Student Involvement Benefits: Getting the Most Out of College
Most colleges and universities offer an ample amount of ways for students to get involved on campus, which are often advertised during new student orientation, posted around campus with flyers, or communicated via newsletters. It’s easy to overlook these opportunities, especially if you are already overwhelmed with the prospect of balancing a full-time class load with other aspects of life, but student involvement can be a crucial aspect to getting the most out of college.
In this article, we’ll explore some different types of opportunities to look out for as well as explore some of the biggest student involvement benefits that can help enrich your college experience.
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What Are Some Types of Student Involvement Opportunities?
Student involvement in college can take many forms, including clubs and organizations that hold regular meetings and events, one-time campus events (like movie nights or guest speakers), volunteer events, student research opportunities, and student ambassador programs. The list of types of clubs and organizations held on campus can be quite extensive; they can be centered on specific academic areas like biology or anthropology, or can even be based on common-interest hobbies like hiking or painting.
While many of these involvement avenues can be free (i.e., covered through your regular tuition and fees paid to the school), others may charge minimal fees for certain events or outings, depending on the budget of the club or organization. Be sure to inquire about any membership fees or dues before signing up.
What Are Some Student Involvement Benefits?
There are a number of short and long-term student involvement benefits that can help you get the most out of college.
First, student involvement can help increase personal wellbeing by creating a better balance between work, school, and social life. Joining a club or organization, for instance, can be a way to recharge by spending time doing something you personally enjoy and can help give you a mental break to focus on something other than impending finals or upcoming projects. It can also be a good chance to connect with other students from a wide range of walks of life and academic backgrounds who you may not have otherwise met in your classes within your major.
Speaking of connecting with other students, building a professional network in college is another student involvement benefit that can help you achieve long-term career goals. Keeping in contact with people in your network after college graduation is a great way to keep the door open for professional opportunities; often times students can find jobs even later in life by having mutual contacts within an organization.
Getting involved can also be an excellent way to build your transferable resume skills, which can significantly help with job searching after graduation. Even if you don’t have extensive work experience at the time of graduation, getting involved in a club or organization at a leadership level can help demonstrate your ability to plan, organize, communicate, and execute events or initiatives.
If there isn’t currently a club or organization on your campus for a topic or hobby that you are passionate about, consider stopping by your office of student involvement and finding out the steps to take to create one. Many colleges or universities have funds allocated to help provide a budget to clubs or organizations, even brand-new ones.
If you are able to organize a new club or organization, you will not only likely feel rewarded on a personal level for your hard work to bring people together on your shared interest, but this will be an excellent item to include on your resume, which will demonstrate the fact that you are a driven self-starter with plenty of initiative – skills that lend themselves quite well to a wide range of career paths.
Moreover, participating in an academic club or organization can be a good way to build closer relationships with professors within your department. Having demonstrating your commitment and passion to your major of choice through active participation can be crucial when it comes time to ask for any letters of recommendation from professors, either for graduate school or employment opportunities in your field.
Lastly, one of the biggest immediate and tangible student involvement benefits is its ability to help you save money while in college. Because finances as a college student can often be quite tight, any small effort you can make to reduce unnecessary spending can be significantly beneficial. Since many student involvement opportunities are either free or heavily discounted, these are definitely savings to take advantage of.
For instance, instead of spending money to go to the movies, check with your campus to see if there are any upcoming student movie nights. Or instead of spending money on gas to go hiking, see if there is a hiking club that offers transportation or organizes carpools to and from hiking spots.
Hopefully, this article has provided you with a general sense of some of the biggest student involvement benefits, and why getting involved can be a good use of your time in college. You can usually find out about these involvement opportunities is to visit your campus’s office of student involvement either in-person or online, or asking professors about how to get more involved within your department.