If you’re looking to make yourself stand out from the thousands of other college candidates, you’ll need a memorable college application. As someone who’s approaching the end of their high school years, you probably already have a lot on your plate.
In addition to having a good class attendance record, you also need to do all of your homework and keep an eye on your grade point average. Naturally, all of that is on top of the household chores you already have. As all of those responsibilities start piling up, it can be exceedingly difficult to find the time for the things you love doing. So what are you to do?
Well, there’s one surefire way to devote yourself to a passion project while beefing up your college application! Usually, the way to do that is to participate in an extracurricular activity, which can enrich your social life while adding structure to your spare time. But what if there are no clubs you’d enjoy at your school? Well, if you really want to impress colleges, you can show some initiative by learning how to start a club in high school.
How to Start a Club in High School — a Comprehensive Guide
Knowing how to start a club in high school isn’t a skill anyone is born with. However, creating and managing a club can be a great way to showcase your leadership and organizational skills. Furthermore, it’ll show colleges that you’re someone who knows what they want and follows through.
1. Figure Out What’s Missing at School
If you’re looking to learn how to start a club in high school, you need to start by finding out which ones already exist. There is more than one way to go about finding that information. For example, you can:
- Check the bulletin boards at school for club flyers or signup sheets. You might be able to gauge what the student body is most interested in by the number of signatures. Later on, that might help you work out the purpose of your club!
- Ask around the school. If you just want to see which clubs the school is already offering, the front-desk receptionist will be happy to help. However, you can also survey your friend group, which is another method that can help you see what’s missing.
- Check the school site. If it’s relatively up to date, you should be able to find a list of all of the extracurricular activities and clubs the school offers.
Once you know which clubs are on offer, you’ll be able to see which ones are missing and go from there. On the other hand, there’s also a chance that your school is already offering the very club you wanted to start. If such a club exists, but it’s inactive, you can have a hand in bringing it back to life. Just find out which teacher is in charge of the club and tell them that you’d like to restart it.
The good thing about finding a dormant club you’re interested in is that you wouldn’t have to start from square one when you have to establish the club’s rules and mission statement. However, if you do find a void your club could fill, you’ll have to put in some more effort.
2. Workshop the Subject or the Title
When you’re trying to figure out how to start a club in high school, these first two steps should ideally happen simultaneously. It’s a bit of a “chicken or egg” situation in that either of these steps can precede the other. You can have the idea for a club and then go looking to find whether your school already has it. Alternatively, you could be inspired to create a club only after you see the list of existing clubs. No matter how you came to the idea, there’s more to making a club than simply naming it.
So now is the time to workshop your idea. If you only have a vague idea of the purpose of your club, you need to narrow it down. Why should your club exist? Will it be a fundraising group, a community service one, or will it cater to a specific professional interest? Alternatively, you can just make a club that’s supposed to gather people around a particular subject.
Furthermore, you might want to consider opening a branch of a nationally recognized group, such as the National Honor Society, Red Cross, or UNICEF. Even some political parties have official high school clubs. So if you eventually want to go into politics, you can start building your resume in high school.
On the other hand, if you don’t want to establish a branch of an existing organization, you’ll have to come up with an easy club name. It can be quirky and creative, but the name should also clearly convey what the club is about.
3. Find a Teacher to Sponsor Your Club and Figure Out the Details
Once you figure out the exact purpose of your club, it’s time to work out the details. However, figuring out the ins and outs of your school’s club registration process can be a bit too complicated for a single person. Fortunately, you don’t need to know how to start a club in high school all on your own — your teachers are there to help.
Once you know the general subject you want to address with your club, there are two ways to find an appropriate sponsor. If the club doesn’t have an academic goal, you can just ask your favorite teacher to help you out. However, if there’s a teacher whose professional field aligns with your club’s purpose, you should ask them. So if you want to start an environmental club, you might want to ask your biology teacher to sponsor it. Even if your preferred teacher doesn’t have time to sponsor your club, it’s not the end of the road. They may still be able to recommend a teacher that’s available to be a sponsor.
By the time you approach a teacher, you should ideally already have a general proposal for the creation of the club. Type out everything you’ve come up with so far, including the club’s name, purpose, and goals. Later on, you’ll probably need to come up with a formal mission statement, which is just a sentence or two in the third person, explaining the reason why the club exists.
When you find your sponsor, they could help you with the club registration process. The requirements for starting a club should either be on the school site or in the administrator’s office. While you’re there, you should also pick up any forms you’ll need to fill out, and look up the school rules regarding clubs.
4. Get Funding — If You Need It
When you go to register your new club, it might also help to have an estimate of the finances the group might need. Most high school clubs are able to get by without school funding — in fact, most have to. However, those that require finances typically get it by either collecting annual dues from the membership, throwing fundraisers, or selling products. Some groups even use more than one of those methods. Either way, the school board would obviously be pleased if your club required no financial assistance at all.
Still, some clubs need it. For example, artistic or crafting clubs may need money for equipment — although many get by on the supplies the students bring. Rock climbing clubs would need transport to a local climbing gym if the school itself didn’t have a climbing wall. So you see, learning how to start a club in high school can also teach you how to handle funding.
5. Attract Members
Now, there’s no point in learning how to start a club in high school if you’re going to be the only person at the meetings. One student and a sponsor teacher do not a club make. So you’re going to need members.
If you came to the idea of starting a club through conversations with your friends, that’s an excellent place to start roping people in. However, if only one or two of your friends want to join, you can always hold an introductory meeting where people can learn about the club. Here’s where you’ll really get to show off your leadership skills. After doing all the work to start and register the club, now all you’ll need to do is sell it!
Get people to come to your inaugural meeting by printing out fliers and posting them around the school and announcing it during classes. In fact, use any tricks you have to get people to show up. Let them know that there will be snacks and drinks, or various activities related to the purpose of the club. That should drum up some interest.
Many schools also have club days, when all the different clubs have a chance to present themselves to the students. If such an event exists at your school, make sure to host a table. Even better, you can start a little social media campaign by creating a Facebook group, a Twitter account, and/or an Instagram page for the club!
6. Have the First Meeting
As you surely know by now, first impressions are incredibly important. That’s why you need to be creative and exciting in order to draw in your membership. When people come to your club’s introductory meeting, make sure that they’ll have something to see. More importantly, make sure that they’ll leave with a lasting impression — and plans to come back.
For your first meeting, you should have a signup sheet for potential members to write their names and contact information. That way, you’ll be able to let them know when the next meeting will take place. In addition to explaining the purpose of the club, you should also hint as to some exciting activity the club will do during the second meeting. Basically, you’ll want to hook your audience.
At this point, you can also take suggestions from the audience, which you can implement into the future club operation. For this first meeting, you can act as the club secretary and take notes. However, you should probably sort out the club hierarchy as soon as you can.
7. Establish Hierarchy
Most of the people who want to know how to start a club in high school also want to be the president of said club. Whether you want to lead the club or not, you’ll probably at least have to help the members set up a hierarchy. If you’d rather work behind the scenes or you’d like to have a fair election, you can assign the different club roles democratically.
Namely, you’ll need a president, who will be the face of the club as well as its leader. Secondly, the president will need a right-hand man or woman to replace them in case of an emergency. The vice president can also continue marketing the club, looking for new members, and talking to the ones you already have.
Next, you’ll need to make someone the club secretary. They’re the ones who’ll write down each meeting’s minutes and keep an eye on the club’s paperwork. For a more personal touch, you can create customized items that will signal the rank of all of these people. For example, the secretary can have a nice binder or a notebook with a club logo sticker on the front. You might want to have an artist whip up a recognizable logo, if only for the sake of branding.
Lastly, your club will also need a treasurer, who will be responsible for the club’s finances. If you don’t trust another student with the money, you can leave it to the teacher sponsor. However, the whole point of clubs is to have students in charge of an organization. So you should really distribute these roles among the membership.
8. Keep It Going
Now all you need to do is keep the club going. Establish a regular meeting time, whether that’s monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly, that suits most of the members. Some schools have specific times set aside for club participation during school hours. However, others may require you to meet before or after school as well.
No matter how often you end up meeting, try to make the club time count. The president or the vice president should remind the membership of the previous meeting’s minutes ahead of time. That will help everyone be more prepared for the next meeting. Whether everyone is working on individual projects (like in the case of an art club) or a group one (like Yearbook club), everyone should be prepared to pull their own weight.
In order to sustain the club, the members should socialize fairly frequently. Simply knowing how to start a club in high school doesn’t guarantee that it will survive after you graduate. So do whatever you can to ensure its stability and longevity by establishing it in the school’s social life.
Soon enough, your club victories will translate into collegiate wins. The same skills you used to set up and run your high school club will help you strike the right school-life balance at university!