One of the primary reasons for going to college is the opportunity to acquire the advanced knowledge and skills that allow graduates to pursue a career in a professional field. However, college is also a time for forging new friendships, exploring new interests and enjoying personal growth. This makes it the perfect time to consider joining a club or two.
There are so many types of school clubs, you’re sure to find one that suits your interests. From social groups to pre-professional organizations to cultural clubs, you’ll likely have a wide array of student organizations to choose.
The Benefits of Joining Clubs in College
When you’re running from class to class, trying to ensure you complete your assignments on time and working on navigating life as an adult, it might seem challenging to fit one more thing into your schedule. Yet, there are so many benefits of joining clubs in college that it’s well worth the effort. From making new friends to building your professional network, joining clubs on campus is definitely a recommended way to enhance your college experience.
Joining a Club Can Allow You to Make New Friends
For many students, going to college is the first time they are away from home for an extended period. You’ll see hundreds of new faces every day as you go about your daily routine on campus, yet it can be difficult to take the time to get to know new people. By joining a club, you’ll have more opportunities to connect with your peers on a deeper level. You’ll get the chance to forge new friendships that could potentially last beyond college.
School Clubs Can Build Your Social Support Network
Some students find it difficult to be away from home, and it can often be challenging to negotiate life as an adult. The truth is that everyone can benefit from having a strong social support network comprised of people you can rely on to offer guidance, advice or simply a shoulder to lean on. Joining a club can enable you to begin building that social support network at college.
Joining Clubs in College May Lower Stress Levels
College is an exciting time, but it can also be a bit stressful. You’re likely to spend a great deal of time reading, studying and writing papers in addition to attending classes. Some students find it stressful to try to meet all of their academic obligations.
High stress levels and chronic stress are not healthy. In fact, chronic stress can place you at a higher risk of anxiety, depression, digestive problems, headaches, sleep disturbances and a slew of other poor health outcomes.1
If you’re feeling stressed out, there are a number of things you could try, such as deep breathing, meditation and mindfulness. However, relief could also be as simple as joining school clubs and connecting with other people. One study found that pre-med students who participated in extracurricular activities, particularly those involving music, were less likely to suffer from stress-related burnout.2
Improve Your Interpersonal and Communication Skills in School Clubs
Your academic studies will enable you to prepare for your future career. However, learning goes beyond the classroom, and there are many soft skills you can learn in a club that potential employers will value. Among these soft skills are interpersonal and communication skills.
When you join a student organization on campus, there is a good chance you’ll interact with a diverse range of people. You’ll be able to connect with others from various backgrounds and with varying worldviews. This may help you improve your interpersonal skills and communication abilities. Participating in school clubs can also enable you to build your teamwork and collaboration skills.
School Clubs Can Expand Your Professional Networking Opportunities
You don’t need to be a professional to begin building a professional network. In fact, you can and should start right from your freshman year in college. However, if you’re already a junior or even a senior, it’s not too late to start.
When you join a student club, you’ll meet people who could potentially introduce you to future employers or who might even be your future entrepreneurial partner. This is particularly true if the student club you join relates to your academic field and professional interests. For instance, you might join a club for nursing students or for those who are interested in becoming professional video game designers.
Extracurricular Activities Will Enhance Your Resume
It might surprise you to learn that employers and hiring managers aren’t only concerned about an applicant’s GPA. In fact, one survey of employers found that they care more about graduates’ internships, volunteer experience and extracurricular activities than they do about GPAs and coursework.3
Employers value job applicants who participated in extracurricular activities like school clubs because this participation demonstrates that the individuals were actively involved in their school community. Employers also know that participation in extracurricular activities helps build important soft skills, such as teamwork, collaboration and communication.
It’s Important to Take a Break Now and Then
Beyond building your resume and your professional network, joining clubs is recommended simply because it’s a good idea to take a break from your studies on a regular basis. Although studying is certainly important, it can be counterproductive to study for too long without a break.
In fact, taking regular study breaks can improve your attention span, concentration and mood; it may also lower the likelihood of stress-related burnout.4 Extracurricular activities that involve movement and getting outdoors are particularly helpful for restoring your mental focus and energy levels.
Types of School Clubs to Consider Joining
There is really no “right” or “wrong” type of school club to join. It all depends on your personal interests and goals. Are you primarily interested in joining a club to enhance your resume and build your professional network? If so, then you may want to join an academic or pre-professional student organization, such as an association for future marketers or a club for STEM students.
If you’d like to get out in the broader community beyond campus, then consider joining a community service or volunteer club. Cultural organizations are also popular. In addition, you’re likely to find a few personal interest groups on campus, such as one dedicated to enjoying the great outdoors or playing board games.
You don’t need to limit yourself to clubs that speak to your career aspirations or established interests. For instance, even if you know nothing about dance, but would like to learn, consider joining a dance club. College is a time for learning, and so beginners are always welcome at student organizations.
Grand Canyon University proudly supports more than 90 clubs and student organizations. These include social groups, academic clubs, honor societies, career-oriented clubs, community and volunteer clubs, cultural organizations and many more. Our Clubs and Organizations office promotes student engagement on campus and encourages students to consider joining organizations such as the GCU Hip-Hop Club, Digital Film Production Club, Canyon Motorsports and others. To learn more about joining our dynamic learning community, click on the Request Info button at the top of your screen.
1 Mayo Clinic, Stress Management, Chronic stress puts your health at risk in February 2022.
2 Science Direct, Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health, Extracurricular activities associated with stress and burnout in preclinical medical students in February 2022.
3 The Atlantic, Business, The Thing Employers Look For When Hiring Recent Graduates in February 2022.
4 American Psychological Association, Give Me a Break: Psychologists explore the type and frequency of breaks we need to refuel our energy and enhance our well-being in February 2022.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.