High School Clubs and Extracurriculars

I’m a current non-freshman high school student, and have joined three clubs already, all of which are my first year joining. I am thinking about a fourth club to pursue my interests, but because I volunteer at a another youth-run nonprofit and have started taking harder classes, I am not sure if I will have the time join a fourth club. But I am very interested in what the club is about. Should I?

Either drop one of the other clubs, or see how they are going before you add another club. This year you will have to see how much any of those clubs do. It is not all “who has the most clubs, wins”. It is better to achieve something in fewer clubs than just be a member of a zillion clubs.

Nobody can tell you if you will have time for another club or not. If it is something you are interested in then go to some meetings. If you don’t have time for all four clubs then drop the one(s) that are either less interesting or where you don’t feel you will be have an opportunity to make a meaningful contribution.

I agree 100% with @bopper that “not all ‘who has the most clubs, wins’. It is better to achieve something in fewer clubs than just be a member of a zillion clubs.”

With that in mind, I think that you are wise to be evaluating your activities now that you are a “non-freshman.” Often CC posters talk about your “story.” Who are you? What makes you tick? What makes you You? Assuming you are a sophomore, you still have time to gain depth in whichever activities you choose to pursue–to tell your story.

I would encourage you to think of the two or three most defining characteristics of your story, e.g., athlete/debater/community volunteer; musician/STEM/language aficionado; or creative writer/environmental activist. If you can identify your most important interests, you can then align your clubs to best fit your story while not spreading yourself too thin.

If you have just joined these clubs, and given that you’re probably a few weeks, at most, into the school year, I’d wait and see whether your concerns are valid before adding to your workload. Course success is much more important than a club count.

If you find you have time available, I’d suggest thinking about devoting more time to one of the clubs, volunteering to take on more, assuming a leadership role, or positioning for a leadership role next year. Leadership and depth is also more valuable than a count.

Freshman year is an excellent time to explore your interests and give various clubs or sports a try. Pick activities because you think they will be something you will enjoy, not because you think they will look better than others on a college application. Yes, you MUST balance your activities with doing well in your classes, but, as long as you don’t make promises to the group you can’t keep, you can test the waters of areas that interest you. Ultimately you will want to narrow your activities down to a few you enjoy the most and where you can make a meaningful and impactful contribution.

Check out “How to be a High School Superstar” by Cal Newport.

“The basic message of the book is this: Don’t wear yourself out taking as many classes as you can and being involved in every club and sport. Instead, leave yourself enough free time to explore your interests. Cultivate one interest and make it into something special that will make you stand out among the other applicants and get you into the toughest schools, even if your grades and scores aren’t stellar. Newport calls this the “relaxed superstar approach,” and he shows you how to really do this, breaking the process down into three principles, explained and illustrated with real life examples of students who got into top schools: (1) underscheduling—making sure you have copious amounts of free time to pursue interesting things, (2) focusing on one or two pursuits instead of trying to be a “jack of all trades,” and (3) innovation—developing an interesting and important activity or project in your area of interest. This fruit yielded by this strategy, an interesting life and real, meaningful achievements, is sure to help not only with college admissions, but getting a job, starting a business, or whatever your goals.”