Co-Curricular Activities, Student Employment, and Community Service

Hopkins prides itself on providing its students with avenues to excel both in and out of the classroom. Co-curricular activities complement traditional education by offering a range of experiences that help students hone and develop interpersonal and work skills, as well as explore creative, cultural, physical, societal, and spiritual ways of connecting with and learning more about themselves and others. All of these are necessary for students to become successful individuals and contributing members of the larger community.

Students’ involvement in activities outside class invigorates them and helps them realize their potential. The skills they learn from involvement with a group, a community service project, employment, or the creative arts can be transferred to other aspects of their lives and help them blossom into civic-minded citizens of the world.

Research shows the value of work outside the classroom. Studies have consistently found that students who are involved outside the classroom are happier, especially if they are involved in something that allows self-expression and teaches skills such as time management. There are many paths students may follow, including student employment, participation in groups and organizations, and/or community service.

Student employment offers students more than just a paycheck. There are jobs available both on and off campus. These may include positions staffing offices or jobs that allow the student to pursue an interest in something like graphic design or a potential career area (such as medicine or finance). Students may design or lead projects, and all gain an added sense of responsibility and independence. Students who qualify for need-based aid may be offered a Federal Work Study award. This work program gives students the opportunity to earn money in a campus job setting or in a community service agency.

Involvement in student groups builds both life and work skills. Students from different backgrounds and ideas come together around a common theme. They discover ways to work collaboratively and effectively with others whose points of view may be different from their own. They begin to recognize that they contribute to part of a larger community. Those in leadership positions build skills in event planning, budgeting, personnel management, and critical thinking. After events, the student development staff will often sit down with student organizers and provide them with a chance to reflect on the experience and how it has helped them learn and develop.

Recreational sports offer an outlet for students to express themselves in creative and physical ways. Whether working out by themselves, using the climbing wall, choreographing a modern dance, designing a Web site, or practicing with their a cappella group, students involved in these kinds of activities find ways to pursue their passions. This respite from strictly academic study often gives them the energy to return with fresh enthusiasm to their books.

Community service is a way for students to live with diversity. Baltimore is an eclectic mix of people from myriad ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and volunteering brings students face to face with individuals and issues very different from their own. Working in a community health center or with prisoners, for example, can provide future doctors, lawyers, or sociologists with some real life experience and can help fuel the passion they have for their studies and potential future career. Students embarking on any community service effort receive training and guidance from both professional staff and seasoned student volunteers.

Some campus resources for you to explore with your student: