Clubs and extracurricular activities are promoted often as a way to socialize and spice up college applications, but what if your school does not cater to your interests? Clubs generally can be divided into 3 groups, service clubs, academics, and artistic/creative ones. Though every school is different, there is an application form available for anyone to start their very own club. But how would the logistics work?
First, let's talk about the importance of clubs. The reason colleges favor applications with a mention of them is due to the benefits clubs provide to students and the community around them. Time management and social skills are the obvious ones, but it also includes leadership, team management, resource distribution, budget balancing, and so many more. If a club lies in the service club category, community service hours may be required, which improve the local community through park cleanups, fundraisers, making food or sanitary product packages for the homeless, among so many more. Colleges focus on the lasting imprints club experiences have on students, as well as their passion for their hobbies.
So you have searched the club catalogs and none of the clubs interest you. You should consider starting your own club! The first step would be to brainstorm on the topic of the club. Is it a sports club? Will you be painting? Does it teach languages or help with math? Consider the big picture idea, the details will be handled later. Next, gather feedback from friends and classmates. If the majority like the idea, then chances are high that it is a good club, and you can even get some early members on board. Find a teacher which is interested in your club idea and has available time and classroom space for your needs. Some teachers may not be able to host a club in their classrooms, so do not get discouraged if teachers turn down the offer.
Now that the main foundations have been built for the club, make a member meeting and brainstorm once more, now for the details. What is the mission statement? The goal of the club, written in a few sentences, to outline the benefits of this club on the community and the overall idea of the activities held. Consider how many students may join the club, and how many supplies will be needed to support everyone. Will these supplies need to be bought? A budget should be set, and responsibilities too. A standard role set would be a president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer. Make sure everyone is on the same page about what each role has as its responsibility, mainly focusing on the direction the club should go in (president/vice president), and the budget (treasurer).
Wonderful, the club is starting to take shape! Next up is official applications for your school! Carefully read the forms to make sure your club is running by the rules and make adjustments if necessary. Be ready to present your club to school officials along with the benefits it will have on the school. Will it provide community service? Will it help students academically? This is your chance to show off your leadership and planning skills.
Once the club is approved, publicity is your primary focus. The goal is to spread the word, but be careful to not be overly advertised because it will lead to either too many students, or no one will join at all. School advertisements, flyers, posters, newspapers, websites, class presentations, think of all the options available as your marketing strategy and choose the ones which are the best for your case. Make sure to hold weekly or monthly meetings to keep members engaged, participating, and aware, as well as to keep the club productive and in line with its mission statement. The last step would be to decide how to keep the legacy going after this year ends. Will elections be held, or will you be hosting it again next year to keep the goal going?
Sinodis, Kate. “What Makes Clubs and after School Activities so Important to the High School Experience?” Peak Student Media, 19 Mar. 2021, https://peakstudentmedia.com/2021/03/19/what-makes-clubs-and-after-school-activities-so-important-to-the-high-school-experience/
Sundquist, Kate. “How to Start a Club in High School.” CollegeVine Guidance, 16 Feb. 2017, https://blog.collegevine.com/how-to-start-a-club-in-high-school/#
“Starting Your Own Student Club in High School.” Prepory, 29 Apr. 2021, https://prepory.com/blog/starting-your-own-student-club-in-high-school/