When you apply to colleges, they want to see that you’re more than good grades and a witty essay. The best schools look for applicants who are well-rounded and active outside the classroom. So whether you’re into sports, music or magic tricks, showing that you’re willing to get out there and get involved is a must.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few extracurricular clubs and organizations to consider:
Business Professionals of America (BPA) – It’s never too early to start getting ready for your career. BPA is a student organization (don’t be fooled by the name) that will help prepare you for a career in business management, office administration, information technology or other related fields. It’ll also help you develop leadership, citizenship, academic, and technological skills and get a head start on the real world.
DECA – Your high school may have a chapter of DECA, which is geared toward students interested in careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management (if they don’t, you can also start a chapter). DECA offers courses, conferences and competitive events for you to learn, challenge yourself and connect with other students who might be on the same career path as you.
Drama Club – Have a flair for drama? Join your theater club, where you’ll get to put on at least one performance each school year and get comfortable being in front of a crowd (a tough skill for a lot of people).
Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) – This is the largest business career student organization in the world. It will help you develop leadership, communication and team skills through its various competitive events and conferences.
Future Farmers of America (FFA) – If you’re interested in agriculture, this is the top organization for education and experience in the field—it’s practically a must-join.
Foreign Language Clubs – If your school offers a foreign language class, then there’s probably a club for it too. Join and you’ll get more practice speaking the language and learning about that particular culture—maybe even get the chance to travel internationally.
Key Club – As a member of Key Club you’ll help carry out its mission to serve the children of the world. Together with your chapter you’ll perform acts of service in your community, such as cleaning up parks, collecting clothing and organizing food drives.
National Honor Society – This is the nation's premier organization that recognizes outstanding high school students. More than just an honor roll, NHS serves to honor students who have demonstrated excellence in the areas of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Character.
Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) – Help prevent your classmates from making destructive decisions like underage drinking, other drug use, risky and impaired driving, teen violence, and teen suicide. It’ll look good on your applications and you might save a life.
Science Olympiad – If you have a knack for science, put it to the test in the Science Olympiad, where you can compete in all kinds of challenging competitions.
School Newspaper – Get the scoop on your school. Working for the paper you’ll cover school and local news and possibly take journalism classes to hone your skills. You may get experience in writing, editing, designing, photography and layout—great practice for later working on a college newspaper.
Sports – Get exercise, be part of a team, learn self-discipline, have tons of fun…the benefits of being part of a sports team, whether it’s cross-country or bowling or football, are endless.
Student Council – Prove that you’re a leader and join student council. You’ll help represent your classmates, sharing their ideas, interests and concerns with teachers and school staff. You might also help raise funds for activities including social events, community projects and changes to the school.
Yearbook – You’re only in high school once. Help immortalize the people and events of your class by working on your school’s yearbook committee. You’ll help capture all the moments, big and small, and gain skills in photography, photo-editing, article writing and design.
These are just some of the clubs or organizations you can get involved with in high school. Of course, there are tons more out there, so do some research based on your interests and find your own niche—wherever it may be.