Connecting on Campus: Undergraduate Associations

Just as all the activities you did in high school were important to the admissions department at the college you currently attend, the activities and clubs you join on campus and place on your resume will be valuable for your future search for your first position in the business world. There are literally hundreds of student organizations that are always looking for new members. Look for potential groups to join as soon as you arrive on campus your freshman year. Make an effort by attending the open house most colleges hold for organizations at the beginning of the year. These large events are filled with clubs trying to make a mark on freshmen and other interested students. In general, there are three different types of undergraduate associations that you can look to join.

The first and most obvious group that many freshmen are attracted to are the various social fraternities and sororities. While these undergraduate associations can foster lasting friendships and contacts, it also requires more than a simple membership. Some Greek organizations require students to live at their house for several semesters, which can be a serious deterrent to your studies and a more stereotypically crazy college experience in general. Don’t forget about the hefty dues you must pay every semester; that bill is usually four figures. Regardless, if you are dead set on joining the Greek style of life, just be careful that you pick the club you feel most at home with, and remember that you are in school to learn.

Perhaps the most valuable undergraduate associations in terms of future connections you could join as an undergraduate are the professional and academic ones. Universities usually have professional organizations for most degrees that they offer. Join clubs such as a Historical Society or Engineers Club to make even more contacts within your specific school of study and degree program. Many of these have Greek titles; don’t get them social fraternities found in the preceding paragraph. If you are an exceptional student, there is also the possibility of joining the elite and highly competitive academic clubs such as the Dean’s List or Honors Scholars. To be accepted into undergraduate associations such as these, you must apply with and maintain a high GPA and do several hours of community service around campus for a given semester.

Finally, you have the option to join a special interest group. These groups bring together students who share a similar hobby or leisure activity and can range from Sky Divers to LGBT advocates to Star Wars fanatics. Again, engage in these clubs early on in the academic year. If you can’t find a special interest group that you like, but have another hobby that you think other students share, don’t be afraid to start your own club. Future employers and graduate school applications departments may be impressed with a line that states “Founder.” This shows management and others in the professional world that you are a leader and not afraid of blazing your own path, able to bring people together, and have exceptional organizational skills.

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