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Getting Involved in Extracurricular Activities

By Steve Thompson

There are extracurricular programs and organizations offered in high school, but the availability is nothing compared to those offered on most college campuses. You've got clubs, teams, and organizations for everything under the sun, some geared toward sports, others toward career goals, and still more toward hobbies and social causes.

You'll find that extracurricular activities on college campuses often extend far beyond the university itself. You'll have opportunities to service the community at large, for example, or to make a difference in the lives of other students.

Sports & Recreation

If you enjoy athletics, most colleges and universities offer numerous extracurricular activities devoted to sports and recreation. From golf to equestrian activities to archery to football, there is probably a team devoted to it. Of course, the competition is higher at the college level, as well as the expectations.

If you don't want to get involved with varsity sports on the college level, you might go out for intramural organizations. You'll probably find leagues for the typical sports, such as basketball and soccer, as well as some non-traditional sports, such as ultimate Frisbee.

Politics & Government

There are several ways to get involved in politics while adjusting to college life. Most colleges have some sort of student government structure, as well as organizations for particular political parties and ideologies. These organizations give students a voice and encourage leadership among undergraduates.

Sororities & Fraternities

Men and women who want to serve their schools and organize social events might consider sororities and fraternities. They can help in adjusting to college life and provide a strong social network and community. These organizations often branch off into other areas of extracurricular activities, such as activism and event planning.

Religion & Spiritualism

If you are a member of a particular religion or spiritual organization, there is probably a related group on campus for you to join. These extracurricular activities often emphasize service and religious exploration, and might provide opportunities for raising awareness and increasing knowledge.

Journalism & School Publications

You might want to go out for the school paper or the school yearbook. Or perhaps you want to get involved in graphic design for flyers, programs and other publications issued by the campus. Whatever the case, most campuses are home to several publications, and, for many of these publications, students run the show, making all the decisions both content-wise and business-wise.

Art & Music

Do you enjoy painting? Sculpting? Playing the trombone? Most colleges and universities have numerous programs for art and music lovers, from jazz band to pottery clubs, to ballet troupes. You're also likely to find theater programs for students interested in drama. Many school productions will be open to students not majoring or minoring in theater.

Finding a Group

There are tons of other opportunities to get involved in extracurricular activities. Even if you're not someone who typically gets involved in extracurriculars, you might want to reconsider. You'll find that extracurricular activities help you get involved in your school on a fundamental level and teach lessons that can be used later on in whatever career you choose.

Talk with your academic adviser or with other students about the organizations available on campus. Look through the directories to find a group, club, or team that you feel would be enjoyable. Take advantage of fairs highlighting dozens of clubs on campus. Most schools will have one during the first few weeks of freshman year to help you discover the variety of opportunities.

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