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The Importance of High School Clubs
Versatility of Club Participation
List of High School Clubs
Starting Your Own Club
How to Start a High School Club
Most high school students know that joining, leading, and starting clubs is a great way to make friends, do something you feel good about, explore a passion, and stretch yourself beyond your day-to-day classes.
Of course, you also probably know that club participation looks great on your college application, which means it’s worth considering the benefits different kinds of clubs offer in terms of personal growth, skill building, etc…
But time constraints, lots of classwork, or the simple challenge of having too many clubs to choose from may make it hard to get started…If you have questions like:
Is joining a club worth it?
How do I decide what kind of club to join?
What’s more beneficial — joining a club or starting my own club?
then keep reading…
In this post we’ll help you feel more confident about choosing a club that matches your interests and college aspirations.
You know high school isn't just about hitting the books, right? This is a time when you can expand your horizons and explore your passions and the world outside of school with peers who share your interests.
One amazing way to do that is by diving into extracurricular activities — those fun and engaging things you do after school and to make the most of summertime as well. Let me tell you why they're not only a great chance for some group fun but also incredibly important for your personal growth and future college dreams.
First off, extracurricular activities help you grow as a person. By joining a club or starting one yourself, you're stepping out of your comfort zone, learning new skills, and meeting people who share your interests.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, students who get involved tend to have better time management skills and higher self-esteem. When you're part of a club, you're basically leveling up your teamwork, leadership, and communication skills without even realizing it.
Now, let's talk about the college dream and getting into top colleges. Selective colleges are highly competitive, but they also value well-rounded individuals who can contribute to their campus community.
Amy Thompson, a high school counselor in New York wants students to know that “Admission officers can see through the applicant who joins a million different clubs in their junior or senior year” so it’s important to “use your [extracurricular] activities to show colleges who you are.”
Thompson’s best advice: “don’t just join something to pad your resume. Pick something you’re genuinely interested in… and show…some level of initiative or leadership.”
That’s right, alongside your grades and test scores, colleges want to know how your values, passions, and interpersonal skills will enhance campus life.
Extracurricular activities are one key ingredient of high school success and your chance to let prospective colleges all the genuine passions, commitments, and abilities that make you special — all the personality traits that are going to elevate your personal essays!
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So, there’s not much debate when it comes to the benefits of club participation, club leadership, starting a club among other kinds of valuable extracurricular activities. And, if you’re motivated to learn and grow, and improve your chance for getting into a great college AND increasing your chances for succeeding in college, you’re probably already involved in a club or trying to figure out your next steps — for picking a club, joining a club, or getting more involved in club leadership.
But you still have to consider what kinds of clubs offer benefits that match your personal passions and your college aspirations…
Let’s imagine a student named Kevin, and let’s suppose Kevin is a sophomore interested in STEM subjects at school. Kevin really needs opportunities to escape from the rigor of his classes, so he’s looking for a club experience that’s fun and social and doesn’t involve science, but that will also elevate his college profile. Based on that, Kevin decides that joining a Literature Club, not a science club, is the way to go.
Let’s imagine another student, Dana, who is also on a STEM track. Suppose Dana has an itch for real-life tinkering and experimentation and believes that as a woman she needs to really “lean in” when it comes to forging a path in engineering, a field where women are less represented.
The only science club at the school that Dana finds interesting is an Environmental Club. But Dana wants something more hands-on and engineering focused, so after finding a supportive teacher to be the club advisor, she convinced some classmates to join together to launch the school’s first Robotics Club.
As you can see, there are lots of directions you can take when it comes to choosing a club and finding clubs with the benefits that are right for YOU…
Use the high school clubs list below for help, so you can quickly sort out what clubs are the best fit for you. The list includes popular clubs and some more unique clubs and highlights some of the unique benefits that set different kinds of clubs apart!
And, if the clubs that interest you aren’t available at your school… what then?... Don’t worry, after you check out the high school clubs list in this post, you’ll see some tips to help you decide if starting your own club is the right way to go, along with the steps you’ll need to follow to start a club.
Extracurriculars Around the World
If colleges are looking for “well rounded” applicants, then are academic clubs even a good idea?
Glad you asked… Colleges actually know darn well that some of their top academic achievers are not going to be so well rounded. In other words, a diverse student body at an academic institution is going to include some students with very intense academic passions and commitments and some more well rounded students.
So, being a fanatic for an academic subject doesn’t mean you won’t be a strong candidate for college! On the contrary — it’s just that colleges want to know what your real passions are, and they’re going to also recruit some more well-rounded applicants so campus life is more diverse and balanced.
So, if you’re aiming to showcase an exceptional giftedness for a specific subject or just have an unquenchable passion for the subject, then pursuing those interests in an academic club could be a good choice.
Clubs on the arts and culture club list cover lots of ground: visual arts, music, theater, literature, and more. Arts and culture clubs are great for anyone who wants to take advantage of extracurricular activities that offer enrichment and a platform for self-expression, creativity, and personal growth.
These clubs often allow you to make friends while participating in activities that honor individual self-expression and diverse viewpoints, talents and interests.
If you’re looking for a respite from rigorous academic classes or you just want a space to embrace and explore your individuality alongside like-minded peers, arts and culture clubs offer lots of possibilities.
Sports and Physical Activity Clubs are great if you want to get in shape, stay in shape, or enjoy an extracurricular activity that lets you get physical activity after a full day of classwork.
Like athletes, these clubs come in all shapes and sizes, so you can join or start a club focused on a niche activity that you’re interested in — with lots of options, such as basketball, soccer, and track, or trying out more niche activities like rock climbing, yoga, or ultimate frisbee…
These clubs also instill qualities of resilience, perseverance, and determination, and that fact won’t be lost on admissions officers when you apply to college down the road. Who knows, your passion and commitment can also pave the way to a rewarding sports scholarship!
Social and community service clubs offer you opportunities to make a positive impact on both your immediate surroundings and the broader world.
Participating in these clubs will be a great way to extend your collaboration, communication, and leadership skills.
Social and community service clubs allow students to investigate and advocate for various social policy topics, and organize activities such as debates, community service projects, educational forums, or book discussions.
Wondering what kinds of issues and policies to put at the center of your club…? Usually, students focus on issues they feel passionate about or see as a concern in their community. Some great “causes” to consider include homelessness, climate change, public health issues, education, fighting poverty or hunger, and more.
By participating in these clubs, you’re going to cultivate a sense of empathy, compassion, and social responsibility.
Social and community service clubs can help you develop a deeper understanding of the challenges faced by different communities. And, as you wrestle with the challenges of spearheading social change with the support of other club members, you’ll discover the power you can have in helping shape a better world.
Your teamwork and collaboration efforts — as you organize events, fundraisers, and initiatives — will also nurture leadership skills, tactical communication skills, and problem-solving abilities, setting you up for success in many different future endeavors.
Additionally, these clubs give you many opportunities to enjoy belonging and connection as you collaborate with peers with similar values and aspirations.
Some students think it’s essential to start their own club because it’s necessary if you want to stand out when it’s time to apply to college. But maybe your decision-making should consider the bigger picture… It makes more sense to focus on your passions, genuine community interests and needs, and the interests of peers at your school.
So before diving into the deep end when it comes to the demanding work of starting a new club, ask yourself the following:
Now let’s get into the real PROS and CONS of starting a club in high school…
Starting a high school club can be a rewarding experience, but it also comes with its share of challenges. Here are some important pros and cons to consider:
1. Your interests are front and center: You can create a club that aligns with your interests, passions, and hobbies, allowing you to connect with like-minded peers.
2. Exceptional Leadership Training: Starting and leading a club helps develop valuable leadership skills that can be beneficial in future endeavors, including college and career opportunities.
3. Impact: Your club can make a positive impact on the school and local community through various activities, events, and initiatives.
4. Networking: You'll have the opportunity to connect with students from different grades and potentially collaborate with teachers and other staff members.
5. Resume Booster: Being involved in starting and running a club can enhance your resume and go a long way in helping you demonstrate initiative, organization, and commitment on your college apps.
1. Time Commitment & Time Management: Managing a club can be majorly time-consuming, especially when it comes to planning meetings, events, and coordinating with members!
2. Startup Hurdles: Starting a club from scratch can be exciting, but the minutiae of paperwork, forms, charters, budgets, finding an advisor, and gaining administrative approval, can feel bureaucratic and tedious.
3. Finding Members: It might be challenging to attract and retain members, and maintaining their interest and engagement over time can be tricky.
4. Conflict Resolution: This might not be the first challenge that comes to mind, but depending on what type of club and the personal interests of those who participate, moderating conflicting interests and opinions to forge consensus among the founding club members can be difficult.
If you decide to move forward and start a club, here’s what you’ll need to do next:
Once your new club is off and running, remember to create time for gathering some member feedback to guide future planning.
If you’ve been thinking about joining a club or starting a new club, or wondering whether club activities are even worth it then we hope the list of high school clubs and our discussion of the unique benefits clubs offer will make it easier for you to take your next steps and get involved before high school passes you by…
As an extracurricular, your club activities don’t have to take up lots of time. And, for the time you do put in, you should get lasting friendships, memories, and benefits…
Finally, motivated students thinking about applying to selective schools should also remember that club participation is a great way to become more well rounded or showcase unique commitments, passions, and interests — all of which have a positive impact on your college admissions prospects and on college life as well!
Like most things, taking the next step and taking initiative get easier with practice. So now it’s your turn…
Here are some action steps you can take right now: