Unlike the finite number of classes you get to choose from this year, your co-curricular activities are limited only by your imagination. Is there no club that you’re interested in at school? Start your own! Co-curriculars are an opportunity to not only apply the skills and concepts you love from class, but also to explore interesting activities that are not always available in your typical classroom setting.
“No matter what your goals are, the best co-curriculars are the ones you truly enjoy.”
So how do you choose the perfect combination of co-curriculars? No matter what your goals are, the best co-curriculars are the ones you truly enjoy. Never join a club for the sole purpose of impressing someone—stories of personal growth, engagement, and devotion that emerge from doing activities you love are far more valuable and profound than a few lines of black ink on a résumé.
You may protest that you have no idea what it is that you enjoy. No worries—no one expects you to have it all figured out. (Spoiler alert: No one ever figures it out; everyday we learn something new about who we are.) The trick here is to take a risk, and try out a few activities that seem intriguing or interesting to you, regardless of your level of knowledge in those fields. Clubs are often more than happy to take on new and inexperienced members, and I find that I grow the most when I venture out into unfamiliar settings. A great aspect of co-curriculars is that they are empowering; you get to choose what to do and how to spend your time. However, try not to make too many commitments in the beginning in case you realize that it’s not for you.
Not sure where to get started? Here’s a list of clubs with a mix of tried and trusted co-curriculars with some that are a little off the beaten path.
- Robotics Club
- Computer Programming Club
- American Mathematics Competitions
- American Regions Mathematics League
- National Math Honor Society
- Math Outreach Program
Teach middle school students about thought-provoking areas of math they would not usually be exposed to, like chaos theory and fractals.
- Band (Jazz, Marching, Concert)
- DJ Club
Learn how to DJ and mix your favorite tracks. Apply knowledge from music theory and physics!
- National Art Honor Society (NAHS)
A high school honor society whose purpose is to help members develop artistically and also promote art education and community service. Common activities include projects to get the public making art, murals, art education fundraisers, and trips to the art gallery.
- Painting/Drawing Club
- Ceramics Club
- Computer Animation Club
- 3D Printing Club
Learn how to use 3D modelling software and either raise money for your own 3D printer (you can get one for under $600) or upload your design to a 3D printing service.
- Dance (ballroom, hip hop, contemporary, ballet, tap)
- Comedy club
- Film Society
Watch and discuss films, host your own film festival, or make a film.
- School newspaper
- Creative writing
- Slam poetry
A competition where poets recite their own work in front of an audience with no props, music, or costumes allowed.
- Spoken word
Performance poetry that may experiment with music, theater, and dance.
- Language Clubs/National Honor Societies
Practice speaking a language you’ve learned in school or try one you’ve always wanted to learn. Host cultural events with food, performances, games, and collaborate with other cultural clubs to promote diversity.
- Model United Nations
Learn about global issues and cross-cultural debate by simulating the United Nations
- Student Government
- Political Party Clubs
- Gay Straight Alliance
- Feminist Club
- Future Business Leaders of America
Prepare for a career in business and related fields, participate in competitions testing your knowledge of business.
- Distributive Education Clubs of America
Teaches aspiring entrepreneurs about marketing, hospitality, finance, and management.
GENERAL ACADEMIC ACTIVITIES
- Quiz Bowl
Two teams compete to answer questions involving history, literature, science, fine arts, current events, sports, and popular culture.
- Academic Decathlon
Ten events requiring knowledge in art, economics, literature, math, music, science, and social science.
- Key Club
International community service program.
- Happiness Club
Plan small and large events to increase the happiness of your community.
- Animal shelter or veterinarian hospital volunteer
- Hospital volunteer
- Special Olympics volunteer
- Library volunteer
Remember that if these clubs don’t exist in your school, you can be the one who starts it. If you find that not enough people in your school are interested or you don’t have the time to lead a club, you may find that a community outside of your school already exists. For example, if you want to write poetry, your city could have a monthly poetry meetup open to all ages. Branching out into your community is an amazing opportunity to expand your perspective and learn from those who are older than you.
This year, I challenge you to find a balance between breadth and depth; pick a couple co-curriculars that you know you will enjoy and devote a lot of time to, and then try another couple that you have no experience in but happen to pique an intrigue. Explore diverse fields, and don’t underestimate your ability to learn.