21 High School Clubs to Consider

As your child moves through high school, participation in after-school "clubs" can be a transformational experience - or a colossal waste of time.

Now would be a great time to sit down with your child to discuss how to think about after-school opportunities.

How After-School Clubs Can Help

High school clubs can benefit students in many ways:

  • provide an affinity group to make and cultivate friendships
  • provide a signal to colleges about what you are interested in
  • provide a path to leadership within an organization
  • provide a low-risk way to "test" a fledgling interest in a topic
  • provide a structure to start your own club

In the context of college admissions, "Clubs" are considered Extracurricular Activities because they happen "outside of the classroom".  Other Extracurricular Activities include sports, jobs, music, theater, child care responsibilities, etc.

As you may know, there is room for 10 Extracurricular Activities on the Common Application. Especially at the more competitive colleges, this is the section that colleges look at to get more insight into what makes your child "tick".

Considerations before joining a club: 

DON'T

  • Don't join a club because you think it "will look good on your resume"
  • Don't overcommit to too many clubs at once
  • Don't wait until junior or senior year to join a club
  • Don't join a club and then not engage in the activities and events

DO:

  • Do join a club because you are interested in the topic or mission
  • Do join a club to test out your leadership abilities
  • Do join a club to create a "path of interest" for colleges
  • Do start a club to show initiative and resourcefulness

Common After-School Clubs:

  1. Film Club
  2. Cooking Club
  3. Foreign Language Club
  4. Improv Club
  5. Future Medical Professional Club
  6. Soup Kitchen Club
  7. Photography Club
  8. Art History Club
  9. Amnesty International Club
  10. Mathletes Club
  11. Robotic Club
  12. Creative Writing Club
  13. Religious Clubs
  14. Political Affiliation Clubs
  15. Chess Club
  16. Video Game Club
  17. Investment Club
  18. Dance Club
  19. Book Club
  20. History Club
  21. Pottery Club

Start Your Own Club

Many schools are open to students who want to start their own clubs. Not only does this show great initiative, but it's easier to establish a leadership position in the club when you're in charge it. I've had PrepWellers start a Shark Tank Club (for entrepreneurs), Cryptocurrency Club, Escape Room Club, Military Club, eBay Flippers Club, etc.

How to Help Your Child Select a Club(s)

  1. Get a list of Clubs available at your school
  2. Make a list of things you're interested in
  3. Compare your list of interests with the school's list of Clubs
  4. Have a game plan before attending "Club Day" at school
  5. Interview members of the Clubs about their experience
  6. How much commitment does each Club expect/require?
  7. Do you have enough room on your schedule to participate?
  8. Is there a path to leadership in the Club?
  9. If you don't see a Club that you like, can you start your own?

Depth not Breadth

And remember, when it's time to apply to colleges, most will appreciate the depth of engagement, participation, and leadership over the absolute number of clubs.

Who would you select?

Sally started a Shark Tank Club freshman year. It's a club for budding entrepreneurs who want to discuss business ideas. The club started out with only 3 students. By Sally's senior year, the club had over 50 fully-engaged students. It became one of the most popular clubs on campus. The club now sponsors a "Shark Tank Business Plan Contest" that attracts community leaders from around the city who judge five groups of high school entrepreneurs seeking start-up capital. The winner of the contest wins $10K.

Justin joined five different clubs: Spanish, Key Club, Soup Kitchen Club, Book Club, and History Club. His attendance was sketchy over the years. Many of the clubs had overlapping meeting times. Since he never got overly involved in any one club, he never earned a leadership position. Technically, he made it to 50% of the meetings, but had little impact on the club members or community. He didn't learn much about himself along the way, either.

Justin has more activities to enter under "Extracurriculars" on his college application, but most admissions officers would consider these activities "fluff".

Sally, on the other hand, could talk about building the Shark Tank Club for hours and hours. It helped her learn how to network, meet other classmates, interact with community leaders, and talk in front of large groups of people. It also reinforced her strong interest in entrepreneurship.

Who's the more appealing candidate?

Summary

Teens should strive to be thoughtful and strategic about what clubs to join during high school. Not every club will be a perfect fit, but it's important to approach the process with a plan in mind. Be intentional.

If this blog has been valuable, enroll in PrepWell Academy to get timely tips and guidance like this one on a weekly basis.

Keep Prepping,

Author: PrepWell Academy's Founder, Phil Black, has spent a lifetime cracking the code on the world's most competitive programs: Yale University, Harvard Business School, Navy SEALs, Goldman Sachs, Entrepreneurship, Shark Tank, etc.

PrepWell Academy is an online mentoring program that immerses teens in a variety of experiences and opportunities. In doing so, it helps them find and pursue their passions in a way that will not only make them extremely compelling college applicants, but also young adults who are well equipped to face life's future challenges. Black's specialties include military service academies, ROTC scholarships, Ivy League admissions, and student-athletes.

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