May   2019

Fri

03

How to Navigate High School Clubs and Activities

by
CollegeXpress Student Writer, Johns Hopkins University

One of the best parts of high school is getting involved in clubs and activities. While some students feel an instant connection to a club or sport, others find themselves lost in all the options. Here are some suggestions if you’re in that tight spot and don’t know what club to choose.

Try something new

It can be scary to try a new activity, but it’s worth it. The last thing you want is to walk across the stage at graduation wishing you had joined the rock climbing club or volunteered with the Key Club. Many schools have activities fairs where clubs give information to interested students; this is a great way to see what ones interest you. Feel free to attend meetings for several clubs to see how each one fits. Remember, clubs have varying levels of commitment, so don’t be afraid to join a few if they fit your schedule.

Related: How to Get Involved in Extracurricular Activities in High School

Understand what each club involves

Different clubs consist of different activities and levels of commitment. Service clubs like Rotary and Key Club may require a certain number of community service hours, while clubs like speech and debate or DECA may have weekly practices and competitions. If you’re busy, a more low-key club is probably a better idea than one requiring several practices a week. Some clubs, usually those with competitions, also have seasons, so being a member of another club during the off season may be possible and can be really fun.

Remember: it’s commitment, not quantity

Many students join five or 10 clubs hoping to pad their résumés for college applications. This doesn’t look good—rather, it implies that you’re not really interested in any of the clubs. Don’t join a group just because you think it will look good; join because you enjoy it, then try to stick with it.

Joining DECA your freshman or sophomore year then becoming president senior year looks much better than a list of seven clubs you occasionally go to. However, don’t run for a position solely for your résumé. If you don’t have the time or desire to actually have a leadership role in a club, don’t go for it. It’s not fair to the other members. 

Related: What Do Your High School Extracurricular Activities Say About You to Colleges?

Don’t put off joining a club

Colleges want to see you spending your time wisely, so don’t waste freshman and sophomore year surfing Instagram on the couch instead of joining a club. (This is different if you have significant family responsibilities or a job.) And if you’re an upperclassman who hasn’t joined any activities yet, don’t be afraid to get out there. It can be harder to enter some activities later, but it’s not impossible. Non-competition clubs usually let people join year-round.

Start a club

If your school allows it, starting a club is a great way to be social and engage in an activity or hobby you enjoy. Founding a club teaches you a lot about leadership and can be as much work as you make it. Some clubs, like nap club—which a couple of my friends started—aren’t a huge undertaking but are super fun and allow you to connect with your whole school.

My friends and I also founded our school’s Model United Nations club, which is a lot more work because it requires coordinating practices, fundraising, and attending conferences—all things to consider before starting a club. Be sure to consider if your club requires a faculty advisor to be more involved in your activities, as this can make starting up a little more difficult.

Find more info on how to get involved in clubs and activities in our Student Life section!

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About Rebecca Barer

I am an avid reader, and I devote most of my time to writing and cooking. I also enjoy spending time with friends and family and generally enjoying life. I'm so excited to start at Johns Hopkins University this fall!

 
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