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A Letter to Students Thinking about a Volunteer Program

student volunteer program with Global Volunteers

A letter to students who are thinking about joining a Global Volunteers student volunteer program – from Jed Pettit, a Montana volunteer and recent University of Alberta graduate. Jed shares how his service experience has been beneficial to his future career.

Why I feel my student volunteer program was beneficial to my future…

Many young people today face challenges in getting into their college or university program of choice. These programs seem to be getting more and more competitive every year. Selecting who gets in and who does not is no easy task. Sure, admissions committees value a high GPA, but it takes more than than a stellar academic performance these days to get into some of the more competitive programs. For programs like these, admission committees are looking for students who stand out amongst the crowd in other ways.

I am no stranger to the difficulty of getting into a competitive program at a university. Last fall, I applied to eight medical schools only to be rejected by them all. I had a strong GPA, played sports, worked in the summers, volunteered, and even had university-level research experience, but this was not enough. Upon reflection, I realize now what was missing from my application. I was missing something that made my application unique, something that illustrated who I am as a person, something that would give my application the spark it was missing. This past summer, I set out to find that spark.

Student volunteer program on an Indian Reservation

Jed and his volunteer teammate whittling wood

Student volunteer program in Montana

Building tipis on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation in Montana

Through Global Volunteers, I travelled to Montana to volunteer on the Blackfoot Reservation. I was part of a team of fourteen volunteers, and while we came from all corners of the continent, we all had the same kindhearted spirit and desire to make a difference. Our mission as volunteers was to help revitalize and strengthen a people and a culture that had been oppressed for over a century.

This volunteer trip was of particular interest to me as I have always been interested in Native American cultures and initiatives to preserve their cultural identities. During the program, not only was I able to work hands-on with members of the Blackfeet community, I was invited to participate in their cultural activities. The highlight of my trip was participating in a traditional sweat with fellow volunteers and members of the Blackfoot tribe.

Overall, my volunteer program with Global Volunteers was a wonderful way to make a meaningful impact in a community and provided me a unique opportunity to immerse myself in another culture. It also gave me that something else, that spark on my application that I was looking for.

Student volunteer program in Montana

Cultural activities on a Global Volunteers Montana service-learning program

Currently, I am in the process of re-applying for medical school. However, this time, I am far more confident with my chances of being accepted. I now have something on my resume that speaks to who I am as a person and that will set me apart from other applicants.

Whether you are seeking entry in medical school, like I am, or another competitive program at a college or university, I urge you to find that spark that will make your application stand out. A trip with Global Volunteers may just be the best place to find it!

Learn more about student volunteer program opportunities around the world with Global Volunteers. 

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