For college students, there are many opportunities to become involved both on and off campus.
Students who get involved with the college community can gain valuable leadership skills, create and build upon campus traditions and develop relationships between the campus and local communities. Involved students not only create meaningful relationships that can turn into lifelong friendships and build professional networks; they are also those most likely to graduate.
College is a time to pursue old interests and to discover new ones. Regrettably, too many students miss out on opportunities because of the demands of academic pressures; finding a balance between social and community opportunities with academics can lead to new ideas for careers and graduate pursuits. (Take, for example, tutoring elementary students in a nearby school – that might lead to an interest in teaching or social work. Or getting involved with a comedy troupe could lead to creative pursuits upon graduation.)
There are many benefits to getting involved on campus. Here are just a few.
• Students can develop a strong sense of self and college pride and loyalty.
• Students might discover new career paths.
• Involvement in student government may be a resume builder.
• Exposure to a diverse group of peers can help students learn about different cultures, religions and ideas.
• Active college students often get to know faculty members and administrators which can lead to more personalized academic and career advising as well as letters of recommendation for jobs and graduate programs.
• Getting involved can strengthen leadership qualities and teach students how to better work in groups and delegate responsibilities.
• Studies have shown that students who become affiliated with campus organizations succeed academically and remain at their original college (as opposed to transferring).
Why does this matter for high school students?
High school students should similarly get involved in high school activities – to show college admissions officers that they are active and curious and to prove leadership. Admissions officers look at involved students as those who will similarly get involved on campus and make a real contribution to the college (and surrounding town) community. Admissions officers know that active students are those who will become active alumni – in volunteerism and in giving.
High school students should get involved now – and continue this involvement throughout both their high school and college years.