When it comes to the college application, some parts are easy to understand. Take tough courses. Get good grades. Write a strong essay. But when students are also encouraged to “get involved,” it’s hard for them to know exactly where to begin, and understandably so. For freshmen in particular, high school is a new experience with a wide variety of clubs, organizations, teams, and activities to be a part of, and getting involved in just a few of those activities can enrich your child’s four-year experience in high school.
So where do you begin? Before helping your child decide what it is he may want to do, it’s important to first spend some time looking at what his passions and talents are, the time he has committed to each of his current activities, and how much he enjoys participating in those activities. The start of high school can be a great opportunity to make changes to your student’s extracurricular involvements, or to introduce her to something new. Remember, this isn’t just the first step in her new academic career, it’s also her introduction to a brand new community. Encourage your child to make the most of high school by exploring her interests outside the classroom!
Every school and community is different, but most high schools will hold an activity fair in the fall to help students familiarize themselves with all the programs, clubs, and teams available to them. If your child can’t find anything of interest at school, keep in mind that there are opportunities to get involved outside of school as well. Students can look to their local community or region to find meaningful and exciting activities that might not be available at their school. Below are 10 great ways for your child to get involved during his or her high school career.
- Sports – Varsity or JV, club or intramural: Whether a student has been playing since childhood or just discovered a new interest, playing sports is a great way develop athletic skills, stay in shape, make friends, and potentially cultivate a passion that will carry on through college and beyond.
- Visual arts – Many high school students think they have to be budding Picassos to get involved in the visual arts, but nurturing a love for art or photography can be a great way to express creativity, relieve stress, and make some new friends in the process. Many students find that the artistic work they do with their school club or local art program helps them in unexpected ways by allowing them to focus more effectively in their regular classes and see the world through a different lens. You never know where that artistic inspiration can lead!
- School or local publications – The yearbook, school newspaper, literary magazine, a community or city newspaper, and even the neighborhood in which you live may all provide a wonderful opportunity to get involved and contribute. Whether your child writes, takes pictures, designs, sells advertising, or is great with accounting and bookkeeping, school and local publications can give some amazing real world experience. In many cases, students have to prove themselves in these organizations, so they should be ready to start at the bottom and work their way up.
- Performing arts –Whether it’s through the school’s marching band, vocal groups, string orchestra, dance or theatre programs in the community, or even just a few friends in the garage, the performing arts provide a great forum for creativity, collaboration, and individual expression.
- Clubs – Most high schools have a large number of clubs available to students covering broad interests, from chess to speech and from debate to robotics. This is a great chance for students to try something new, or to start a new club that fits one of their strongest interests. The most important thing for students to do is to get involved and commit time and energy to what they care about. Clubs are a great way to do that.
Come back Thursday when we share five more ways to get involved in high school!