Should You Join DECA in High School?

Student members of DECA in high school walking down the hallwayy
September 5, 2023


Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 05/04/23

What is DECA in high school? This article will cover what the club does and why you should join. 

DECA is an association dedicated to teaching students about entrepreneurship through hands-on learning and in-class instruction. Signing up for DECA in high school can enhance your resume and give you some unique and fun learning experiences.

In this article, we’ll give you an overview of the organization, how to join DECA in high school, and detail the steps you can take to create a club of your very own. If you’re in college, there’s no need to feel left out! You can benefit from DECA in high school and beyond. 

Let’s begin!

What Is DECA?

Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) is a high school and college program for students interested in business. The organization prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management.

With chapters all over the country, there are 220,484 high school students and 4,334 college members in total. Their primary purpose is to immerse students in business education and teach them hands-on skills they can use in the real world.

DECA mainly focuses on educational programs that allow students to apply what they’ve learned through project-based activities and competitions. Their mission is to use innovative learning techniques to engage students, preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs:

  • Academically prepared
  • Community-oriented
  • Professionally responsible
  • Experienced leaders

By focusing on the above characteristics, DECA has a lot to offer high school students!

Benefits of Joining DECA in High School

Below we’ll discuss some of the many benefits to joining DECA in high school.  

DECA Direct

One of the greatest advantages is that all members get access to their online platform, DECA Direct. The website allows students to take courses designed to help them gain insight into their desired careers, assist with college preparation, and take advantage of featured programs.

Developing Leadership Skills

DECA provides a platform for students to develop leadership skills by participating in various activities, such as public speaking, event planning, and networking. These skills can help students in their future careers and personal lives.

Enhancing Communication Skills

DECA competitions require students to deliver presentations, write reports, and communicate effectively with judges, peers, and industry professionals. Such experiences can help students improve their communication skills.

Virtual Business Challenge

One of their most popular programs is the Virtual Business Challenge. Students are challenged to operate a web-based business simulation which gets them to operate a business as if it were their own.

Participants can be individuals or groups and will be eligible for a scholarship that could be worth up to $20,000. The program is free for all DECA high school students and can teach them about business while also having fun.

Unique Experiences

Another way DECA benefits high school students is by giving them unique experiences that look good on a resume. Students can sign up for corporate challenges where they work with corporations to solve problems.

An example of this is the Intuit “Lead With a Cause” challenge. This contest gets teams of eight students to design an innovative solution to increase access to entrepreneurship for underrepresented groups.

This program allows students to think of innovative ways to solve a problem and have a unique experience that they can put on their college application or resume. 

School Based Enterprises

DECA also allows programming for members to participate in School-Based Enterprises (SBE)

The SBE is an entrepreneurship operation led by a teacher or DECA adviser and organized by students. Students create a business that sells goods or services to consumers, giving them a hands-on learning experience.

All the programs described above are wonderful learning opportunities for any student interested in business. They get hands-on experiences in which they have to interact with others, think outside the box and come up with innovative solutions.

How to Join DECA in High School

Wondering how to join DECA in High School?

Well, with 3,688 high school chapters, it should be relatively easy to find a club near you. Joining is as simple as approaching an advisor and expressing your interest. Once you’ve done that, the teacher can submit your application and membership fee.

If you do not have DECA at your school or in your area, think about creating a chapter. This is especially important if you know other students are interested in joining DECA as well; you’ll need at least 10 members to be recognized.

Here are the five steps required to create a DECA chapter in your high school.

  • Step one: First, you’ll need to find a chapter advisor. Think about teachers who might be interested and create a proposal detailing the benefits of starting a DECA chapter and the role they’ll play as an advisor.
  • Step two: Get approval from the chartered association in your area. Every state will have one that determines the requirements needed to start a DECA chapter.  Be sure to meet these requirements before applying.
  • Step three: Next, you need to make sure that your high school is on board with having DECA in your high school. You might have to meet with your principal to learn how clubs start.
  • Step four: Once you’ve received approval, you'll need to fill out a new chapter request form. This request will only take about a week to process, so be ready to start quickly after submitting the online form.
  • Step five: After receiving approval, the last step is to submit your members to the DECA roster. This can all be done online and must be submitted with dues for each person to be an official member. 

Once the final step is complete, you will have an official DECA chapter, and can get started with the club activities. Though it might seem challenging, starting a DECA chapter will be well worth the effort!

DECA In College

DECA for college students focuses more on career preparation than DECA in high school. Joining DECA offers several benefits to its members, including:

  • Professional Development: DECA provides opportunities for students to develop their leadership skills, communication abilities, and business acumen through events and activities.
  • Networking: DECA members have the opportunity to network with business professionals, industry experts, and peers from around the world, which can be valuable when seeking internships or job opportunities.
  • Competitions: Itoffers a variety of competitive events that challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills in real-world business scenarios. This provides a unique opportunity for students to showcase their abilities and stand out to potential employers.
  • Resume Building: Membership and event participation can enhance a student's resume and make them a more competitive job candidate after graduation.
  • Community Involvement: DECA encourages its members to engage in community service and volunteer work, providing opportunities to give back and make a positive impact.
  • Scholarship Opportunities: There are several scholarship opportunities for DECA members to help offset the cost of tuition and other educational expenses.

The above are all very good reasons you should consider joining DECA while in College.

FAQs: DECA in High School

Here are the answers to questions we typically get asked about DECA.

1. Is DECA Good for High Schoolers?

Yes, it is. Joining DECA is a great way of building up your resume while interacting with like-minded individuals. It can teach students about business and get them ready for college-level courses.

2. What Are the Benefits of Being In DECA?

There are a lot of benefits to joining DECA while in high school or college. DECA can help prepare students for their future by giving them real-life experiences that can teach them about business and entrepreneurship. 

For high school students, being involved in DECA can look great on a college application, and college students will be given professional development opportunities.

3. What Is the Main Purpose of DECA?

The main purpose of DECA is to help students learn about entrepreneurship through hands-on learning and in-class instruction. DECA’s aims to engage students with innovative learning opportunities.

4. How Does a Student Join DECA?

You can join DECA by finding a chapter near you and expressing interest in becoming a member. There will be a form to fill out and a membership fee (each chapter is different), but other than that, it is pretty simple.

5. Does Joining DECA Help With College Admissions?

Yes, joining DECA will help with college admissions. Joining DECA can assist with college preparation through their online courses. It also looks good on an application as it gives a unique experience for students to talk about.

Final Thoughts

DECA can provide a wide range of benefits for students, including leadership development, business knowledge, networking opportunities, and problem-solving skills.

It will teach you about entrepreneurship and give you unique experiences that you’ll remember for the rest of your life. If you are interested in business, you should think about joining a local DECA chapter today.

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