Joining a club is a great way to make friends, develop leadership skills and boost your resumé.
Why should I join a club?
“Many colleges look to see that students are involved outside the classroom, which shows they are well-rounded,” says Shelby Wallace, director of admissions at Norwich University in Vermont (norwich.edu).
Lindsay Moore, a senior from Williams College (williams.edu), adds, “Joining clubs and particpating in community service in high school provided me an opportunity to meet people with similar interests and passions, to expand my leadership skills, and to spend time participating in activities that I enjoyed.”
What club should I join?
There are so many clubs and organizations to choose from in high school, from academic to athletic to community service. Join a club that you truly feel passionate about.
If your school does not offer a club you are interested in, start your own! All you need is a group of students who will support your idea and the persistence to make your club successful. Your school will support your efforts if you can show that you are serious.
What leadership roles impress colleges?
Colleges do not prefer one club or organization over the other. “Colleges look for students to be diverse in their academic background and their extracurricular background,” says Wallace. “Students should pick clubs based on what they are most interested in, and colleges will see the commitment and leadership that students have contributed to those organizations.”
It will mean more to a college if you are able to list contributions and achievements you have made for one club rather than list a million clubs you did not care about.
“All members of a club are necessary and valued,” Moore says. “Event planning and club operations do not just happen automatically, and successful clubs require the involvement of many different kinds of members with different skills and levels of involvement.”
What if I’m too busy to join a club?
Relax. Outside-of-school responsibilities, like jobs, are just as important to colleges as in-school activities. Colleges respect any proof of your work ethic.
“It is important for students to showcase these, as they show leadership and responsibility,” says Wallace. If you have an after-school job, babysit or attend a youth group every week, put it on your resumé!
Clubs after high school
“Students should take advantage of what college has to offer, both in the classroom and outside the classroom. Their college experience will be that much richer for having been involved,” says Wallace.
Many clubs invite well-known speakers to campus, and members are able to meet guests personally. It’s also a great way to make friends during your first semester.
“Several of my friends thought that getting into college marked the end of their days of community service and club participation from high school,” Moore says. “But they realized that involvement in clubs and organizations on any college campus provides instant access to new social networks, job opportunities, and yet another outlet for pursuing one’s interests beyond the classroom.”
Cassie Cloutier is a junior at William Smith College (hws.edu) and interned at Next Step Magazine.