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Ask a Collegiette: High School Clubs vs. College Clubs

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Whether it’s crushes, classes or coed bathrooms on your mind, chances are you’ve already started stressing about your freshman year of college. But don’t worry! This collegiette has been there and done that, and she’s passing along her hard-earned wisdom to you lucky pre-collegiettes. Whether you’re daunted by your packing list (you do not need a label maker, promise), college-level classes (Wikipedia is your new best friend), making friends (easier than it sounds) or running into a one-night stand (honestly, just run the other way), Sophie’s likely encountered it all. Just sit back, relax and let her share the best advice she’s picked up along the way.

What is the difference between clubs in high school and clubs in college?– Zulakha

Zulakha,

College is full of transitions, and it can be tricky to get used to a new place and all the new things that come with it, especially when you’re used to your high school rhythm. If you were involved in lots of clubs, sports teams and other organizations in high school, it can be a little daunting stepping into the same (or totally different!) activities at a college level.

If you were involved in clubs in high school, you’ll probably notice some differences between high school and college clubs. Most schools will offer a ton more options, but if you have a unique or unusual hobby you’d like to continue with, most colleges will allow you to create your own as long as you have enough people who are interested in it!

One of the major differences I’ve noticed is that clubs in college are run by students rather than faculty. Not only does this make you feel really independent and responsible, it usually allows the group to have more productive and open conversations as well. Student-run organizations can be a great opportunity for you to take on more responsibility than you might have been able to in high school, which is empowering and, let’s be honest, looks great on a resume.

Since college schedules are a lot more flexible than high school schedules, organizations and clubs tend to have a greater variety of meeting times and places. For example, the Outdoors Club at my school meets outside every afternoon on the quad in front of my dorm, and I’m treated to a view of students climbing trees, playing Frisbee and learning to slackline all while cranking country music (witnessing this is the highlight of my day, FYI). Having more flexible class schedules makes attending club meetings much easier!

In my opinion, the single biggest upgrade from high school to college clubs is the fact that student organizations almost always have a budget provided by the college. This budget can be used to help buy equipment or supplies, advertise around campus (chalk murals are the way to go), go on field trips or even hire guest speakers to come and talk to the members of your club. Colleges love being able to boast about the hundreds of clubs they offer and they genuinely want you to have a great college experience, so they’re more than willing to help fund your extracurricular activities.

Whether you were Miss Participation in high school or you just want to get involved in college, joining a club or student organization can be a great way to gain confidence, make new friends or even meet a cutie who shares your interests. It might take a bit of getting used to, but I guarantee that getting involved in student activities will only enrich your college experience.

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