How Starting a Club in High School Can Help You Get Into College

Group of high school students
August 11, 2022
How Starting a High School Club Can Boost Your College ApplicationHow to Start a Club in High SchoolBest Club Ideas to Start in High SchoolFAQs: How High School Clubs Can Boost Your College Application

”Mary

Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 5/4/22

One of the best ways to enhance your college application would be to start a club. This article will give you a complete understanding of the benefits of starting a club in high school.

Starting a high school club is an engaging and fun idea; you get to meet new people, create fundraisers that help charities or nonprofits, and explore interests beyond academia. However, the best part would be how amazing it would look on your college application. 

Colleges are impressed by students who begin clubs. It shows that you have initiative, leadership skills, ambition, and other traits favored by college admissions officers

If you are interested in starting a club, that is great! Here you will learn the types of high school clubs that look best on your college application, how to start one, and how rewarding the whole ordeal is.

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How Starting a High School Club Can Boost Your College Application

You are probably wondering how starting a club in high school is impressive to colleges. Establishing a club instead of simply joining a pre-existing one shows that you are a leader who takes initiative. It speaks highly of your personality, skills, and passions outside of traditional academics, demonstrating that you are a well-rounded candidate. 

Starting a club in high school does look good, but do not take on the task just for praise. Not only is it a time-consuming feat, but admissions officers will be able to tell if your intentions are disingenuous. They will evaluate each facet of your club, from its size and purpose to its accomplishments and any charitable work completed. 

Your club should be about making a difference to your high school and your community. Extracurricular activities are essential because they give colleges a better idea of you in a way that your grades and standardized test scores cannot.

How to Start a Club in High School

Now that you know how starting a high school club can boost your college application, check out this step-by-step guide breaking down how to successfully establish your own club. 

Step 1: Brainstorm Ideas

The first thing you need to do is decide what your club is all about. Make a list of all the interests, activities, and hobbies you enjoy, and see if it is something your club can focus on. It would be much easier to start a club based on your interests. Tip: it would be a good idea to do a background check on your school’s current clubs to see if any of your club ideas already exist. 

Step 2: Define the Club's Purpose and Goals

Now that the club's theme is established, you need to be more specific. Think about the purpose of your club; what goals are there to achieve? What activities will members take part in?

For example, say you love baking and want to start a baking club. Is the purpose of your baking club to connect like-minded students so they can share their dishes? Is it to teach students how to bake? To offer baking tips? Do you wish to host a potluck? Will your baking club have charitable aspects, i.e., you donate your food to a shelter? Will you have any tips? Any fundraisers? Whom will the fundraisers be for? 

Step 3: Register Your Club With the School

Your high school will most likely have a process for you to go through for your club to become officially school-approved. You may need to discuss your intentions with teachers or faculty members, or there can even be forms you need to fill out.

You need school approval to host club meetings and post-club information around the school to recruit members. If you are unsure how to do this, talk with your academic advisor or refer to your school rule book to learn more about registering clubs.

You might be advised to write bylaws for your club from the school, which will explain the purpose of the club, how to join, if there are club elections and how to go about them, etc.  

Step 4: Get Noticed; Spread the Word

When the above steps are completed, you have to expand your club. Talk to your friends and classmates who may be interested in your club. Create eye-catching and creative flyers and post them in the school hallways for people to pay attention to them. 

If approved by the school, you can go from classroom to classroom and do a short presentation or 'commercial' for your club's class and how to join. Social media is your strongest feat; you can make social media posts about your club, create pages for your club, or post on your school’s social media or website to recruit members.

You can officially have your first meeting when enough people have joined. Make sure to figure out a time and place for it. You would have to get the school's permission to reserve a room or another space to host the recruitment meeting. 

Step 5: Hold Your First Club Meeting

During your first official club meeting, do not overdo it. Though it is an exciting time and you may have a lot of information you want to relay to your new members, the best course of action is to be as concise and clear as possible. 

Do a brief introduction of the club and answer any questions your members may have. It would be great to provide refreshments and organize a few icebreaker questions or activities to help your members become more comfortable participating in the meeting. At the end of the meeting, let members know where and when the next meeting will be held.

Step 6: Assign Roles, Duties, and Plan Events

You should have a set plan of roles to fill for the members. The most common roles for a high school club are:

President 

The president is responsible for leading and supervising the team of executive members, establishing and executing a series of short-term and long-term goals for the club. They take on the overall responsibility of the club, financial, organizational, and liability functioning of the club. 

The president must be an excellent communicator, effectively create an inclusive environment for all members, facilitate conflict resolution and have sound decision-making skills. 

Vice President

The vice president must be prepared to take over the president’s duties and responsibilities when they are  unavailable. They are responsible for assisting all executive officers, recruiting, and offering mentorship to new members. The vice president also assists with developing newsletters and social media posts. 

Secretary 

The secretary takes meeting notes, maintains current records, and keeps members notified of upcoming events, meetings, and recent club news. The secretary is responsible for the club’s logistics, collects membership dues, handles all of the club’s correspondence, and schedules locations for upcoming meetings. 

Along with assisting with organizing events and projects as needed, the secretarial role informs the club of deadlines for reports, commitments, and other tasks and enforces membership guidelines according to the club’s bylaws.

Treasurer

As the primary signatory of the club’s financial account, the treasurer manages all budgets and expenses. They oversee the club’s revenue from ticket sales, membership dues, and outside sources. The treasurer makes deposits, manages reimbursements, and pays the club’s bills. They must also prepare and submit an annual financial report, as needed.

You can also hold small elections to help people fill these positions. When the roles are filled, you can start planning activities for the members. These activities can be in school or outside school grounds, as long as they meet the guidelines from school.

Step 7: Establish a Budget

Your club will most likely need funds to stay in operation. Funds can be small and cover menial things such as printing posters, buying snacks, and renting party equipment. If you want your club to go on school trips or have guest speakers, the budget may need to be a bit bigger.

Your treasurer will develop a budget that offers a rough estimate of expenses. Some things you have to incorporate in your club’s budget include printing fees, cost of refreshments, travel expenses, hiring guest speakers, and any materials you might need. 

Schools tend to offer stipends to their student clubs, which are usually enough to cover the basic expenses. If you want to go the extra mile and take your club on field trips or plan more extravagant events, you can also host fundraisers or establish a membership fee that students pay when they enroll to help keep the club active. 

Step 8: Keep Your Club Going

Now that you know exactly what to do to get your club up and running, you have to make sure that all your hard work lasts. Keeping your club around, in the long run, will ensure that more students get to enjoy it. 

It will also make your application more impressive, as it will show admissions committees that you are committed, ambitious, and able to do what is necessary to achieve your goals.

Best Club Ideas to Start in High School

When deciding what type of club you want to start, you should refer to school-appropriate themes and explore which subcategory best interests you. By that, we are talking about the top categories that high school clubs usually fall in: 

Subject Area Clubs 

These clubs derive from an interest in a subject taught in school already. The most common school subject clubs are Arts, Drama or Theatrics, Film, Science, Math, Literature, History, and Foreign Languages. The top best club ideas for these could be:

An African-American history club teaches students about the importance of African-American history and the contributions of significant figures. This club can include events and trips to various local historic landmarks.

A foreign cooking club is about cooking traditional foreign dishes, hosting potlucks, offering cooking tips, and teaching members about cultural food differences and diversity. This club can have trips to international food festivals or donate food to shelters.

A drama and film club allows members to delve into theatrics, show off their acting talent, act in plays for the rest of the school to watch. Learn about acting history, Shakespeare, and Oscar-winning films. They can have trips to movies or plays in the area.

A mock trial club is a pre-law club that focuses on mock trials, how they are carried out, the roles of each person, and can refer to actual legal cases. Ideal for those who wish to get into law school. You could host field trips to courts or request to have a lawyer come as a guest speaker.

Hobby Clubs 

These clubs stem from an interest in a specific, non-academic hobby that isn’t typically taught in schools. Examples of the best hobby club ideas can be:

An anime club where members talk about their favorite anime, offer recommendations, plan trips to anime conventions or even host their own. They can also design their favorite anime costumes or memorabilia. 

A chess club that allows members to play chess, talk to each other about tips and tricks, and teach prospective members how to play. You can also participate in chess championships across the country.

A book club invites members who love reading to discuss the books you are reading for the week, talk about your favorite genre, even request an author as a guest speaker to a meeting.

A foreign language club is great for students who intend to learn a new language or currently work on one. You talk about the different languages across the globe, probably plan a trip to the United Nations or host a multicultural event.

Charity Clubs 

These types of clubs are connected to a specific issue and usually partner with other charities to raise awareness or donate money for their cause (i.e., Red Cross, Doctors without Borders, Salvation Army, and Habitat for Humanity). The best club ideas for these could be:

An LGBTQ+ club supports members who wish to ensure positive, safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community and fight against homophobia. Members can host events and activities throughout the year and donate the proceeds to local LGBT charities and Pride events.

An American Sign Language club encourages members to learn and teach each other sign language. It stresses the importance of learning ASL and can offer classes to the rest of the school or larger community if they are interested. 

A Hospital volunteer club provides volunteers at local hospitals or retirement homes. They can also hold fundraisers for the hospitals, and it is a great way for students interested to gain experience in the medical field.

An environmental club is a club where members discuss strategies for reducing their carbon footprint. They can plant trees and start initiatives at their school that fight for the introduction of environmentally conscious policies. They can also get sponsorship from many environment-based charities.

FAQs: How High School Clubs Can Boost Your College Application

Here are some FAQs that many students wonder about when figuring out how to start a club in high school. 

1. Is It Hard to Start a Club in High School?

Starting a club can be time-consuming and challenging. You need to have a lot of patience, preparation, and organization before setting the club in motion. A good idea would be to have a small group of students willing to help start the club with you; perhaps assign the roles of president and vice president, and the rest can help facilitate the organization of the club.

If you have good leadership skills and a solid commitment to making your club work, the difficulty should be minimal. If you follow the steps listed above, starting a high school club could be lengthy, but the process can run smoothly if you follow the steps correctly.

2. How Can I Ensure My Club Will Be Successful?

Your club will be as successful as the work you put into it. Here are a few additional tips that will help you make sure the club you start in high school is a success: 

Do not do everything yourself (even if you want to). Keep in mind that it takes more than one person to run a club. Having to do all the work alone is not only unfair to the other members but puts unnecessary stress on yourself.

Do not just rely on email. When it comes to successfully starting a club in high school, communication is key. With schoolwork and other extracurricular activities,  it can sometimes be hard to keep in touch with your members if you rely on only one form of communication. 

Try incorporating group apps like Trello or Slack, where you can interact, schedule meetings, and receive notifications directly to your phone. 

Think twice before naming your club. Naming your club is one of the most important parts of starting a club in high school. You want to choose a name that will serve as a good first impression to potential members and will be memorable for years to come.

Trust in your passion and be prepared for naysayers. It’s no secret that starting a club in high school is a challenging task. Some people would try to say that your club isn’t that great or that it might fail. Don’t let the negative opinions of others discourage you! 

There are bound to be students who share the same interests as you, who will be willing to join your club. If you work hard and take constructive criticism, your club can succeed.

Consult your club members. Don’t be afraid to ask your members for their input and opinions about ideas for potential activities, events, or trips. An event is more likely to be successful if it’s catered to the type of things your members want to see. 

3. Can I Partner or Receive Sponsorship for My Club From Outside Resources?

Of course, you can! If your school approves it, many organizations are willing to help high school clubs if their goals align with their own. Some businesses, let us say Krispy Kreme, for example, will provide you with doughnuts to help you with your club's fundraising strategies.

4. Would Freshman Year Be Too Early to Start a Club?

Typically, it would not be good to start a club as soon as you get into 9th grade, as 9th and 10th grade are exploratory years. However, if you feel you have the right skills to handle the rigor of starting your own club, go for it! It is okay to start a club any time in your high school years.

5. What Are the Most Important Things to Research When Starting My Club?

Some helpful things to research before starting a club in high school could be: 

6. How Do I Find an Advisor to Help Me? Can I Have More Than One Advisor? 

You should find a faculty or staff member who shares an interest in the subject your club explores. If you want to start a language club, for example, talk to a language teacher. You may know someone, or a group of people, who are willing to help you start your club. 

The best course of action to take would be contacting the faculty and staff, either in-person or via email; you can typically find their contact information through your school's staff directory. Having multiple advisors is also acceptable.

7. Can I Create a Similar Club in College?

You could, but keep in mind that the process may differ from your high school. Nonetheless, starting a club in college can help you make friends who share similar interests and help advance your leadership, communication, and fundraising skills. You can check with the college's student community office to learn more about it.

Final Thoughts

Starting a high school club is a fun and engaging way to create community and stand out to your dream college. It can be a challenging, fulfilling, and charitable experience. If you put in the work and remain consistent, your club can have a positive impact on its members, your high school, and your community at large. Good luck!

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