Extracurriculars and College Clubs

               With all the homework, deadlines, and stress that college brings, it’s important to have an outlet for creativity, fun, and socializing. That’s where extracurriculars come in. Extracurriculars in college are things like college clubs, interest groups, or volunteering/employment opportunities that add to the college experience without being a part of the academic journey.

               Most (if not all) colleges will have some sort of extracurriculars to offer to students, whether those are student-run college clubs or put on by one of the school’s departments. Extracurriculars are a great opportunity for students to explore new interests, learn new skills, and find friends or community in unexpected places.

 Freshmen especially can benefit from the social scene that extracurriculars offer as they begin to immerse themselves in their new environment. Joining a college club as a freshman puts you in a social setting with other students pursuing a similar interest, some new to the school as well, and some who have been there for a while and can answer questions you may have.

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Extracurriculars in college also offer an escape from studying and schoolwork and a possible outlet for stress. Things like sports or workout groups can be great places to work out pent up emotion or stress while also getting exercise and social interaction. Or some more creative-focused college clubs can be great sources of calm and emotional expression that allows you to channel your feelings into something tangible or visual.

Whatever kind it may be, extracurriculars are fantastic opportunities for anyone. If you have time in your schedule, but aren’t sure which one to pick, fear not; you’ve come to the right place.

8 Best Extracurriculars in College

            There are so many options of extracurriculars to pick from, so it can be really difficult to narrow down the choices, especially if you have really limited free time in your schedule. While just about anything you pick will most likely be a great choice, there are some things that are just better than others. If you’re having trouble deciding for yourself, then here are the 9 best extracurriculars in college to choose from:

1.    Bible-based Clubs in College

College clubs that lead you closer to Jesus are always going to be a good thing. If you have limited space in your schedule, and can only pick on thing, I highly recommend something that will help you grow closer to God and put you in a community of people who are after the same thing. There are plenty of opportunities for this kind of club at almost any college (though Christian colleges will most likely have the most options in this category).

Campus ministries is a great place to start, whether that is just getting connected to one of their bible studies or volunteering/serving at their events or meetings. Another great option would be FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes), though this is targeted mostly at Athletes. If your dorm or hall offers Bible studies, getting involved there is also a great way to grow spiritually and build community around yourself. Typically, this kind of college club can be found through Campus Ministries, which should have contact information available on the college’s website.

2.    Intramural Sports

Joining any kind of sports team is almost always a good idea. Sports offer a way to get exercise while also having fun, socializing, and building teamwork skills. Almost every college will have some kind of intramural sports available, and usually offer several different sports throughout the year. Some common ones are soccer, flag football, volleyball, basketball, and ultimate frisbee. Some schools offer even more obscure sports like water polo, field hockey, or even cricket.

Intramural sports are a fantastic option, especially if finding time or motivation to workout is difficult. Having teammates around you who are there to have fun and work with you helps you feel like you’re a part of something and can be all the encouragement you need to get up and go. Intramurals also provide a low-stakes environment where you can learn a new sport or practice mind-to-body coordination. Even if you aren’t super athletic, joining an intramural team can do wonders for your confidence, even off the pitch, as you grow and get better after every game. Athlete or not, intramural sports are one of the best options for extracurriculars in college.

3.    Student Government

One of the most respected extracurriculars in college is student government. Student government is usually made up of peer-elected students who oversee things like student welfare and events and have some influence on campus policies and budget decisions. Being a part of the student government helps you develop great leadership and communication skills, and, no small thing, looks great on a resume.

The difficulty with student government is that, of all the options for extracurriculars in college, this may be the most exclusive and hardest to get into. All student government officials are elected, which means campaigning and being exceptionally charismatic. It also helps if you already have a presence on campus and are outgoing and well known. Typically, student government is staffed by upperclassmen, because it takes time to build a reputation that other students will trust. So, while joining the student government is a fantastic idea, it can be very difficult to get in. Even so, it is still a highly recommended extracurricular.

4.    Debate or Public Speaking Clubs

Debate or Public speaking clubs are rarely someone’s first choice and, believe me, I get it. It feels like school, it wracks your nerves (especially if you are like me and clam up with too much attention), and it may mean putting in some extra work. Not ideal. But here’s where it shines: it prepares you for all those meetings and interviews that are coming in the future.

Like it or not, public speaking is going to be a part of our professional lives, even if only to get the job. Interviews are inevitable, and you’ll have to open your mouth in front of the person who decides whether you get the job; wouldn’t you like whatever you say to sound smart and intelligible, and be said with confidence and not in a whisper while hunched over like a troll?

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Debate and Public speaking clubs in college are great places to learn how to form an argument, organize your thoughts, present yourself, and speak with confidence. Debate clubs especially help you learn how to come up with responses on the spot, which is a vital skill to have in a job interview and can really set you apart from the rest of the candidates. While these may not be the most fun college clubs, they are great at preparing you and building confidence.

5.    Writing and Literature Clubs

If you enjoy stories and find yourself constantly analyzing books and articles, this may be just the club for you. Even if you aren’t a big reader or writer, you can find a lot of benefits in joining a writing or literature club.

Typically, this type of club looks like a workshop or book club. You may write stories or articles and then get notes and feedback from the other members to help you improve your style and communication. Or perhaps you’ll read a book together and analyze it for themes, hidden meanings, literary devices, and so on. While it may sound like boring, English class work, it can be really good for your cognitive functions, improving things like memory, attention to detail, and analysis skills.

Writing especially offers a creative outlet that can be soothing or provide relief especially during the stress of college and the (at times) hectic social scene that comes with it. Plus, it allows you to stretch your creative muscles and gives you plenty of practice writing, which comes in handy when those term papers start rushing in.

6.    Art Clubs

“… You immediately become high-class, no background info needed.”

Art clubs in college are great for people of all shapes, sizes, and interests—including those not interested in art. Confusing? Not really. Art is pure creativity. Yes, there may be specific focuses in art, but you can create whatever you like and call it art, and no one can really argue with you. Plus, art clubs put you in a social setting where you can learn from others and appreciate the different expressions of other’s creativity.

Learning more about art also makes you seem really cultured, which is a huge plus when you’re trying to impress people. When you can throw out art history and terminology or come up to a painting and explain the context and emotion behind it, you immediately become high-class, no background info needed.

More seriously, though, art clubs also provide a great form of emotional expression and can be a great way to process and release all sorts of emotions and, in some cases, trauma or hurt. Art clubs can be both fun and emotionally safe spaces, and it is absolutely a great extracurricular for anyone.

7.    Foreign Language or Culture Clubs

Whether you know foreign languages or want to know them, foreign language and culture clubs are fantastic extracurriculars in college. These clubs can help you learn other languages and develop more meaningful understanding and appreciation for other cultures. Being immersed in the language and learning about new cultures and traditions can help you develop empathy, curiosity, and respect for the differences and similarities that we find on our diverse planet.

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Having a conversational grasp of a language and some understanding of its culture also looks great on resumes for future employers. It shows that you are well versed and can handle yourself in a diverse environment.

Also, a lot of times these clubs introduce you to new cuisine as part of the cultural experience. That alone is the greatest selling point there is. Language, culture, and food. Foreign language and culture clubs in college are a wonderful way to broaden your horizons and can set you up for some great future travels as well.

8.    Internships/Jobs

Last, but not least, internships are also extremely valuable extracurriculars in college. While they may not necessarily be the most fun, they do provide students with what could be considered the most important experience to put on their resumes for their future careers. Internships set students up for success and prepare them for their chosen career fields. Generally, internships are not offered through the college, but they can be found with the career services’ help, which is a department of the college.

Internships give you on-the-job experience and provide a taste of what your desired career might look like. They can also help you decide if that path is the one you want to take before you graduate and are somewhat committed to it. Additionally, most “entry-level” positions require some kind of experience of applicants, even if you have a college degree. Internships give you that experience and set you apart from other applicants. So, while it may not be the most exciting or “fun” extracurricular, it should be a priority for at least one semester of your college years.

For more information about internships, click here.

Conclusion

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These extracurriculars and college clubs may be some of the best, but ultimately the experience that you have is up to you. If you’d rather join a board game or Tabletop RPG (role play game) club, then that’s what you should do! You want to learn to knit and make macaroons? Go for that baking class/club!

Challenging yourself, learning new skills, or adding lines to your resume are great, but only if that’s what you want to do. Even if there is no practical or career benefit to the extracurricular you pick, it’s not a waste of time if you enjoy it. Extracurriculars in college are about adding to your experience, so do what is most interesting or fun to YOU.

For information on Christian colleges and universities, or to be entered into one of our scholarship drawings, visit us at The Christian Connector.

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