Student FAQs

How is service learning different from community service?
Community service is volunteering your time for the betterment of your community.  Service learning, however, is applying what you are learning in your class to community problems.Not only is its focus academic engagement, but the result is also beneficial to both the student and the community.
Why should I get certified in service learning?
There are a variety of reasons to get certified in service learning, including:
  • To gain experiences you wouldn’t have gained through courses or community service alone
  • To put your life philosophies and political beliefs into practice
  • To step outside of the classroom box
  • To challenge your perceptions and assumptions
  • To take advantage of every opportunity KU has to offer
  • To set yourself apart for graduate school or the job market
I regularly serve my community, why should I get certified?
Service learning takes your community service to the next level. Unlike community service, service learning provides practical, purpose-driven application of course material. Certification is a further step in formalizing your service and academic efforts. Certification demonstrates your dedication to both your discipline and your community. Certification also shows you are willing to go beyond the norm in order to gain experience yet do so with a conscience.
What does it cost to enroll in certification?
There is no extra cost to enroll in certification, only the benefit of serving the community while learning course material.
I already did a service project. Does that count as the additional service component?
If you have previously completed 20 hours or more of service, while in college, at a single community agency or during an Alternative Break, we will count those hours as your additional service. We will still need to independently verify (with your supervisor or coordinator) that you did in fact complete those hours or participated in an Alternative Break.
How do I know if my course is a service learning course? How do I know if I’ve already taken a service learning course?
There are a couple of ways to check on this. First, we have list of past courses on our Web site.  These courses have been confirmed as service learning. Second, if you think your course is/was service learning but aren’t sure, ask your professor. Third, if your professor isn’t sure either, but you feel like a course may be/may have been service learning, let us know.We can check with the department to find out.
Do I have to complete my certification in one semester? Do I have to complete certification at the same time I’m enrolled in a service learning course?
The length required to complete certification depends on the student. Some finish in one semester, some in one year, and others need more time. You are free to decide when you will complete certification. The CSL Coordinator will help you in the process and give you updates about how much has been or needs to be completed.
Yes. At the end of the academic year, all certified students are awarded a certificate at a recognition ceremony. If you are unable to attend the certification in service learning recognition ceremony, we can get you a PDF copy of that certificate. If you do not see certification under milestones on your DPR, contact us. This allows graduate schools and employers to see that your service learning experience was an extension of your academic career and verified by the university.
Do I have to take a service learning course in my major?
Certainly not. Feel free to take a service learning course it whatever discipline you choose. Many students find it beneficial for their academic or career goals to take their service learning course in their major, but do not feel obligated to do so. It may be more rewarding to learn about another discipline through service learning!
My major doesn't have service learning courses. What do I do?
If your major doesn’t offer service learning, then let us know. The service learning course required for certification does not have to be completed within your major.It can be any class that you have taken at KU. If you are interested in completing a service learning course within your major then you should talk with a professor or advisor.There may be a possibility to do an independent study in service learning.
I have taken a service learning course and participated in a service project, but I learned of certification too late. What can I do now?
Certification can be completed up to one semester after graduation.  We have to verify that you have completed the service learning course requirement, via transcript or DPR, as well as documentation of additional service if applicable.  The reflection paper can be done after graduation and turned in with the verification forms for your additional service and service learning class.
Does the grade I get in my service learning course matter?
In order for your course to count towards Certification, you need to receive a “C” or better.
How do I verify my additional service for component 2?
Verification can come through a variety of forms including: a signed document by your supervisor or contact person at a community agency; evidence of a product you created or event you coordinated; a copy of your timesheet; another form of documentation pre-approved by the CSL Coordinator.
Where do I send my materials?
You can drop it by the office, scan and send us an e-mail (, or even snail mail (Strong Hall, Jayhawk Blvd., Room 150).  We can accommodate all these methods, so use whatever works best for you!
What is the deadline for certification?
All your materials need to be in by the last day of the semester in which you graduate.
How do I get to the Office for Service Learning?
The Certification in Service Learning is housed in the Center for Civic & Social Responsibility in 150 Strong Hall.
What if I took a service learning course at another university?
We will accept a service learning courses you transfer from another university. You must identify how the course shows up on your DPR so we can identify it, then have the instructor of that course contact us to confirm that is was a service course.
What if I took a service learning course, but it is not listed on your website?
You must describe your service you performed for the class, how many hours you served and the contact information of the professor/instructor. Many times instructors add service to their course without knowing it is service or simply forget to inform us about the course for that semester.
May I use the hours I did for my service class as my additional service hours?
No, the hours you submit for your class are separate from the additional service hours you submit.
May I use the hours I served in high school for my additional service?
No. All of your submissions must be during the time you are in college.
May I use volunteer hours from the same place that I did my service for the class?
Yes. If you continue service at the same agency, you may use those hours you served beyond what was required of your course.
Is this open to graduate students?
Yes, graduate students are eligible for this certification.