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Working with Students

Supervising college students may be different than working with other volunteers. Age, previous work experience, and education can affect the work a student is capable of doing. A first year college freshman will not have the advanced skills, experiences, or maturity that a college senior typically will have.

This year's freshman were primarily born in 2000 escaping the millennial label often referred to as Gen Z or iGen. The Mindset List provides an interesting perspective on the experiences that cohorts of students experience.

Information about Illinois State Students

The Student Enrollment Dashboard provides information about student demographics and enrollment by academic program.

Orientation and Training

Providing an orientation to students working with an organization ensures that students are well prepared to fulfill their responsibilities. This will vary depending upon the duties the student has. Suggested topics reflect the functional needs of the organization and the co-educational role the organization can play.

  • Mission, vision, and goals of the organization
  • Safety requirements
  • Expectations
  • Polices and procedures (emergencies, inclement weather, absences and late arrival, dress code, prohibited behavior/activities)
  • Mandatory reporting (when working with vulnerable populations)
  • Preparation to work with communities and clients (demographics, neighborhood history/contexts, cultural dynamics, terminology, stereotypes and privilege, community and organization assets and
  • challenges)
  • Broader context of the specific work they will be doing

Discussing these items with students at the beginning of the relationship can clearly convey expectations and mitigate issues later on.

If the students are part of a class experience, discuss with the instructor about coming to the class or having the entire class visit your organization during a class period.


Even if a student is volunteering with an organization for a short period of time, there is value in creating a supervisory structure. Consider setting up periodic meetings to check-in with the student. This gives them space to ask questions and gives organization staff an opportunity to serve in that co-educator role providing feedback and helping students make meaning of their experience.


Student Access and Accommodation Services (SAAS) at Illinois State University is the designated office that provides accommodation services to students with disabilities or medical/mental health conditions. Students receive equal access and opportunity in accomplishing their educational, personal and professional goals. SAAS embraces the richness and value that disability brings to our campus community as it strengthens our learning, attitudes and respect for each other. Utilizing disability etiquette for communicating and working with people with disabilities can help to ensure that everyone has a positive experience: Disability Etiquette. If a student will be participating in your organization as part of a university class, SAAS is available for guidance and answering questions as well as providing accommodations for the student as needed. If an individual will be volunteering in your organization and their volunteer effort is not connected to Illinois State University, your organization should make an effort to facilitate reasonable accommodations for the individual per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).