High school is a time for students to begin taking initiative towards finding their passions and standing out. Despite the overwhelming emphasis on the importance of academics during this time, it is important to take some time to figure out how you want to take advantage of the four years you have in this new environment. From volunteering to becoming the president of a club, there are many ways that you can develop your passions and make the best of the resources offered in high school.
Join a Club
One of the most prominent forms of extracurriculars in high school is clubs. Clubs are small groups consisting of students interested in a common topic. Clubs can be centered around a variety of themes, such as volunteering, core subjects, public speaking, real-world professions, government simulations, and more. The diversity in clubs at high school allows every student to have an environment that suits their interest. For example, those who want to learn more about business can consider joining Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) or Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA), Science Olympiad if you enjoy science, National Honor Society and Key Club if you want to become more involved in school events, Speech and Debate if you want to learn more about public speaking and debate, and more. You can also form your own clubs for previously unavailable subjects, so if you can’t find a club that best suits your interest, consider creating one!
Tryout for a Sports Team
Many students have an interest in at least one sport prior to high school. High school enables students to join teams for certain sports based on their skill level, and they will usually be put into either the Junior Varsity (JV) or Varsity team. On top of that, going far in whichever sport you desire can grant you the opportunity to be recruited by colleges to play that sport for them. Not only does joining a high school sports team introduce you to a new form of competition, but it also allows you to meet new people and pursue your passion for the sport. Some sports teams that most high schools have includes football, basketball, soccer, tennis, baseball, softball, wrestling, cross country, track and field, and volleyball. These teams can usually be very competitive, so don’t let down your passion for the sport if you are not selected. There is always the next year to try again.
Although this can be done before high school, it is a good idea to consider volunteering. Volunteering allows you to meet new people while also giving back to your community. There are many student-led organizations within high schools that have volunteering opportunities in exchange for hours. These hours can be used to emphasize involvement in activities outside of school on college applications, which is a great way to stand out, especially if you go on to leading your own events. Additionally, many cities also have their own designated volunteering programs, so you can reach out to those who are in charge of those programs for more information.
Run for Student Council
Most, if not all high schools, offer some form of student government for students to get involved in their school community. This includes organizing activities such as school dances, fundraisers, sports tournaments, and more. Joining student council can be challenging since most roles require elections for students to choose who they think is the best candidate for each position. If you are someone who is keen and eager to work with others and attain leadership experience, consider running for student council!
Some of the roles within student council include, and are not limited to:
President: In charge of student council meetings and acts as the primary representative of the student body, participates heavily in the organization of activities.
Vice-President: Works closely with the President and fills in for them when needed, may sometimes be in charge of managing and overseeing certain activities and events.
Secretary: Records the meeting minutes (summaries) and attendance of student council meetings. Make sure to keep track of important documents and ideas.
Treasurer: Manages the finances of student council, such as payments and fees as well as budgets for other clubs and events.
Class Representative: work to express the main interests and address the concerns of the students in their class.
Create a Non-Profit Organization
One of the most ambitious and demanding forms of extracurricular activities is running a non-profit organization. These organizations are usually loosely tied with schools and are for students to express their desires in working for certain causes. These organizations are usually meant to raise money and advocate for action towards a certain cause rather than for making money. Non-profit organizations can be centered around a variety of focal points such as volunteering, raising money for the countries in need, sports, or making products for certain audiences.
Quality Over Quantity
When choosing which extracurriculars you pursue, it is important that you focus on things that you are interested in, rather than what you think you should do just to boost your college resume. It is easy to believe that the amount of extracurriculars you have overpowers the quality of them, but the opposite is true. Some activities that you can do in your school aside from clubs to stand out are student newspaper if you enjoy writing, and yearbook if you enjoy photography and/or visual editing. If you enjoy playing an instrument, it is highly encouraged that you consider joining the school marching band or any other environment in which you can share your interest in music with others. In essence, colleges want to see what you are specifically passionate about, and how far you are willing to go to really pursue that passion. For example, being in ten clubs isn’t going to look as good as being in two clubs and putting in the time and dedication into them. Being able to express leadership qualities and accomplishments from those clubs is what will really allow you to stand out.
High school is a period of time in which students begin to find and expand upon their passions and interests. With the wide array of resources provided to them, students are able to become more involved with their community by creating clubs, joining sports teams, volunteering, running for student government, creating non-profit organizations, and more. These four years are vital in exploring new opportunities and creating our impact.