Everyone from the College Board to Harvard agrees – one of the best things you can do to improve your college application is to show leadership in high school. In fact, most schools would rather you took a leadership role in one club than participatory roles in multiple organizations.
When you take a leadership role, not only will you improve your chances at getting into your target school, but you’ll also have a great opportunity to learn new skills, challenge yourself, and make a meaningful impact on the organization you choose. It’s a win-win!
Obviously, not every student can be the Student Body President or Yearbook Editor—so what can you do?
Head a committee.
Officers aren’t the only leaders of a club, and they need lots of help. By leading a committee, you can be the person in charge of organizing a specific event or initiative, like a fundraiser, blood drive, or school recycling campaign.
Start your own club.
Maybe the clubs you’re interested in have more than enough help, or there’s a cause or opportunity that you see being unaddressed. Isn’t that how Glee got started? Talk to your student office or guidance counselor and see what you would have to do to start your own organization. Just be careful you don’t create a group that’s similar to something that already exists, just to improve your application. DoSomething.org has some great ideas and resources for starting your own club!
Become the captain.
Being the team captain isn’t necessarily about being the best player on the team. It’s about organizing team events, occasional liaison roles with school officials, and about motivating your teammates. These are qualities that any college would appreciate, even if you aren’t looking at their sports programs.
Look outside your school.
The best opportunities for you may not be on your school campus, but with a local volunteer group, part-time job, or internship with an organization near you. You can learn something new, make a difference, and forge connections that may help you in the future.
Are you taking a leadership role this year?