College students may volunteer in classrooms, mentor or tutor. Most college students are obtaining their first experiences of helping a teacher, working with students, and visualizing the educational world from the teacher's perspective. Their purpose might be to meet a requirement of their college course curriculum or complete a community service project through an extracurricular organization. Usually, they are obtaining hands-on knowledge about their future career choice. No matter the purpose, when a college student becomes a VIPS (Volunteer in Public Schools), they fall under the procedures and guidelines of other adult VIPS volunteers.
How to Become a School Volunteer - Applying to Volunteer
Completing the Application to Volunteer.
The application can be accessed from any computer and is available in English and Spanish.
Online Application Instructions
- Fill out the online application on any computer. Be sure to use your full legal name and birthdate as it appears on your driver’s license or other government-issued ID.
- Be sure to select the school(s) where you most frequently volunteer. Also, select the functions you would like to see when you sign in at the kiosk.
- NOTE: Selecting the functions of Overnight Chaperone and Band Adjunct require fingerprinting. Selecting Mentor requires training. Applications will not be approved until these requirements have been met.
- Once approved, you will receive an email to the email address you provided in your application. Approvals are immediate if there are no alerts from the background check.
- The first time you volunteer, have your government-issued ID scanned by the school. Your ID must match the name and birthdate you provided on your volunteer application.
- All volunteer approvals will expire on June 30 each year, requiring volunteers to renew. Your ID will not need to be scanned again unless your name has legally changed.
Contacting a School
AFTER you receive notification that you have been cleared to volunteer, you may call the school of your choice and ask to speak with the volunteer coordinator. Make an appointment to visit the coordinator. The volunteer coordinator will: 1) check the Raptor System to confirm your volunteer clearance; 2) provide information on school policies/volunteer procedures; 3) match you with a teacher in need of your service at the times you are available. Please note that the program reserves the right not to place a volunteer if there is no teacher requesting the services of a student volunteer. If that should be the case, please contact another school for placement.
Safety & Security
Conducting a background check when processing your volunteer application was the first safety precaution. We also request you always: 1) report to the school office, 2) sign in and out of the volunteer computer, and 3) wear your nametag while on campus. This helps us safeguard our students and maintain campus security.
The School Volunteer Handbook (link above) contains guidelines, resources, and opportunities for all VIPS volunteers. Always feel free to ask questions concerning your volunteer responsibilities.
It is important to be very mindful of the following volunteer guidelines:
- VOLUNTEERS MUST MAINTAIN STRICT CONFIDENTIALITY concerning information they see and hear about students and staff, including students' grades, records, and abilities.
- Volunteers must always be supervised when working with students. They may not supervise a classroom or give permission for a student to leave a classroom. These are the teachers’ responsibilities. Accept direction and supervision, recognizing that you are an important helper.
- Volunteers DO NOT discipline students. Think instruction. Use classroom rules to help you "instruct" students in expected behavior. If discipline issues arise that cannot be controlled through "instruction," report the problem to the teacher.
- Volunteers do not diagnose student weaknesses and strengths, prescribe activities for students, or evaluate student progress.
- Volunteers' discussions with teachers should not interrupt class time.
- Volunteers are not to bring preschool children into the classroom during instruction time. This is disruptive to the classroom.
- Volunteers should set a good example for students by their manner, appearance, and behavior. They should be well-groomed, appropriately dressed, and maintain professional conduct/language.
- Volunteers should be in good physical and mental health.
- Volunteers may not give any medication to students.
- Volunteers' comments should not be written on student papers that are to be sent home.
- Volunteers should not laugh at or belittle student answers or efforts.
Making a Good Impression
- College students are often obtaining volunteer experience to one day include on their job resumes.
- Be prompt and regular in attendance. Report on time and remain for the period of time for which you are committed. If illness or an emergency arises, please call the school and leave a message for the teacher.
- Your appearance in dress and grooming should be appropriate for the setting. Ask the teacher or the volunteer coordinator for the school's dress code for employees. (As a school volunteer you are an unpaid employee.)
- Silence all electronic devices while in class. Once a teacher has the attention of a class, they do not appreciate losing it.
- Ask questions, but reserve your questions for when the teacher has a break from instruction.
- Take notes. Make a list of questions and take notes with the teacher's responses. They will appreciate your conscientious effort to maximize their time and your volunteer experience!
- Bring your enthusiasm and a listening ear. You CAN make a difference, one child at a time! See the School Volunteer Handbook for ideas on how to work with students.