Not all learning and development happen in the classroom. There are tons of advantages to joining clubs in high school.
With classes, homework, exams, and the looming responsibility of getting into a good college or university, there is no question that high school is a busy period in everyone’s life. However, if you have a few extra hours to spare each week, joining a club will be well worth your time.
Not only will adding a club or other extracurricular activity to your resume make you more appealing to colleges and universities, but clubs have also been proven to lead to better academic, health, and career outcomes.
In this article, we explore the many benefits of joining clubs in high school. By the time you’re done reading it, you may feel compelled to join one!
Here are the top 8 reasons why you should join a high school club.
1. Clubs look good on a college application
Although academics are without a doubt the most important part of your college application, they are not the only thing that colleges and universities care about. Institutions want to admit applicants who, on top of being stellar students, are passionate about clubs and other extracurricular activities.
“Admission folks are looking for students who are going to come to their college and contribute beyond the classroom,” Dr. Belinda Wilkerson, an independent educational consultant and founder and owner of Steps to The Future, told TUN. “The only way for them to know what students will do beyond the classroom, or what they have the potential to do beyond the classroom, is to look at that activities list.”
And all clubs are valid. According to Dr. Wilkerson, colleges and universities don’t tend to hold certain clubs higher than others when making admissions decisions. More than anything, institutions want to see that applicants are passionate about their activities.
“They really want to know what it is that interests you, what you’re going to bring to campus that will help their college community,” said Dr. Wilkerson.
2. You’ll improve your academic performance
Research suggests that there is a direct correlation between participation in extracurricular activities, such as clubs, and good educational outcomes.
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, “Students who compete in high school activity programs have better educational outcomes, including higher grades, higher achievement test scores, and higher educational expectations beyond high school.”
Those facts make sense. Many clubs are based on academics or some sort of career path. For example, some of the most popular clubs have always been the school newspaper, yearbook, theater club, and math club. What you learn in your club(s) will translate to the classroom and motivate you to learn more.
Additionally, clubs keep you from spending your free time in less productive ways, such as playing video games, scrolling social media, or watching TV. When you’re at a club meeting, you’re engaged in something constructive.
3. You’ll improve your mental health
There are many ties between high school clubs and improved mental health.
The first is fun. More than anything else, you’re supposed to enjoy the club(s) that you’re a part of. Clubs, although they may be pressing and difficult at times, are ultimately supposed to bring you joy. And fun is one of the ultimate stress relievers, according to the American Psychological Association.
The second is friendship. Clubs help you meet like-minded individuals who share your passions and interests. Naturally, the friends you make at your high school club can evolve into rewarding lifelong relationships. And research shows that friendships in adolescence can lead to better mental health throughout one’s life.
Additionally, participating in clubs that you enjoy will make you feel productive, which is also known to boost your mental health. According to the mental health nonprofit organization HelpGuide, participating in work that you believe is meaningful is one of the fundamental ways to improve your mental health.
“Partake in activities that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for them,” a HelpGuide blog post states.
4. You’ll develop passions and interests
There are few things in life that are more rewarding than finding and pursuing something that you love. And a great way to identify and develop your passions and interests is by participating in high school clubs.
High school is one of the only times in your life when you can join a group or organization to experiment with a subject or potential career path. When you’re 30 years old and considering a career change to, say, journalism, publications don’t let you sit in a newsroom for a few weeks to see if you’d like it.
So, the best advice is to try everything that sparks your interest. Trying out a new club will be a rewarding experience, whether you decide that you like the club or not. When it comes to identifying your passion, there is also a lot of value in finding out what you don’t like.
5. You’ll boost your skills
If you already have identified a specific passion or interest, joining a club is a great way to boost your skills. You’ll learn from those around you and become motivated to further explore your passions and interests on your own.
Let’s use the school newspaper as an example. Typically, students join the school newspaper because they are interested in writing, research, storytelling, or information gathering. But, most of the time, those just starting off know little about the fundamentals of journalistic writing, such as AP style, the inverted pyramid, and developing effective leads, for example. By joining the school newspaper, you’ll begin to learn those things. Teachers and upperclassmen involved in the club will teach you what they know, you’ll naturally improve through practice, and if you’re truly passionate about the field, you’ll do some research on your own.
The skills you develop while involved with high school clubs you’ll carry to the college or university you go to. Sticking with the student newspaper example, if you decide to major in journalism, you’ll have a significant head start on your peers who weren’t involved with their student newspapers.
6. You’ll gain teamwork and leadership experience
In the professional world, you’re seldom on your own. Even if you’re an independent freelancer, you’re almost always going to have to collaborate with other individuals. High school clubs help you develop teamwork (and potentially leadership) skills that you’ll carry with you throughout the rest of your education and your professional life.
The teamwork and leadership skills that you develop while participating in clubs go beyond what you would experience in the classroom. While, during school, you may be paired with a few fellow classmates to complete a project or take a group quiz, the goals you seek to accomplish as a member of a club are often much bigger. For example, those in the student yearbook club have to work together to publish an entire book before the year is over. Those involved with student newspapers have to pump out routine publications. And members of the math club or quiz bowl have to hold each other accountable so that they can compete in and win competitions. The list goes on.
7. Clubs lead to success later in life
Participation in extracurricular activities, including high school clubs and sports, has long been linked to success later in life. Likely that’s because of many of the factors listed above. Clubs help you get into good colleges and universities, improve your academic performance, boost your mental health, help you develop lifelong passions and interests, teach you valuable skills, and help you become a better teammate and leader.
Because clubs typically lack significant supervision, they teach you how to be independent. Learning how to be independent early on in life will be very beneficial throughout your educational and career journey. Fostering independence is something that differentiates clubs from athletics and other extracurricular activities. Although you may have a teacher looking over the club, the most important decisions are made by students.
8. You’ll get a break from your studies
High school can be overwhelming. With the mounting pressures of doing well in your classes, scoring well on the ACT and/or SAT, and getting into a good college or university, clubs provide a much-needed break.
If you enjoy your club(s) and the people involved, they can feel like an escape from the stressors of everyday life. For a few hours every week, you can just forget about your outside responsibilities and be completely engaged in your club activities.
High school clubs are well worth the time and effort. Whether you’re a rising high school freshman or a junior going into senior year, there are many reasons to sign up for a club or two. The benefits far outweigh the negatives. And if you try a club and don’t like it, there is no problem with moving on to something else!