How Many Clubs Should I Join?
The drone of the PA system moaned above my first period class. Mondays — these are the times that try our souls. Five grueling days of school. 120 hours of lectures. 7,200 minutes of work. 432,000 seconds left… until the weekend. To add on to a full course load are all the activities that eat away at my time. There was National Honor Society on Monday afternoons, Chemistry Club on Tuesday mornings, FBLA on Tuesday evenings, Academic Team on Wednesdays, and the list flows on and on. I joined a lot of clubs at the beginning of high school because that’s what I was told would help me get into a good college. It soon dawned on me that I really didn’t enjoy being in a lot of these clubs so I decided to focus on the ones that I liked being a part of and part my ways from the others. This was one of the best decisions I could have ever made.
Join a Few Clubs
After I decided to fully commit to three clubs instead of the original seven, the school year became a lot more manageable. I didn’t have meetings every day after school, and whenever I did have a meeting, I really enjoyed being there. I even took a leadership role as Treasurer in one club and Secretary in another. Without actually focusing on these clubs, I would not have the leadership experience that I had gained through those roles.
“What is more critical to the application is not how many activities and clubs a student is in, but, rather, what the student does as a member of the clubs and activities.” -Douglas Christiansen
As it turns out, colleges aren’t looking for how many clubs of which you are a member. In an Ask the Experts article from College Express, Douglas Christiansen – Dean of Admissions at Vanderbilt University – is quoted as saying,
“What is more critical to the application is not how many activities and clubs a student is in, but, rather, what the student does as a member of the clubs and activities. Is the student a leader? Did the student start a new club or organization? Did the student create a new volunteer activity for the school? What we like to see is how a student has changed his or her corner of the world through their actions, and how a student has grown personally through his or her participation.”
Douglas Christiansen – Dean of Admissions at Vanderbilt University
Choose the clubs and activities that are interesting to you, and try to become more than just a member. Colleges are trying to see quality over quantity.
Try out many!
In contrast, we’re not justifying not trying many clubs. As a 6th grader in middle school or a freshman in high school, it is great to try out all of the clubs that spark your interest. Go to a few meetings and see if those clubs are groups that you really want to join. Explore the various activities around you; you never know what you will end up enjoying. Start broad and then narrow down. Chances are, there will two or three that you are really interested in. However, you’ll never know which ones they are unless you broaden your horizons.
Clubs and activities are what make school exciting. They allow you to explore new things, meet new people, and be impactful in a field that you really enjoy. But done incorrectly, they can be burdensome. In order to avoid this, find your genuine interests and build upon them.