As the ending of senior year approaches, so may the anxiety of trying to look like a “well-rounded” student. Yes, once senior year begins it’s just about time to send in those college applications, which means you’ll need to present yourself as not only academically brilliant, but well-involved on campus. Still, even the most involved students feel like they could use one or more extracurriculars to fine tune their resume.
So, whether you’re itching to get involved in your last year of high school or you’re wanting to leave a mark on the place you’ve called home for almost four years, here are seven ways to make sure you more involved on campus.
1. Volunteering clubs like Key Club and Hands Across Campus
Volunteering clubs are a sure-fire way to get involved in the most meaningful ways when you’re in high school. Volunteering for different important causes will always be a fulfilling activity both for you and for others. Plus, most high school graduation requirements include community service, so these clubs can help you fulfill those as well. And of course, any organizations which focus on volunteering are sure to boost up your college application.
Sometimes, while we all may want to volunteer, it can be overwhelming trying to find a place and securing a position all by yourself. The best thing about these clubs is that they basically handle all the logistics with volunteering at a variety of organizations, where the e-board usually organizes the volunteering events and all you need to do is sign up for them. Try clubs like Key Club and Hands Across Campus to get into volunteering!
2. Join the executive board of your favorite club
The next step is getting a leadership position on the executive board. If you’re already involved in one club for the majority of your high school career, then why not take that next step? Being involved in the e-board is not only a huge plus for your college apps, but it also teaches you huge, real-life responsibilities. E-board positions involve you organizing meetings, putting events together, fundraising, and lots of other tasks that require you to put in that extra effort to not only serve yourself, but your club members.
It can seem pretty intimidating to try to get an e-board position, but the beauty of high school is that this is the place where you earn the experience; most people don’t have more experience than you, so it really is about learning, helping others and growing into responsibility. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and get more involved in e-board positions.
3. Creative clubs like art club or music club
With all the stresses of your academics, sometimes clubs don’t have to be another mentally-tasking thing on your plate. Extracurriculars which develop your other interests can benefit you in more ways than one. Colleges don’t necessarily need you to be all into the most academically challenging clubs like Model U.N. or Math club if they aren’t things you’re especially interested in. If you’re more creative and love art, music, writing or even acting, then try clubs that specialize in your interests!
These clubs aren’t useless either; for pep rallies, the art club may be responsible for helping with banners, or the writing club can help connect you with writing contests that offer scholarship money as prizes. Those clubs will put you in an environment where you really thrive, and when you talk about your experiences in those clubs in college essays, your joy and interest will inevitably shine through. Not to mention, a more fun club full of like-minded individuals will surely make your last year in high school more memorable.
4. Become a teacher’s assistant
When you take an extra ten minutes to chat with your teacher after class, you can create a meaningful and beneficial relationship. Sometimes a close bond with a teacher allows you opportunities like becoming a volunteer assistant for them. This isn’t something that’s usually formally offered by every teacher you have, but you can bet that every teacher has a ton of errands to do every day, so they could always use a hand.
If one of your science teachers has a tough time cleaning up after labs offer to help clean up after class, or help them staple study guides during lunch. No matter how you assist your teacher, you’ll definitely get something awesome out of it. Getting involved in your classroom will bring you closer to your teacher, show your great work ethic and also spotlight your strengths so that if you ask for a letter of recommendation, you’ll have your academics and thoughtful nature stand out.
5. Join the student newspaper
If you’re an avid writer, graphic design fanatic or obsessed news reader, then seriously consider joining your school’s newspaper. As a senior, you’ll know your school better than most, making you more qualified to represent it well through writing, design or photography. Writing skills are extremely well valued by colleges nowadays, so if you can rack up some writing samples from newspaper, then you could really stand out among other college applicants.
If you love photography, then contributing your photos to the school’s official student run publication will let you practice your art and add to your portfolio, all while making important contributions to your school. If you love design, then you get the perks of working with more advanced software to design articles and also developing your portfolio. Student newspaper can be a rewarding organization to join as you literally leave some words for others to read as you head out of high school.
6. Participate in dance teams
This may be an unlikely extracurricular to pick up, but it can be one of the most fun and rewarding clubs to join, especially in your senior year. When the stress of your last year gets to you, dancing it out can be just the reliever you need. Whether you’re an amateur or a pro, dance teams invite students to exercise both literally and creatively. Multicultural dance clubs can expose you to traditional dances from other countries, while street dance clubs can teach you how to be a hip-hop dance pro; there’s so many different types of dance teams, you’re bound to find one you like.
Not only that, but dance teams can discipline you in ways that other clubs can’t, which is especially important for your senior year. For example, if you’re more experienced, you can offer to help choreograph or teach other dancers, or if you’re a newbie you can learn new moves. You’ll also have a social group to carry you through the process. Teaching others imparts serious leadership skills, while learning creates more team-bonding experiences. Dancing in a group puts you in an intimate yet serious setting, where you get to interact with others more closely and connect with them through music. Dancing may seem a little out there for some, but that’s what can make it such a special experience for your senior year.
Always encourage yourself to get out of your comfort zone once in a while, even if it is a bit scary. Some teams are there to teach, while others dance competitively – find the one that’s best for you and have fun dancing your heart out as you close your school year.
7. End the year strong on the yearbook team
If you’re into graphic design and illustrative storytelling, then a spot on the yearbook staff could be just for you as you end your senior year. Joining yearbook means documenting every major happening that occurs through the year, meaning you’ll not only get to spotlight your experience of school, but the experiences of others as well. Often times, there’s a lot left to explore within your own high school; teachers you haven’t met but heard tons of awesome things about, clubs you haven’t visited, events you usually missed out on. Yearbook is also a lot more disciplined in that they don’t have weekly deadlines (like newspaper usually does) and their project is more drawn out, so there’s the temptation to procrastinate. Being on a yearbook staff can, therefore, make you a more disciplined creator, which is great to touch in when you apply to other positions or schools in the future.
Not only that, but you can also practice skills to build up a portfolio for the future. Similar to newspaper, if you’re into photography, design or writing, then you can specialize in one of those fields to build up a stellar portfolio. There’s also the amazing satisfaction you get at the end of the year when you finish this big book of beautiful photos, designs and text that you get to share with the whole school. Joining yearbook definitely makes you stand out if you’re applying to any graphic design programs, or if you’re planning to major in a similar field going into college. Get acquainted with your school better, stretch your creative muscles, and build up a stellar portfolio, all from joining your yearbook team.
Getting more involved in your school can really better you both socially and academically. Why not surround yourself with all these little communities of students and staff who are passionate about serving their school? Your college apps will thank you and your high school experience overall can feel so much richer as you get ready to say goodbye to your K-12 education, and enter the real world afterward.