When you enter college, the deans and administrators will not only look for high grades and attendances. They also delve into your extracurricular activities. Committees who ‘filter’ students coming into their department scan the students’ experience and dedication in the organizations that they have been members of in their high school years. “It’s a great way to build your professional skills including leadership, teamwork, communication, and prioritization,” says career coach Alina Tubman. “All these skills are necessary for students applying to jobs and internships.”
Of course, they’re also interested in your mental and physical health or whether you went into detention or therapy, but a huge part of what they’re looking for are the competitions, recognition, and leadership positions you had in the past.
If you happen to ask your old classmates who are applying to different colleges, they would also realize the same thing: extracurricular activities play a vital role in college admissions. And according to Judy Willis, MD, “Extracurricular activity participation in school and community clubs, teams, and organizations helps increase children’s confidence in pursuing higher goals by first building their confidence areas of strength and interest within their comfort zones.” So if you were president of one of your favorite high school clubs, then you probably have one leg inside that department already. Being the club president will serve as your ticket to the admissions people that you have the capacity to take on responsibility, with which you will face plenty in college life.
But, really, how does one go from being a usual club member to being the president of the club? Here are some tips on how to be chosen as president of your favorite high school club.
- Get To Know Your Fellow Members. If you’ve been in an organization for about a year, chances are, you already know most of your fellow club members. Slowly reach out to your closest ones and inform them of your intention of becoming president. Listen to them and ask them to honestly tell you about the issues that they want to be addressed. Make a mental list of these issues and think about how you can eliminate them if you were given the opportunity. Also, establish a friendship with the club advisor, as he or she will have other insights that you, as students don’t often see.
Build Trust And Leadership. This is another crucial step in becoming club president. You must show the other members that you are respectable and well-mannered. Practice the art of listening because it is a valuable trait that every leader must possess. These qualities you must show even before you do not have plans of becoming club president, as every member must learn to respect and treat another without judgment. Be a good role model in terms of completing tasks and following guidelines. Take the club seriously so that everyone will rely on you and trust you.
“Good leadership is knowing where to lead people,” wrote Dr. Stephen McKenzie, psychologist and author of Mindfulness at Work. “The essence of knowing where to lead other people is knowing where to lead ourselves. We have to discover our full working potential before we can lead others to discover their full working potential.”
Learn The Club Rules And Election Process. This is a rather technical matter that you can discuss with your faculty adviser since she is expected to have more knowledge on this than anyone in the club. For instance, some organizations require someone else to nominate you formally for you to be eligible to run for club president. In others, there is no need. You can just express your intention of running or simply nominate yourself. Additionally, some clubs don’t have a formal election procedure. Instead, the club president is appointed by the current club leadership or the faculty adviser herself.
Compose An Eloquent Speech. There’s usually a formal campaign period where the candidates are asked to deliver a speech to summarize their intent, their goals, and their plans for the club. Write a powerful speech and take it seriously. Be genuine with your words and don’t fill it with flowery phrases that would only tarnish the trust that you’ve started to build among the members. This is probably the only time that you can voice out how you feel about the club and what you want for the club to succeed. Finally, end your speech by telling them of a quote that represents your vision for the club – one that is in line with the organization’s recent mission and goals. And then do not forget to thank everyone.
In Case You Don’t Become The Club President…
It may sound cliché, but yes, losing is part of the game. Make a graceful exit. Do not become a sore loser – everybody hates a sore loser. Be someone who remains confident that there is something that the club can offer. You might not be president this year, but because you have shown utter dignity, you will be chosen to be vice president, or the PR guy, which means that you will emerge stronger next year.
Being a club president does look striking on your college applications, but it is not the end of you and where you hope to be. There are other equally important leadership roles that you can create where none existed in the past.