How to Start a Club in High School: The Ultimate Guide

Guide to starting a club in high school
Updated:
April 26, 2024
5 min read
Expert Reviewed
Contents

”Mary

Reviewed by:

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/24/24

One of the best ways to enhance your college application is to start a club. This article will give you a complete understanding of how to start a club in high school and its benefits. 

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.

Why Starting a Club in High School is Good for College? 

Starting a club in high school is a smart move. It lets you explore your interests deeply. You can dive right in, whether it's chess, coding, or activism. And taking the lead in a club shows colleges that you're not just a bookworm. You're proactive and driven.

Being part of a club proves you're well-rounded. Colleges like students who do more than just study. They want people who get involved, and starting or joining a club is a clear way to show that.

The skills you pick up from running a club are super handy. Organization, teamwork, problem-solving—these are all useful skills. And they'll serve you well in college and beyond.

Plus, if you're lucky, your high school club might have a college chapter. So you'll have a familiar space to hang out and keep doing what you love.

So, starting a club in high school is a win-win. It helps you stand out from colleges, showcases your interests and leadership skills, and gives you valuable life skills for the road ahead.

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: Find Your Passion 

Think about what really gets you excited. It could be anything from saving the planet to helping people in need or even just expressing yourself through art. Find that thing that makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning, and you've found your passion. 

Step 2: Brainstorm 

Make a list of all the interests, activities, and hobbies you enjoy and see if any of them can be the focus of your club. 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 3: Define Your 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? Do you have any tips? Any fundraisers? Whom will the fundraisers be for? 

Step 5: Reach out to Your School Faculty 

Finding a teacher or faculty member who's on board with your idea is key. They can help guide you through the process of starting a club and provide support along the way. Look for someone who shares your interests or who you think would be open to helping you out. Approach them with your idea and see if they're willing to lend a hand.

Step 6: Register Your Club

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: Create a Club Constitution

A club constitution is a set of guidelines for your club. It lays out things like what your club is all about, who can join, and how often you'll meet. It's important to have everything written down so everyone knows what's expected of them. Work with your faculty advisor and potential members to draft a constitution that everyone agrees on.

Step 7: Recruit Club Members

When the above steps are completed, you must 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 so people will notice 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 8: 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. 

Introduce the club briefly and answer any questions your members may have. 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 9: 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 notifies members of upcoming events, meetings, and recent club news. The secretary is also responsible for the club’s logistics, collects membership dues, handles all 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 of the school.

Step 10: 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 11: 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. In the long run, keeping your club around will ensure that more students 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 into: 

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.

Forming a film club in a high school allows members to delve into theatrics, show off their acting talent, and 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. It is ideal for those who wish to get into law school. You could host field trips to courts or request that a lawyer come as a guest speaker.

A debate club gives students a chance to have structured debates on different topics. This helps improve their critical thinking and speaking skills. They can also compete with other schools in tournaments and host debates on campus.

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. 

Starting a chess club in high school that allows members to play chess, talk to each other about tips and tricks, and teach prospective members how to play can be very beneficial. 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.

Starting a dance club in high school is a great and fun way for students to participate in a club that they have an interest in. Participants of the club can create fun dance routines and enjoy their time in an exciting extracurricular activity. 

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 in gaining 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 to promote the introduction of environmentally conscious policies. They can also get sponsorship from many environment-based charities.

A community service club focuses on helping the local community by organizing volunteer opportunities. Members can join activities like food drives, elderly care or tutoring programs. This helps students develop a sense of responsibility and empathy.

How Starting a High School Club Can Boost Your College Application

You are probably wondering how starting a club in high school impresses colleges. Establishing a club instead of simply joining a preexisting 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. 

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.

The difficulty should be minimal if you have good leadership skills and a solid commitment to making your club work. 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. Communication is key to successfully starting a club in high school. 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. These apps allow you to interact, schedule meetings, and receive notifications directly on 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 make a good first impression on potential members and 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 your interests and will be willing to join your club. If you work hard and accept 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, like Krispy Kreme, for example, will provide doughnuts to help your club with its fundraising strategies.

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

Typically, starting a club as soon as you get into 9th grade would not be good, 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: 

  • The demand for the club you wish to start
  • If it is appropriate according to your school's guidelines
  • The budget needed for the club
  • If such a club does not already exist at your school

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. For example, talk to a language teacher if you want to start a language club. 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 to contact 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 in 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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