacher and ask this question:

Which of these essays tells you more about me/my core values, helps me stand out, and shows that I’ll engage actively with other communities in college.

Happy writing.

sample essay about community service

57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples

🏆 best titles about community service, 👍 simple & easy research titles about community, 🎓 most interesting community topics to write about.

  • Community service should be required by most citizens of a country One of the reasons is because President Clinton has been explaining the importance of volunteering to the community by the American students and the public.
  • Community Service as a Form of Correction Of these alternatives, community service has been one of the most employed and therefore opened a room for debates with the proponents feeling that the option is a remedy to all the prison problems while […] We will write a custom essay specifically for you by our professional experts 808 writers online Learn More
  • Concept of the Community Services in Modern Society Community services are defined as the services which are performed for the benefit of the society on volunteering basis. The advantages of the community services cannot be questioned, still, making such service mandatory for graduation […]
  • Significant Voluntary Sector Organisations Challenges in Public Service Delivery The main concern raised in the conference was a discussion of the role of voluntary organisations in the delivery of public services.
  • Community Service: Mandatory or Voluntary? Engaging in community service not only helps in transforming the behavior of young people but it is also helpful to adults.
  • S.H.A.P.E. Community Service and Programs The organization emphasizes unity, self-determination, creativity, faith, and teamwork as the basis of its work.S.H.A.P.E.programs target young and elderly generations and aim to improve the quality of life of particular age category individuals and the […]
  • Community Service Experience: Homeless Shelter The shelter also organizes outreach and humanitarian work during the day to ensure that homeless people in the community know about the shelter and the services it provides.
  • Most Satisfying Experience Related to Community Service I will serve as a role model for other people and they, following my example, will also get committed to the temple.
  • Dayton Children’s Hospital and Community Service Dayton Children’s is committed to improve quality of life of people living in the community. This report provides more detailed information on the organization’s activities and monetary amounts of community benefit.
  • Mondawmin Community Service Delivery Plan Through the service delivery plan, the relevant authorities in the region will put in place the relevant measures for reducing or eliminating the above predicament in the region.
  • Addressing the Impacts of Undergraduates’ Engagement in Community Service on Stakeholders It is important to note that as much as the community and the individual stands to benefit from community service, there are various challenges facing the provision of this service in a given community.
  • Illuminate Diabetes Event Design Finally, after these special performances, there will be distribution of fliers with information on diabetes and encouragement to get tested for diabetes and thus reach the climax of the event.
  • Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board The Hampton-Newport Community Services Board offers a broad range of mental well-being and drug abuse services and care for people with mental and developmental disorders. The agency works together with certified psychoanalysts and psychologists in […]
  • Volunteering in Leisure Sector The review shows that individuals are motivated due to the benefits that come with volunteering in the sector and the nature of the activity.
  • Volunteering for Horizon House: Homeless Neighbours’ Motivation to Find Jobs To understand and analyze the role of the center in changing the homeless neighbours’ life for better, it is appropriate to focus on the center’s assistance in employing neighbours and developing their job skills with […]
  • Conceptualization of the Aspect of Community Service As part of expressive the Jewish values, the aspect of creativity and innovativeness help to inspire the inner self to remain observant, responsible, and caring to the needs of neighbors and the society at large.
  • The Achievements of Peaceful Protest During the Civil Rights Movement
  • The War On Drugs And The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Long Term Effects of the Civil Rights Movement
  • African Americans And Religion During The Civil Rights Movement
  • The History of the Civil Rights Movement in the United Stats and Its Impact on African Americans
  • Analyzing the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War
  • The Impact Of Rock ‘n’ Roll On The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Importance and Impact of the Civil Rights Movement to the Public Policy
  • Women in the Civil Rights Movement
  • A History of the Civil Rights Movement and Feminist Movement in the United States
  • To What Extent Can the 1950’s Be Viewed as a Great Success for the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Historical Accuracy of the Portrayal of the Civil Rights Movement in Selma, a Drama Film by Ava DuVernay
  • A Look at Civil Rights Movement in the United States and the Role of Martin Luther
  • The Historiography Of Womens Role And Visibility In The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Relationship of Southern Jews to Blacks and the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Contradicting Outcome of the Civil Rights Movement in America
  • The Montgomery Bus Boycott And The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Role Of Police During The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Role Of The Supreme Court In The Civil Rights Movement
  • The True Face of The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Stages of the Progressive Reform in the Civil Rights Movement
  • U.S. Democracy and the Civil Rights Movement
  • Theatre in the Era of the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Importance of Students During The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Relationship between Activism and Federal Government during the Civil Rights Movement
  • Violent and Non-violent Methods of Protests Embraced by African American in the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Role and Importance of the Grassroot Organizers on the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Fight For Aid From The Civil Rights Movement
  • The Success of The Civil Rights Movement in the 1950’s
  • The Laws in the Reconstruction Era and the Civil Rights Movement
  • The New York Times And The Civil Rights Movement
  • White Resistance to the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Role of Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement
  • Understanding the Civil Rights Movement: America vs. Australia
  • Successes And Failures Of Civil Rights Movement
  • The Civil Rights Movement & the Black Middle Class
  • The Foundation of the Niagara Movement and Its Influence on the Civil Rights Movement in America
  • To What Extent Was Grass Roots Activism a Significant Reason to Why the Civil Rights Movement Grew in the 1950s and 1960s
  • The History of the Civil Rights Movement, National Association of the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
  • The Value of Studying the Civil Rights Movement
  • The Effect of Society on the World of Doubt and the Effects of the Civil Rights Movement
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2023, November 30). 57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples.

"57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples." IvyPanda , 30 Nov. 2023,

IvyPanda . (2023) '57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples'. 30 November.

IvyPanda . 2023. "57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples." November 30, 2023.

1. IvyPanda . "57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples." November 30, 2023.


IvyPanda . "57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples." November 30, 2023.

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How to write the community service essay

Whether in an interview or an essay, all college applicants should be prepared to talk about the ways they have worked to improve their schools and communities. No college wants to admit a passive recipient of community, they would all much prefer to admit an active and engaged citizen who understands that community requires contribution. Use this essay to define a community (see the community essay for more examples of this) and then talk specifically about how you helped to make that community better. You have a lot of latitude here to define your terms and to define the boundaries of your engagement. Don’t pass up any opportunity to share your active citizenship. These essays will vary in length but are often a “mid-size” supplement of 250-350 words.

Example Community Service Questions:

  • U of California: What have you done to make your school or community a better place?
  • MIT: At MIT, we bring people together to better the lives of others. MIT students work to improve their communities in different ways, from tackling the world’s biggest challenges to being a good friend. Describe one way in which you have contributed to your community, whether in your family, the classroom, your neighborhood, etc.  
  • Princeton: Princeton has a longstanding commitment to service and civic engagement. Tell us how your story intersects (or will intersect) with these ideals.


This is an important question! If you have an option to select an essay question among several prompts, choose to write this essay! Why? Colleges want to know that you have made your community a better place. This makes you a compelling applicant. Why else? Because you have done something that can answer this question – even if to you, right now, it looks small in comparison to solving global challenges.

“Community” can be defined however you choose! Be sure to use a few words of this essay to outline the boundaries of the community you identify.


Additional tips and tricks:.

  • Column 1: Identify the problem. Describe the challenge you were (or are currently) facing. The problem could be something global, like an environmental issue, or something more local, like a lack of creative opportunities in your high school.
  • Column 2: Raise the stakes. Help us understand: Why was (or is) overcoming this challenge important? What might happen if this problem went (or goes) unchecked?  
  • Column 3: Articulate the vision. What might the world look like if this problem were solved? Inspire us to dream with you.
  • Column 4: Describe what you did. Tell us the specific things you (or you and your team) did to solve the problem.
  • Column 5: Clarify your role.   Describe your particular involvement. Why were (or are) you crucial to the project’s or club’s success?
  • Column 6: Share the impact you had, lessons you learned, or values you gained. Provide specific evidence that gives us a sense that your work mattered.

Don't forget to use active verbs! Additionally, you can absolutely re-use this essay (being mindful of word count) to respond to multiple community service prompts from different schools.

sample essay about community service

Elise holds a BA in Political Philosophy from Williams College and an MEd in Administration & Social Policy from Harvard. She has spent the past twenty years working in top-tier independent schools.

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Alexis College Expert

How To Write Your Community Service Essay

sample essay about community service

Are you a student looking to make a lasting impression on college admissions officers with your college essay ? Do you want to stand out among other applicants and showcase your commitment to making a positive impact in your community?

If so, this article is for you. We'll explore the ins and outs of writing a standout community service essay, helping you highlight your personal growth, leadership skills, and empathy.

Let's dive in and discover how to write a truly impactful community service essay.

Understanding the Community Service Essay

sample essay about community service

To understand the Community Service Essay, you need to familiarize yourself with its requirements and purpose. The Community Service Essay is a crucial component of many college applications and scholarships. It provides an opportunity for high school students to showcase their involvement in service projects and volunteering, highlighting their dedication to making a positive impact on their communities.

College admissions officers value community service as it demonstrates a commitment to personal growth and the betterment of society.

When writing your Community Service Essay, it's important to choose a specific experience that's substantial and transformative. Consider long-term commitments rather than one-off experiences, as they often have a more profound impact. Start your essay with an engaging anecdote to captivate the reader's attention. Use evocative examples to illustrate your work, and quantify your accomplishments when possible. Highlight the lessons you learned and how the skills gained will be applied in the future. Maintain a humble tone and avoid clichés or quoting famous people.

Community service isn't only important for college admission chances but also for personal development. It enhances skills such as leadership and teamwork, builds empathy and understanding towards others, and provides opportunities for networking and building connections. Engaging in community service showcases a well-rounded personality and sets applicants apart from their peers.

Examples of community service activities include volunteering at local shelters or food banks, tutoring underprivileged students, organizing fundraising events for charitable causes, and participating in environmental conservation projects or community clean-up initiatives.

To find community service opportunities, research local non-profit organizations and charities, contact schools and community centers, join clubs or organizations with community service initiatives, and utilize online platforms. Network with friends, family, and community members for suggestions.

Tips for Writing a Standout Community Service Essay

Your essay's standout potential can be maximized by following these tips for writing a compelling community service essay :

Brainstorm ideas for a specific topic that's substantial, transformative, and highlights personal qualities.

Choose an experience that changed or challenged your perspective.

Share responsibilities and accomplishments, quantifying the work when possible.

When writing your community service essay for college, it's important to showcase your experiences and how they've helped your community.

Start by brainstorming ideas for a specific topic that's meaningful to you and demonstrates personal growth. Choose an experience that had a significant impact on your perspective, whether it challenged your beliefs or opened your eyes to new possibilities.

When describing your involvement, be sure to highlight your responsibilities and accomplishments, providing specific examples and quantifying the work whenever possible.

Importance and Benefits of Community Service

sample essay about community service

Engaging in community service offers numerous benefits, including personal growth, enhanced empathy, and the development of valuable skills. Community service allows students to step outside their comfort zones and connect with others in meaningful ways. By volunteering and helping others, students have the opportunity to develop important life skills such as communication, teamwork, and problem-solving. They also gain a better understanding of the challenges faced by different communities and develop empathy towards those who are less fortunate.

Participating in community service can also enhance college admissions chances. Admissions officers often look for well-rounded individuals who are actively engaged in their communities. A strong community service essay can showcase a student's commitment, dedication, and passion for making a positive impact on society. It can also highlight unique experiences and skills that differentiate the student from their peers.

Furthermore, community service allows students to contribute to the betterment of society. By volunteering their time and efforts, they can make a tangible difference in the lives of others and help address important social issues. Whether it's volunteering at a local shelter, tutoring underprivileged students, or organizing fundraising events, community service provides opportunities for students to give back and create positive change.

Examples of Community Service Activities

Participating in community service activities involves volunteering at a local shelter or food bank, tutoring underprivileged students, organizing fundraising events for charitable causes, participating in environmental conservation projects, and assisting in community clean-up initiatives. These activities provide opportunities for service learning, where individuals can actively engage with their communities and make a positive impact.

sample essay about community service

Examples of community service activities include:

Volunteering at a local shelter or food bank: This involves helping provide food and shelter to those in need, offering support and assistance to the homeless or individuals facing food insecurity.

Tutoring underprivileged students: By volunteering as a tutor, individuals can help bridge the educational gap and provide academic support to students who may not have access to additional resources.

Organizing fundraising events for charitable causes: This activity allows individuals to raise funds for nonprofit organizations and contribute to causes such as healthcare, education, or disaster relief.

These activities not only benefit the community but also provide individuals with valuable experiences and skills. By getting involved in community service, individuals can develop empathy, leadership, and teamwork skills, while also making a difference in the lives of others.

Finding Community Service Opportunities

sample essay about community service

To discover community service opportunities, begin by researching local non-profit organizations and charities. These organizations often have programs and initiatives that require volunteers. Additionally, schools and community centers may offer volunteering options that cater to different interests and time commitments. Consider reaching out to these institutions to inquire about their community service opportunities.

Another way to find volunteer opportunities is by joining clubs or organizations that have a focus on community service. These groups often organize various activities throughout the year, providing you with multiple chances to get involved.

Online platforms can also be a valuable resource for finding community service opportunities. Websites like VolunteerMatch and Idealist allow you to search for volunteer positions based on your location and interests.

Lastly, don't underestimate the power of networking. Reach out to friends, family, and community members for suggestions and recommendations. They may be aware of specific community service opportunities that align with your interests and goals.

Writing a standout community service essay is a valuable opportunity for students to showcase their personal growth, leadership skills, and empathy.

By sharing their experiences and lessons learned from giving back to their community, applicants can make a compelling case for their admission or scholarship application.

Through this essay , students can highlight the importance and benefits of community service, while also demonstrating their commitment to making a positive impact in their communities.

By following the tips and examples provided in this guide, students can write an impressive community service essay that will captivate readers and leave a lasting impression.

sample essay about community service

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Community Service Essay - Frequently Asked Questions

How can i make my community service essay stand out among other applicants.

To make your community service essay stand out, choose a substantial and transformative experience. Start with an engaging anecdote, use evocative examples, and highlight personal development. Stay humble, avoid clichés, and address all aspects of the prompt.

What Are Some Common Mistakes to Avoid When Writing a Community Service Essay?

When writing your community service essay, avoid listing everything that happened and focus on the most telling details. Don't exaggerate the impact, use vague life lessons, or disregard the prompt. Stay humble, concise, and address all required aspects.

How Can Community Service Enhance Personal Development and Growth?

Community service enhances personal development and growth by providing opportunities to learn new skills, gain perspective, and develop empathy. Engaging with the community fosters character development and a sense of purpose, ultimately shaping you into a well-rounded individual.

What Are Some Unique Community Service Activities That I Can Participate In?

You can participate in unique community service activities like volunteering at a local shelter or food bank, tutoring underprivileged students, organizing fundraising events for charitable causes, participating in environmental conservation projects, or assisting in community clean-up initiatives.

Where Can I Find Community Service Opportunities in My Local Area?

To find community service opportunities in your local area, research non-profit organizations, contact schools and community centers, join clubs with service initiatives, and utilize online platforms. Network with friends and family for suggestions.

Why Personal Growth Matters in Your College Application Essay

How to write an overcoming challenges college application essay.

👨🏻‍🦼 Community Service Essays

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sample essay about community service

Community Development Project: Ending HIV Case Study Project

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Analysis and Action for Community Health Nursing

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What is the best site to search for quality community service paper samples?

Grademiners is your ideal starting point in the composition of essays on this topic. You can find many interesting essays on community service to improve your understanding and give you content structuring tips.

How to use community service essay samples to create my own paper?

We’ve uploaded these community service essay samples to our open database, helping all students in their studies and essay composition. You can borrow some tips on structuring topic choice and evidence use from these model works.

Is it allowed to submit your samples as mine?

You can download the samples and use them for academic guidance and reference. But don’t try to submit them to your professor; they will never pass the Turnitin check, as they are open-source texts.

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Community service is one of the corrective behavior alternatives that help people avoid incarceration for minor crimes and problematic conduct. Another meaning of this concept is a form of volunteering to help people in need. We’ve compiled a series of works prepared by our writers to shed light on the topic and explain how you can examine it in competent, informative essays. If you have received such an assignment and don’t know how to approach this subject, welcome to the Grademiners samples database.

Broad Choice of Essays about Community Service

Community service is a valuable sphere of human activity, both in the United States of America and globally. Medical and social workers typically provide community services to people requiring help, such as poor households, immigrants, and refugees, making a strong impact on their life quality. So, writing on this sensitive subject may be challenging for many reasons. First, you need to understand the ins and outs of this profession and sound competent and ethical when presenting it on paper. Second, you should know the issues and challenges target populations face. All these issues can make writing a well-informed and data-backed essay a problem.

Find a Suitable Community Service Paper Example Here

Writing something valuable on a community service topic from scratch may be challenging. You should first analyze the community service resources and local opportunities to see what this subject means in your community. Next, you should pick a relevant topic that would be of real interest to your audience. Here are some ways to use our database as a great source of help and guidance.

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Knowledgeable writers have carefully crafted all community service essays examples presented in our database. So, you can use any sample as a model for your own work.

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Tons of Community Service Essay Examples at Your Service

Here you go with a broad range of community service college essay examples covering multiple dimensions and perspectives in this academic area. Even if you haven’t found what you need and face a more narrowly focused assignment, don’t hesitate to contact us for help. We can compose any essay about community service from scratch based on your individual requirements.

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My Community Service Experience

Table of contents, the humble beginnings: the first step, building bridges: interpersonal connections, the broadening horizons: venturing beyond, the challenges and introspections, lessons learned: beyond the tangible, conclusion: the journey continues.

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How to Write the Community Essay – Guide with Examples (2023-24)

September 6, 2023

community essay examples

Students applying to college this year will inevitably confront the community essay. In fact, most students will end up responding to several community essay prompts for different schools. For this reason, you should know more than simply how to approach the community essay as a genre. Rather, you will want to learn how to decipher the nuances of each particular prompt, in order to adapt your response appropriately. In this article, we’ll show you how to do just that, through several community essay examples. These examples will also demonstrate how to avoid cliché and make the community essay authentically and convincingly your own.

Emphasis on Community

Do keep in mind that inherent in the word “community” is the idea of multiple people. The personal statement already provides you with a chance to tell the college admissions committee about yourself as an individual. The community essay, however, suggests that you depict yourself among others. You can use this opportunity to your advantage by showing off interpersonal skills, for example. Or, perhaps you wish to relate a moment that forged important relationships. This in turn will indicate what kind of connections you’ll make in the classroom with college peers and professors.

Apart from comprising numerous people, a community can appear in many shapes and sizes. It could be as small as a volleyball team, or as large as a diaspora. It could fill a town soup kitchen, or spread across five boroughs. In fact, due to the internet, certain communities today don’t even require a physical place to congregate. Communities can form around a shared identity, shared place, shared hobby, shared ideology, or shared call to action. They can even arise due to a shared yet unforeseen circumstance.

What is the Community Essay All About?             

In a nutshell, the community essay should exhibit three things:

  • An aspect of yourself, 2. in the context of a community you belonged to, and 3. how this experience may shape your contribution to the community you’ll join in college.

It may look like a fairly simple equation: 1 + 2 = 3. However, each college will word their community essay prompt differently, so it’s important to look out for additional variables. One college may use the community essay as a way to glimpse your core values. Another may use the essay to understand how you would add to diversity on campus. Some may let you decide in which direction to take it—and there are many ways to go!

To get a better idea of how the prompts differ, let’s take a look at some real community essay prompts from the current admission cycle.

Sample 2023-2024 Community Essay Prompts

1) brown university.

“Students entering Brown often find that making their home on College Hill naturally invites reflection on where they came from. Share how an aspect of your growing up has inspired or challenged you, and what unique contributions this might allow you to make to the Brown community. (200-250 words)”

A close reading of this prompt shows that Brown puts particular emphasis on place. They do this by using the words “home,” “College Hill,” and “where they came from.” Thus, Brown invites writers to think about community through the prism of place. They also emphasize the idea of personal growth or change, through the words “inspired or challenged you.” Therefore, Brown wishes to see how the place you grew up in has affected you. And, they want to know how you in turn will affect their college community.

“NYU was founded on the belief that a student’s identity should not dictate the ability for them to access higher education. That sense of opportunity for all students, of all backgrounds, remains a part of who we are today and a critical part of what makes us a world-class university. Our community embraces diversity, in all its forms, as a cornerstone of the NYU experience.

We would like to better understand how your experiences would help us to shape and grow our diverse community. Please respond in 250 words or less.”

Here, NYU places an emphasis on students’ “identity,” “backgrounds,” and “diversity,” rather than any physical place. (For some students, place may be tied up in those ideas.) Furthermore, while NYU doesn’t ask specifically how identity has changed the essay writer, they do ask about your “experience.” Take this to mean that you can still recount a specific moment, or several moments, that work to portray your particular background. You should also try to link your story with NYU’s values of inclusivity and opportunity.

3) University of Washington

“Our families and communities often define us and our individual worlds. Community might refer to your cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood or school, sports team or club, co-workers, etc. Describe the world you come from and how you, as a product of it, might add to the diversity of the UW. (300 words max) Tip: Keep in mind that the UW strives to create a community of students richly diverse in cultural backgrounds, experiences, values and viewpoints.”

UW ’s community essay prompt may look the most approachable, for they help define the idea of community. You’ll notice that most of their examples (“families,” “cultural group, extended family, religious group, neighborhood”…) place an emphasis on people. This may clue you in on their desire to see the relationships you’ve made. At the same time, UW uses the words “individual” and “richly diverse.” They, like NYU, wish to see how you fit in and stand out, in order to boost campus diversity.

Writing Your First Community Essay

Begin by picking which community essay you’ll write first. (For practical reasons, you’ll probably want to go with whichever one is due earliest.) Spend time doing a close reading of the prompt, as we’ve done above. Underline key words. Try to interpret exactly what the prompt is asking through these keywords.

Next, brainstorm. I recommend doing this on a blank piece of paper with a pencil. Across the top, make a row of headings. These might be the communities you’re a part of, or the components that make up your identity. Then, jot down descriptive words underneath in each column—whatever comes to you. These words may invoke people and experiences you had with them, feelings, moments of growth, lessons learned, values developed, etc. Now, narrow in on the idea that offers the richest material and that corresponds fully with the prompt.

Lastly, write! You’ll definitely want to describe real moments, in vivid detail. This will keep your essay original, and help you avoid cliché. However, you’ll need to summarize the experience and answer the prompt succinctly, so don’t stray too far into storytelling mode.

How To Adapt Your Community Essay

Once your first essay is complete, you’ll need to adapt it to the other colleges involving community essays on your list. Again, you’ll want to turn to the prompt for a close reading, and recognize what makes this prompt different from the last. For example, let’s say you’ve written your essay for UW about belonging to your swim team, and how the sports dynamics shaped you. Adapting that essay to Brown’s prompt could involve more of a focus on place. You may ask yourself, how was my swim team in Alaska different than the swim teams we competed against in other states?

Once you’ve adapted the content, you’ll also want to adapt the wording to mimic the prompt. For example, let’s say your UW essay states, “Thinking back to my years in the pool…” As you adapt this essay to Brown’s prompt, you may notice that Brown uses the word “reflection.” Therefore, you might change this sentence to “Reflecting back on my years in the pool…” While this change is minute, it cleverly signals to the reader that you’ve paid attention to the prompt, and are giving that school your full attention.

What to Avoid When Writing the Community Essay  

  • Avoid cliché. Some students worry that their idea is cliché, or worse, that their background or identity is cliché. However, what makes an essay cliché is not the content, but the way the content is conveyed. This is where your voice and your descriptions become essential.
  • Avoid giving too many examples. Stick to one community, and one or two anecdotes arising from that community that allow you to answer the prompt fully.
  • Don’t exaggerate or twist facts. Sometimes students feel they must make themselves sound more “diverse” than they feel they are. Luckily, diversity is not a feeling. Likewise, diversity does not simply refer to one’s heritage. If the prompt is asking about your identity or background, you can show the originality of your experiences through your actions and your thinking.

Community Essay Examples and Analysis

Brown university community essay example.

I used to hate the NYC subway. I’ve taken it since I was six, going up and down Manhattan, to and from school. By high school, it was a daily nightmare. Spending so much time underground, underneath fluorescent lighting, squashed inside a rickety, rocking train car among strangers, some of whom wanted to talk about conspiracy theories, others who had bedbugs or B.O., or who manspread across two seats, or bickered—it wore me out. The challenge of going anywhere seemed absurd. I dreaded the claustrophobia and disgruntlement.

Yet the subway also inspired my understanding of community. I will never forget the morning I saw a man, several seats away, slide out of his seat and hit the floor. The thump shocked everyone to attention. What we noticed: he appeared drunk, possibly homeless. I was digesting this when a second man got up and, through a sort of awkward embrace, heaved the first man back into his seat. The rest of us had stuck to subway social codes: don’t step out of line. Yet this second man’s silent actions spoke loudly. They said, “I care.”

That day I realized I belong to a group of strangers. What holds us together is our transience, our vulnerabilities, and a willingness to assist. This community is not perfect but one in motion, a perpetual work-in-progress. Now I make it my aim to hold others up. I plan to contribute to the Brown community by helping fellow students and strangers in moments of precariousness.    

Brown University Community Essay Example Analysis

Here the student finds an original way to write about where they come from. The subway is not their home, yet it remains integral to ideas of belonging. The student shows how a community can be built between strangers, in their responsibility toward each other. The student succeeds at incorporating key words from the prompt (“challenge,” “inspired” “Brown community,” “contribute”) into their community essay.

UW Community Essay Example

I grew up in Hawaii, a world bound by water and rich in diversity. In school we learned that this sacred land was invaded, first by Captain Cook, then by missionaries, whalers, traders, plantation owners, and the U.S. government. My parents became part of this problematic takeover when they moved here in the 90s. The first community we knew was our church congregation. At the beginning of mass, we shook hands with our neighbors. We held hands again when we sang the Lord’s Prayer. I didn’t realize our church wasn’t “normal” until our diocese was informed that we had to stop dancing hula and singing Hawaiian hymns. The order came from the Pope himself.

Eventually, I lost faith in God and organized institutions. I thought the banning of hula—an ancient and pure form of expression—seemed medieval, ignorant, and unfair, given that the Hawaiian religion had already been stamped out. I felt a lack of community and a distrust for any place in which I might find one. As a postcolonial inhabitant, I could never belong to the Hawaiian culture, no matter how much I valued it. Then, I was shocked to learn that Queen Ka’ahumanu herself had eliminated the Kapu system, a strict code of conduct in which women were inferior to men. Next went the Hawaiian religion. Queen Ka’ahumanu burned all the temples before turning to Christianity, hoping this religion would offer better opportunities for her people.

Community Essay (Continued)

I’m not sure what to make of this history. Should I view Queen Ka’ahumanu as a feminist hero, or another failure in her islands’ tragedy? Nothing is black and white about her story, but she did what she thought was beneficial to her people, regardless of tradition. From her story, I’ve learned to accept complexity. I can disagree with institutionalized religion while still believing in my neighbors. I am a product of this place and their presence. At UW, I plan to add to campus diversity through my experience, knowing that diversity comes with contradictions and complications, all of which should be approached with an open and informed mind.

UW Community Essay Example Analysis

This student also manages to weave in words from the prompt (“family,” “community,” “world,” “product of it,” “add to the diversity,” etc.). Moreover, the student picks one of the examples of community mentioned in the prompt, (namely, a religious group,) and deepens their answer by addressing the complexity inherent in the community they’ve been involved in. While the student displays an inner turmoil about their identity and participation, they find a way to show how they’d contribute to an open-minded campus through their values and intellectual rigor.

What’s Next

For more on supplemental essays and essay writing guides, check out the following articles:

  • How to Write the Why This Major Essay + Example
  • How to Write the Overcoming Challenges Essay + Example
  • How to Start a College Essay – 12 Techniques and Tips
  • College Essay

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Home — Essay Samples — Life — Community Service — The Importance of Community Service for College Students


The Importance of Community Service for College Students

  • Categories: Community Service

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Words: 500 |

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Words: 500 | Page: 1 | 3 min read

Table of contents

Personal growth and development, academic benefits, career development.

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sample essay about community service

Community Service essay sample

Community service is a non-paying job of about 200 to 60 hours performed by one person or a group of people for the benefit of their community, but should it really be mandatory? Community service is different from volunteering, since it is not always performed on a voluntary basis. It may be performed for a variety of reasons, the most common one is mandatory community service hours to graduate from high school.  But education should not be limited to the classroom and that community service is a learning experience.

On average, when people think about community service, they assume that volunteering is just ‘hours we need to be able to graduate’ and that is it. Community service is more than just hours; community service is based on the acts performed by someone with the purpose of helping or bringing benefits to his or her community. People frequently compare community service as a punishment, however, community service is the vital force to many communities since they depend on the service made by volunteers

Supporters of the community service project argue that if students fulfill their hours of community service in high school, they will develop a healthy strong community. They believe that students will become better aware of what the real world is like by doing community service and giving back to the community. Students will learn valuable life lessons by participating in community service and will feel good about themselves for helping others in need. Another great reason to volunteer is that it can benefit a professional resume. Many employers and schools often look well upon volunteer experience.

Order custom essay Community Service essay sample with free plagiarism report

But protestors have struck with a very solid argument, they think that community service is being forced upon students. Students who are forced to do community service will grow to dislike it, making them less likely to volunteer in their communities after college.

Aside from the studying benefit, volunteering helps build your moral character. In Source 4, the writer says, “Community service situates our moral center” and that it “teaches us through experience”.

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Your chance of acceptance, your chancing factors, extracurriculars, examples of community service scholarship essays.

Does anyone have any examples of successful community service scholarship essays? I'm looking for inspiration and want to get a sense of what helped other students win scholarships based on their service experiences.

Hey there! While I unfortunately don't have any examples on hand, I can definitely provide you with some general tips on how to make your community service scholarship essay stand out:

1. Choose a unique experience: Pick a community service project that is meaningful to you and had a significant impact on others. Your passion and dedication to serving your community shine through in your essay.

2. Focus on personal growth: Reflect on how your community service experiences have shaped your values, taught you important lessons, or influenced your personal growth. You want the broader relevance of this story to your growth and personality to be clear.

3. Use vivid anecdotes: Sharing specific examples and stories to illustrate your points will bring your essay to life and make it more engaging.

4. Demonstrate leadership: If you took on a leadership role during your community service projects, definitely mention that in your essay. Show how you led a team or initiated a project, and how that leadership contributed to the project's success.

5. Quantify your impact: If possible, include some numbers or statistics to illustrate the positive effect your service had on the community. This concrete evidence emphasizes your commitment and accomplishments.

6. Take advantage of CollegeVine's resources: While there aren't any examples included, CollegeVine's blog does have a general breakdown of how to approach this kind of essay: And they also offer both a free peer essay review service and paid reviews by expert college admissions advisors - sometimes, an objective look at your essay from someone who doesn't know you, or anything about your community involvement, is the best way of figuring out whether your impact is coming across.

Overall, be genuine and authentic, and focus on painting a vivid picture of your community service journey. By doing so, you'll be able to showcase your dedication and impact, which could help you stand out in the scholarship application process. Good luck!

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  1. How to Write a Great Community Service Essay

    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.

  2. Essays About Community Service: Top 5 Examples Plus Prompts

    5 Top Examples On Essays About Community Service. 1. Essay on Community Service and Its Importance by Joni Kim. "The service helps the group of people in need, for example, senior citizens, children, people with disability and the likes. Sometimes community service is geared towards solving problems related to the needs of community members ...

  3. Community Service Essay

    2. This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples. Cite This Essay. Download. Community service is a rewarding experience that helps build stronger, more connected communities. By dedicating our time and resources to benefit our neighbors and those ...

  4. Tips for Writing a Standout Community Service Essay

    The community service essay is an essay that describes the initiatives you have taken outside of the classroom to benefit your community. In a 2018 survey of 264 admissions leaders across the US, 58% said that community service is a tie-breaker between students who are otherwise equally qualified.

  5. How To Write A Community Service Essay That Gets You Accepted

    One crucial step in showcasing your community service in college essays is crafting a compelling narrative that highlights the impact you have made. To effectively convey the value of your community work, it's important to tell a storythat demonstrates your ability to create change and build relationships. When crafting your narrative, focus on ...

  6. How to Write the Community Essay: Complete Guide + Examples

    Introduction. How to Write The Community Essay. Step 1: Decide What Community to Write About. Step 2: The BEABIES Exercise. Step 3: Pick a Structure (Narrative or Montage) Community Essay Example: East Meets West. Community Essay Example: Storytellers. The Uncommon Connections Exercise.

  7. 57 Community Service Essay Topics and Examples

    Most Satisfying Experience Related to Community Service. I will serve as a role model for other people and they, following my example, will also get committed to the temple. Dayton Children's Hospital and Community Service. Dayton Children's is committed to improve quality of life of people living in the community.

  8. PDF The 5-Step Personal Essay Writing Guide: Community Service

    Choose one to two main points to use in STEP 2 of this worksheet. Also, weave in some of your other great answers and stories into your essay in STEP 3. 2: Start Your Essay with a Clear Focus. Your essay needs to be focused like a laser beam, so begin by telling your reader, "THIS is what I'm going to tell you about.".

  9. CC

    Get a blank sheet of paper, turn it horizontally, and create these columns: Column 1: Identify the problem. Describe the challenge you were (or are currently) facing. The problem could be something global, like an environmental issue, or something more local, like a lack of creative opportunities in your high school. Column 2: Raise the stakes.

  10. How To Write Your Community Service Essay

    To make your community service essay stand out, choose a substantial and transformative experience. Start with an engaging anecdote, use evocative examples, and highlight personal development. Stay humble, avoid clichés, and address all aspects of the prompt.

  11. Community Service Essay Examples

    Every example community services essay available in our database is a great opportunity to assess our writers' talent, expertise, and professionalism in handling your inquiries. Study the samples to see what you will get from our team if you decide to order a custom-written paper here. Tons of Community Service Essay Examples at Your Service

  12. My Community Service Experience [Free Essay Sample], 596 words

    The Humble Beginnings: The First Step. The inception of my community service journey was during my sophomore year of high school when our class was introduced to the local orphanage that needed assistance. Initially, I perceived it as just another school activity. However, the moment I set foot in that establishment, my perspective shifted.

  13. Community Service Essay Example 2024: Best Sample

    Essay on Community Service Examples and Samples. Community service is a way to give back to society and make a positive impact. Most people share their stories of volunteering, personal experiences of service, and the role of community service in education. By reviewing our samples, you can understand how to write about the contributing to your ...

  14. The Benefits of Community Service Experience for Me

    Community carrier or volunteerism permits students to accumulate existence competencies and knowledge, as well as supply a service to these who need it most. Engaging in community service provides students with the chance to emerge as lively contributors of their community and has a lasting, high-quality have an impact on on society at large ...

  15. How to Write the Community Essay + Examples 2023-24

    Community Essay Examples and Analysis Brown University Community Essay Example. I used to hate the NYC subway. I've taken it since I was six, going up and down Manhattan, to and from school. By high school, it was a daily nightmare. Spending so much time underground, underneath fluorescent lighting, squashed inside a rickety, rocking train ...

  16. Essay on Community Service

    Download. Community service is a social welfare service activity carried out by a community to meet the material and spiritual needs of its members. Community service is not just a social spontaneous and voluntary service activity, but a guided, organized, and systematic service system. Community service is not an ordinary social service industry.

  17. The Importance of Community Service for College Students: [Essay

    Furthermore, participating in community service can help college students develop valuable leadership and communication skills. By working with others to address community needs, students learn how to collaborate effectively, take on leadership roles, and communicate their ideas and perspectives clearly. These important skills can benefit ...

  18. Essay on Volunteering and Community Service

    This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples. Community service is work done by a person or group of people that benefits others. Taking part and volunteering in community service, teaches me compassion and understanding.

  19. Community Service Reflection Essay

    1. This essay sample was donated by a student to help the academic community. Papers provided by EduBirdie writers usually outdo students' samples. Cite This Essay. Download. I have been a volunteer at this community service, Pertiwi Soup Kitchen, which is giving food and drinks or providing health services to the homeless in two places.

  20. Community Service essay sample (300 Words)

    Engaging in Community Service Can Help Build a Person's Character. Essay type: Research. Words: 171. Pages: 1. Over my high school year I have been serving my community in different ways and earning over 300hrs of community services but only 200hrs have been shown in my school.

  21. Examples of community service scholarship essays

    While I unfortunately don't have any examples on hand, I can definitely provide you with some general tips on how to make your community service scholarship essay stand out: 1. Choose a unique experience: Pick a community service project that is meaningful to you and had a significant impact on others. Your passion and dedication to serving ...

  22. Community Service Argumentative Essay

    Community service is an improved and cost-effective alternative to punishment, which comes with many benefits to both the offender and the government. For instance, it is by far cheaper than sentencing one to imprisonment (Barajas, 1993; Larivee, 1993), with a contrast of £3,000 for community service, per offender, versus £38,636 for ...