Importance of Extracurricular Activities in College
College is much more than an opportunity to further your formal education. Many, if not most, colleges have resources and opportunities available for you to grow personally and professionally, in addition to academically. And depending on the school you go to, the kinds of options you have can be combined to ensure that you leave college with plenty of new experiences, great friends, transferable skills, and points to add to your resume.
Become a Student Athlete
Sports are probably the first thing that comes to mind when you think of extracurricular's. Although the idea of college sports can seem daunting, there are many ways to join a team and an equal amount of benefits that come with each one. You can investigate becoming a student athlete, which at many schools means a full or partial scholarship, meal stipends, discounted or free housing, and many other great perks.
If you’re looking for a more casual commitment, consider joining an intramural league or team. This allows you the comradery, competition, and consistent exercise that other teams have without the intensity.
Like sports, volunteering is something you may be familiar with from high school. As a college student, you have the chance to do work that is impactful and enriching for both you and the people that you serve. Look into long-term service opportunities at organizations or non-profits that work with issues that you care about. Whether it’s environmental, social justice, or poverty and basic needs work, take the time to give back to your community. Especially if you’re a student who moved to attend college, it’s an amazing and authentic way to get to know the area and the people who live there. Also, explore what service-learning trips (both domestic and abroad) are available to you through your college or study abroad providers.
Professional societies can also be a good option for career-oriented students, especially for those who are set on the field that they are entering. Many professional societies or organizations have student chapters on college campuses that offer things such as workshops, networking events, company visits, conventions, and more. Connecting with other like-minded students is great, but these organizations also offer access to alumni, faculty, and professionals who are already in the field, which can make a world of difference for you, especially as an upperclassman when competing for those same positions. The specific guidance and support that you receive in organizations like these can be truly career-changing.
Artistic or academic teams, student media, and student government are activities that have a lot of misconceptions around them. Despite what your high school versions of these were or what your perceptions may be so far as a student, these kinds of organizations are open to all students and are equally great opportunities for all. Building your public speaking, collaborative, writing, or leadership skills will be extremely helpful no matter what career you chose. They also put you in positions to meet lots of people around your campus: students, faculty, and administration alike, making this a great opportunity for those who want to better understand or be involved at your college.
Update your Resume
In the same vein, for students who have to pay their way through college, internships or jobs are a great way to make sure that your priorities are taken care of but you’re not missing out on all that college has to offer. Most companies offer internships on a semester basis (either fall, spring, summer, or some combination of the three), so make sure you’re planning ahead and meeting application deadlines. And don’t be afraid to be creative and flexible with where you’re looking, no matter what your major is. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t land any internships either. No matter how you make your money, showing future employers that you are hard-working, well-rounded, and responsible will always be impressive, especially if you frame your work experience positively in interviews and resumes.
Research your Extracurricular
Opportunities Of course, there are even more opportunities depending on your school, major, and interests. if you’ve already been a student at your school for a long time, make sure you stay up to date and do research when you can about the opportunities available to you. And check in with yourself after each semester to make sure that what you’re doing outside of class reflects and fulfills your own interests and goals.
If you feel like you just can’t find the right fit, look into starting your own club or organization on your campus!