Campus Life Considerations: Student Clubs and Organizations
Making new friends and getting involved on campus starts with exploring your interests. Student clubs and organizations are a great way to meet new people and build on the skills and interests that you already have.
Most schools will host a “club fair” for incoming freshmen during the first few weeks of classes, but sometimes it’s helpful to check out the student club offerings at certain schools when doing research on the colleges you want to apply to. Not only with this tell you if a campus has organizations that you may want to participate in, it is also helpful when writing a “Why This College?” essay because you will have specific examples to reference when demonstrating your interest in a particular school.
On-campus clubs and organizations are a big part of campus life because they can help students strike a balance between work and play. Research suggests that students involved in campus activities and clubs tend to perform better academically and are more likely to graduate when compared with students who don’t participate in clubs at all.
Depending on the size of the school, there can be anywhere from a few dozen to a few hundred student organizations on a campus. These can range from professional and occupational clubs, to media, sports clubs and volunteer organizations. There’s something out there for every one. And to prove it, here’s a list of some standard, and some wacky and creative, student clubs on various campuses across the country:
If you’re creative:
USC Photography Club (University of Southern California): A photography club is a great example of a student organization that helps students improve their skills and connect with other students with the same interests. At USC, the photography club hosts workshops, contests and photo sessions for members.
Glass Club (Oberlin College): Even if your hobbies and interests are a little uncommon, there’s something out there for everyone. Oberlin College’s Glass Club helps students interested in glasswork learn about glass blowing, casting, bead making, and staining glass.
If you’re into problem solving:
Harvard College Cube Club (Harvard University): The Rubik’s cube is a tough one to crack, but with the right group of people you can become a “cubing” master. At Harvard, the Cube Club is a student organization for puzzle solvers looking to exchange ideas, strategies, and skills with other “cubers,” or for those who think learning the art of the Rubik’s cube would be a fun way to unwind.
If you’re into zombies or wizardry:
Wizards & Muggles (William & Mary): As one of the most popular Harry Potter fan clubs, this campus club at William & Mary exudes all things Hogwarts. Student members are sorted into “houses,” and there are weekly meetings along with scheduled Quidditch matches.
Humans v. Zombies (University of Madison-Wisconsin, Wesleyan University, Purdue University, to name a few) : As a registered student organization at hundreds of schools across the country, Humans v. Zombies is a week-long game where “human” students battle “zombie” students, with Nerf guns, rolled socks or marshmallows as weapons, until the last “human” is standing. It’s a fun way for students to meet new people and develop leadership, team building, and zombie apocalypse survival skills.
If you’re into science or engineering:
International Society of Explosives Engineers (University of Arizona): For a professional student organization that has a little bit of “bang,” the International Society for Explosives Engineers is a great club for students interested in mining or general explosives engineering. In this project-based club students get to practice with real explosives (safely of course!).
The Nerd Girls (Tufts University): A popular club for female engineering and science students, The Nerd Girls aims to break the “geeky” stereotype associated with girls interested in science, and encourages girls to embrace their “smart-girl individuality.”
Student clubs and organizations should be a consideration when thinking about what you want out of your college experience. Do your homework and see if the schools you like have outlets for your creative or professional interests. The great thing is, even if your best-fit school doesn’t have exactly what you’re looking for, you can always start a student organization of your own!