Giving Back in College

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Schools With Service Learning Programs

Service LearningWhile community service is required during the admissions process, does not need to stop for students when they attend college. In addition to individual service projects and organized days when student bodies volunteer in their communities, some schools incorporate service learning into the core curriculum. Service learning usually encompasses classroom discussions and lectures that are conducted simultaneously with hands-on projects so that students are able to directly apply new knowledge to helping their communities. Students who are passionate about community service should consider finding a school with a pre-established program that weaves service learning in with other core classes.


Here is a list of some of the country’s top service learning programs!




Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA


The Office of Service Learning at Loyola New Orleans says their goal is, “to bring education to life by connecting the classroom to community needs.” Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, schools across the New Orleans area implemented service learning requirements to incorporate rebuilding the city’s infrastructure and education system into students’ curricula and create a citywide environment of service. Loyola offers students a wide range of service learning courses in concentrations from business to music that mix classroom learning with community service projects. Students may also qualify for community service scholarships and fellowships throughout their time in school, and internships around the city that award college credit are readily available and encouraged.


Loyola University New Orleans is a Jesuit school located New Orleans’ uptown neighborhood across from Audubon Park. Loyola New Orleans is one of the larger Jesuit schools in the southern United States, and is one of 28 Jesuit schools across the country. Loyola’s music industry program was one of the first in the country and combines music performance with music industry business. Loyola is also home to one of the top college libraries in the country, according to Princeton Review.




Northeastern University, Boston, MA


Undergraduate and graduate students at Northeastern participate in service learning courses and opportunities. Students may take a variety of classes that allow them to reflect, write about, and discuss their projects and future initiatives that will assist the community. Courses like Advanced Spanish can be taken with a service learning component in which students teach English to local Spanish-speakers. A class in human services professions allows students to visit schools and teach kids about healthy eating and exercise. Northeastern has partnered with dozens of organizations in the Boston area for service learning opportunities, and students can even become Teaching Assistants for service learning courses to gain leadership experience in a service organization.


Northeastern University is private research university located in the heart of Boston. Northeastern’s cooperative education program is one of the oldest in the world, and gives students the opportunity to gain hands-on working experience alongside a traditional classroom education.  Through a variety of institutes associated with Northeastern, undergraduate students also have multiple opportunities to conduct research in topics such as public policy and medicine.




Brown University, Providence, RI


Brown’s Swearer Center for Public Service encourages students to participate in their Social Innovation Initiative in which students pursue, “innovative, transformative, and sustainable solutions to social problems.” The Starr Fellowship provides funding and training to undergraduate students committing themselves to social innovation projects, and the Brown Venture Launch Fund provides undergraduate student ventures in social entrepreneurship with funding to research and launch initiatives. Brown’s curriculum highlights social responsibility as a core value, and their many internships and fellowship opportunities inspire students to incorporate service throughout their studies.


Brown University is a highly selective school and is the seventh oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. With a legacy of progressive and innovative education measures, Brown was the first university in the nation to accept students regardless of religious affiliation and is known for its New Curriculum in which there are no plus or minus grades. Brown has partnered with the Rhode Island School of Design to offer students cross-school courses as well as joint degrees.




Seattle University, Seattle, WA


Seattle’s Center for Service and Community Engagement offers courses and programs in four main areas: community partnerships, academic service learning, campus collaboration, and student leadership through service. One of the school’s largest projects is the Seattle University Youth Initiative through which students are recruited and trained to be long-term mentors and tutors for youth in nearby elementary, middle, and high schools. Additionally, the Seattle University Youth Initiative partners the university with Seattle non-profit organizations, the Seattle school district, parents, and faith communities to help the city’s youth succeed in and out of the classroom.


Seattle University is one of the largest independent university in the Northwest Unites States with over 7,500 students. Founded in 1891, this Jesuit school has always incorporated service learning and social justice in its curriculum. The school is also dedicated to environmental sustainability, with a compost facility and wildlife sanctuary on campus and pesticide-free gardening practices.




Service learning courses are not only fascinating and hands-on, they also give students the opportunity to give back to their communities throughout their time in school. Some colleges have service learning requirements for students that must be completed to graduate, and other schools offer service learning courses as electives. In either case, these schools allow for a student’s passion for community service to be fulfilled as a part of their college experience. If you are eager to learn more about how classroom skills can be applied to help people in your community, consider looking into schools with strong service learning programs and components!


Related Topics

Choosing a College, College Prep, Course Planning

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