When you get to college, you’ll be astonished at the kinds of extracurricular activities that are available. To get the most out of your college experience, it’s important to get involved on campus. A balance of extracurricular activities along with academic discipline will ensure that you’re on the right path to a successful career after you graduate. Differentiate your involvement so that you’ll have fun leadership options.
Match Academic and Extracurricular Interests
Once you’ve determined your major, look at different types of extracurricular activities related to your field of study. Academic clubs offer an opportunity to learn more about your major and connect with other students that have the same scholarly interests. You may get to meet with alumni that graduated from your major and faculty that help advise the organization. These connections may lead to job opportunities or people that can write references for you when you’re on the job hunt.
Learn About Student Governance
Student government is an extracurricular activity that will help you learn more about the inner workings of the institution. Get involved in a student committee or run for office, so that you can voice your opinion on the needs and wants of the student body. You’ll learn about parliamentary procedure, working with university officials and how student fees are used. If you’re interested in political science or just want to make a difference on campus, student government is a transformative extracurricular activity.
Join a Sorority or Fraternity
The first Greek letter organization was founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary. Sororities and fraternities are select social kinds of extracurricular activities that promote friendship, service and leadership. Most Greek organizations have a recruitment week at the beginning of each semester. Check out sororities or fraternities to find out if Greek life is a good fit for you.
Gain Cultural Competence
You don’t have to be diverse to join a diversity or cultural club. Colleges have a wide variety of multicultural student organizations that provide community for specific affinity groups but also allow other students to learn about new cultures and identities. Attend a multicultural student organization meeting or go to a cultural event to gain new awareness of cultures other than your own.
Get in the Game
If you played a sport in high school, but aren’t planning on participating in intercollegiate athletics, consider a sports club or intramural sport. There are many types of extracurricular activities that are related to sports in college. You can play a pick-up game on a weekend or sign up for a league sport that is on the extracurricular activities list.
Unique Extracurricular Activities List
When you look at the extracurricular activities list, you’ll be surprised at the wide variety of interests that are represented. You can join as a periodic member or choose to become a leader of a group. Here are just a few of the special interest groups that you may find in college:
- Hammock Club
- Art Club
- Colleges Against Cancer
- Connect with Kids
- Animal Rights Club
- Commuters Association
- Debate Team
- Democratic Socialists
- Environmental Action League
- Freedom School Initiative
- Anime Club
- Gaming Organization
- Pagan Society
- Poets Society
- Sketch Comedy Club
- Feminist Intersection
- Highlight and Film Club
- Arts & Literary Club
- Medieval Reenactment Club
Be Civically Engaged
If you’re politically inclined, get involved in a political action group. There are many different types of political groups on the extracurricular activities list. You can support a particular political party, get involved in political campaigns or promote a cause that’s important to you. Your work in a political activity could even lead to a job once you graduate.
Share Your Musical Talents
You don’t have to be a music major to get involved in a music ensemble. You’ll find many different types of musical extracurricular activities in school. You can be a part of a pep band, sing in a choir, join an acapella group or play in a jazz band. Some groups have tryouts and limit membership, and others will welcome anyone who wants to share their talents. If performing isn’t of interest, attend one of the many performances open to the campus community.
Plan Events On Campus
College campuses have a central programming board that plans all of the fun and educational events on campus. You can help pick concerts, films or organize homecoming events. A campus programming board provides students with the opportunity to develop real-world skills that relate to the organization and planning of programs and events. Join for fun or to gain experience related to your major. For example, if you’re a marketing major, promoting campus events is a great way to practice your skills.
Consider Learning About the Military
You can commit to military service as an extracurricular activity in college. The Reserve Officers’ Training Corps is an activity that allows students to learn about military service and connect with other students that have similar interests. Participate for a short time or enlist, and you can earn a college scholarship to help pay for school. You can even become an officer candidate after you graduate.
Get Paid While Being Involved
A campus job is a unique way to build your resume, earn some extra money and become involved on campus. It may not seem like something that would be on an extracurricular activities list, but a student job will help you build new skills and become connected to campus officials. You may even have the chance to serve as a student supervisor to further demonstrate your leadership abilities.
Serve Your Campus and Community
Community service is a great way to learn more about the town and help others in need. There are many different types of service projects on an extracurricular activities list. You can help with a single project in the community, join a service club or go on a spring break service trip. Employers look favorably upon college graduates who have made community service a priority during college.
Invest in Your Faith
Most colleges have a wide variety of faith-based organizations on the extracurricular activities list. Some of these organizations sponsor faith-based services, and others provide an opportunity for students of the same religion to work together on common causes. Some religious organizations sponsor concerts, service projects and social events to provide an avenue for students to connect with others that share similar values and ideals.
Start Your Own Club
If you don’t see what you’re looking for, consider starting your own club or organization. Most colleges allow students to start an organization with five or more members and a faculty or staff advisor. It’s hard work to start an organization, but it shows drive and determination. If you see a void that needs to be filled or just want to lead others, starting an organization is a great way to bring your friends together for a common cause.
Be Careful Not to Overextend
College offers so many types of extracurricular activities that you’ll need to be careful to balance your time. It’s easy to become overextended at the expense of your academic studies. Choose one or two activities that complement your interests and provide a fun outlet from the rigor of academic responsibilities. Think carefully about how your extracurricular involvement adds to your resume and helps you to be marketable after graduation.
Dr. Kelly Meier earned her doctorate from Minnesota State Mankato in Educational Leadership. She is the author and co-author of 12 books and serves as a consultant in K-12 and higher education. Dr. Meier is is a regular contributor for The Equity Network and has worked in education for more than 30 years.