Welcome to Excel Test Prep’s Summer College Series!!!
Written by Sonia Mahajan; Edited by Mariah Embry
Everyone seems to say that joining clubs is the best way to make friends and meet people your freshman year, but how exactly do you find clubs you like? On some college campuses, you might not know where to find all the clubs, and at others, there are just too many to fit into your schedule! Here are some tips for finding college clubs you’ll like.
Go to club’s fair
Most colleges have a club fair in the first few weeks of school. All the clubs will gather in one area on campus, hand out flyers about their first meeting, and have club representatives there to answer any questions you might have. Bring a bag, go to every table (there are a lot of clubs!), and pick up a flyer from any club you’re interested in. Even if it’s not a club you’d typically join in high school, you’re in college now! Every club on campus is full of people who are passionate about a certain thing. If you find you’re interested in a ton of clubs that all meet at the same time, contact one of the club officers and let them know that you may have a scheduling conflict but are still interested in their club. They will most likely work with you to reach a compromise so that you can participate even if your schedule doesn’t quite fit.
Join Facebook or your campus’s main website for communication.
Most colleges use Facebook to share club updates, create reminders for cool events, and promote different organizations. (Some colleges use different websites.) During the first few weeks of school especially, clubs will promote their events like crazy, meaning that there might be a dozen or so different club meetings that you want to attend. It can be hard to keep track of all of these events, but most campus organizations will create and share Facebook events that you can then add to your list of events you’re interested in. If not all of the events you are interested in are listed on Facebook or another site, consider using a pen and paper to write them all down or block off time on your calendar.
Check out flyers
Most dorms or student centers on campus will have boards where clubs will put up flyers for their meetings and events. Check this out regularly and go to any club meetings or events that interest you. (These boards are also great places to find part-time jobs or tutors.)
Go to clubs your friends are in
If a friend invites you to join a club they’re in, go to a meeting! Even if it’s something you don’t think you’ll be interested in, you might be surprised. You could discover a new interest or just some really cool people.
Don’t just join the same clubs you were a part of in high school
Even if all the clubs you were in in high school were science-focused, don’t feel limited in college. Plenty of people join clubs that are unrelated to their field of study or what they were interested in high school. College is a time to explore new interests, and clubs can be a big part of that.
Join cultural or identity-based clubs
If you identify as a member of a minority group, there are likely clubs on campus that are based around your identity. These clubs tend to be very community-based, and most of the members become very close. These clubs also provide a “home away from home” for many students who may miss a community they left behind at home. If your goal is to make friends, these clubs are usually the best, as they create an on-campus community.
Join pre-professional clubs
Other than simply making friends, clubs are a great way to make connections and add to your resume, and many clubs on campus have the goal of doing just that. Consider joining campus publications, such as the Science Review (if you’re interested in pursuing science), the Political Review (if you’re interested in pursuing political science and/or government), the History Review (if you’re interested in becoming a historian), or the campus newspaper (if you’re interested in journalism). There are also clubs that are dedicated to doing projects, such as Design For America (DFA), which has chapters at Northwestern, Stanford, Columbia, UNC Chapel Hill, UC Davis, UCLA, and more. DFA is a design club that completes projects related to social issues prevalent in the community. UC Berkeley also has a socially-responsible business club, The Association for Socially Responsible Business, which promotes social responsibility in businesses and undertakes projects related to their mission with local businesses.
You don’t have to stay in all the clubs you join
Unless it’s a club that you have to audition to get into, like Mock Trial, Theater, Debate, or a campus publication, you’ll usually have the option of dropping a club partway through the semester or between semesters. If the club isn’t what you expected or you simply have too much on your plate, don’t feel compelled to stay in every club you joined that first week of school. However, if you have responsibilities as part of your duties as a club member, talk to the club leadership about your situation before just walking away.
Once you’ve found clubs you like, be sure to stay involved!
Make sure that you go to club meetings and events and consider running for a club leadership position. During finals season and later in the semester, it may seem more difficult to stay involved as projects, tests, and studying pile up, but consider going to club meetings relaxation time. Just don’t bite off more than you can chew!
Even if you don’t find clubs you love your first semester of college, don’t worry! Clubs accept members of all ages, so don’t be afraid to go club-hunting second semester or second year if you don’t like the clubs you’re in. College is probably the last time you’ll be able to participate in school-related clubs, so make the most of it!