How Many Volunteer Hours Do I Need?

I have about 162 hours of volunteer time. Is that good enough?  I was asked this question this past week.

Let me make this clear. There is NO set number of volunteer hours required for college admissions.  Your high school may require a set number but colleges do not.

Instead you should focus on consistency and longevity in your volunteering. Two hours a week, every week for 3 years is much more impressive than 300 hours in the summer before senior year.

By worrying about number of hours you have in volunteering you miss the point. This is not an exercise in adding up hours where the person with the most hours wins. This is about helping people. and if you are really concerned about helping people and less concerned about how many hours you have, colleges will see that and reward you.

So how many volunteer hours do you need? 42. (If you don’t understand that answer you need to read more. Try Douglas Adams “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

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  1. Laurel says

    Good advice, the reading thing–but it is actually in “Life, the Universe, and Everything” that Adams actually provides the answer to life’s biggest question :)

  2. Todd Johnson says


    Of course you are correct. Good catch. I have a book that has 4 of Adam’s books in it and sometimes forget that they are different books.

  3. John Doe says

    This was a helpful answer to this question I pondered for a while. I thought that it was all about quantity, so I tried to sign up for about three volunteer opportunities. I currently volunteer at a nursing home, and I was discouraged when I found that I’ve only clocked in about 45 hours. This post offered a bit of solace for my discouragement.

  4. says

    i want to get started with volunteer work. i wanted to know if i can do 2 hours a day/ per charity once a month. meaning i want to do alot of charity work. maybe do some fundraising, and also travel and do it nationally and worldwide later. im very keen on the common touch. i like to be there for people and let them know i care. from the sick, the poor, children, etc.

    of course i need the money for this, but im going to work hard in order to make my goal. pray for me.

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