Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center

Complete a Self-Placement Form

Self-placements can be used to meet the service-learning requirement for your course IF you have a pre-existing volunteer relationship with a non-profit or government organization, AND the nature of your service work aligns with the learning goals of your course.

Students who plan to complete a service-learning self-placement must complete a Self-Placement Form.


The process to complete a self-placement form:

  1. Review, and follow, the criteria outlined in the checklist below
  1. Secure your instructor’s permission to move forward
    Have a conversation with your course instructor about the position you want to use for a self-placement, briefly sharing the nature of the organization, your volunteer activities and how they relate to the class. Conversations should take place after class or during office hours, though if this proves difficult, email correspondence outlining the items mentioned here will suffice.
    Once your instructor has given you the go-ahead (verbally or via email), you must complete a self-placement form in order to formalize the arrangement (instead going through the standard browse and register process coordinated by UW’s Carlson Center). Make sure to review, and follow, the criteria outlined in the checklist below.

    1. Further instructions on completing the self-placement form
  1. Wait!
    When you complete your self-placement form, your instructor will be notified via email and they will have the opportunity to accept or decline with feedback. If they accept your form, it will move on to be double-approved by the Carlson Center. Once that happens, you will receive an email indicating that your position has been confirmed. If your instructor does not approve your form, you will receive comments indicating the reasoning and/or next steps.
  2. Communicate with your organization
    Once you receive the confirmation email, It’s important to communicate with the organization and your site supervisor about the nature of this service-learning role (and how it may be unique compared to other volunteering you have done with the organization already), and that they should expect to hear from UW’s Carlson Center at different points during the quarter.You should receive this confirmation email no later than Friday, January 23.

Criteria for acceptance of self-placement forms:

Relevance Think about the service-learning course you are registered in. What are the main learning objectives for the course? How is the position you are serving in relevant to the course content and learning objectives?
The nature of the volunteer work
Unpaid: Is the organization you are volunteering with a non-profit, government, or education based organization? Are you serving on a strictly voluntary basis? In order to use your position for a service-learning self-placement, you may not be paid for your service.
Religiously affiliated: If you are engaged in religiously affiliated service, are you contributing to the provision of social services through the institution, rather than participating in religious instruction? Volunteer work must address a recognized need beyond congregational membership in the greater community. For example, serving at a church’s food bank every Saturday would meet UW’s service-learning criteria, while teaching religious content at a Sunday School would not.
With a campus-based organization: Are you serving with an RSO or campus-based group? Similar to religiously-affiliated service, self-placed volunteer work must entail interaction with, and/or address needs and issues relevant to the community beyond campus and the immediate UW student population. For example, volunteering weekly with an RSO that takes students to assist in building houses in different neighborhoods throughout Seattle would meet UW’s service-learning criteria, while fundraising for an RSO would not.
Deepening your relationship + impact We expect that, over time, your relationship with the organization will become stronger through service-learning. What kinds of contributions will you be making, and why is this important? In approving your self-placement, your instructor and the Carlson Center will look for evidence of your investment in the mission of the organization, and a desire to deepen the impact of your volunteer efforts.
Supervision Who will serve as the “contact person,” or site supervisor for your work with the organization?  The Carlson Center requires the name and contact information (title, phone, email) of someone that can be contacted regarding your involvement with the organization during the quarter.  This person should be able to both support you in your position, and submit an evaluation at the end of the term, which your course instructor and the Carlson Center will review to determine that you’ve met the service-learning requirement for the class.
Completeness Everything included on the self-placement form should be thoroughly complete.

Contact the Carlson Center at any time with questions! (