Getting Involved On Campus – The Benefits Are Great

Almost anyone can go to school, and if they work hard on campus, they can get the grades required to get a degree or diploma of some kind.  When it comes to the real world and people are applying for different jobs, a high GPA doesn’t always guarantee you a position.  Sometimes there is a minimum GPA requirement for jobs and if you don’t make the cut than your resume gets thrown out.  In my opinion, at the end of the day there are going to be many people with a degree or a diploma out there.  More often than not, it is getting involved on campus and previous experience that will make a deciding difference in the interview.

What Extracurriculars Can Do For You On Campus

By getting involved you can add more things to your resume.  It will also help you answer questions productively in an interview.  Teacher Man pointed out in one his his earlier articles that during his interview his boss was more concerned with what he did out of school compared to his grades or courses.  Doing extra activities and meeting new people will give you experience that a classroom cannot.  It can give you the added edge over someone who hasn’t done anything extra.  At the very least it shows that you’re outgoing and willing to volunteer your time and take initiative.

Finding Fun Things To Do On Campus

We all need our study breaks, so a good practice is to do something you love doing so it doesnt seem like a chore to go out to do it.  Teacher Man loved his basketball so he did tons of coaching, I was involved in student/faculty councils.  I kind of started by accident, but I soon found out how much I loved doing it.  A great resource to check out is your student union.  They monitor all of the student groups on campus and can give you a list of them, these lists can often be found on their website.  For example, if you like chess, chances are there is a chess club and that it meets weekly.

Learning Skills That They Don’t Teach In The Classroom

Everyone should volunteer in a leadership role at least once in their lifetime, it will show you how hectic things can be and how to deal with unexpected surprises.  I happened to run events for my faculty as well as my residence council.  I have learned that volunteers don’t always show up when they say they do, forcing me to either think up a plan B or learn to plan  for the unexpected.  My experiences enabled me to learn how work as a team with the people around me.  I often noticed the leaders step up and take initiative and did my best to emulate these examples.  Universities don’t directly teach things like patience, social skills, teamwork, and many other useful life skills that can give you the edge in an interview and a job environment.  I had one professor tell the class that, “The “A” Students teach the “B” Students how to work for the “C” students.”  The lesson I took from this is that many “C” students probably worked on their “social networking” instead of their grades, and they are able to land themselves good jobs based on their personality and their ability to adapt to different crowds.

Campus Activities Can Lead To Great Jobs

When you are handing in a resume to an intern position, there will be a pile of other resumes from other students from the same school and program.  Interviewers are looking for things that stand out.  For instance, if you are studying for journalism, you are going to be wanting to be apart of the on campus newspaper in some way. You can also take classes online at colleges like Indiana Wesleyan University or the University of Athabasca to help free up your schedule to work or intern..  With that experience, you should be picked over the other applicants based on the fact you have the experience of handling deadlines and working in a team environment.  At least you will have more experience than someone who just went to their required courses.

What activities did you take part in when you were a student (or are currently taking part in)?  Which specific extracurriculars would you recommend, and which would tell others to stay from?

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12 years ago

Great article! There are definitely lots to be learned beyond the classroom. Actually, to this day many of my professional contacts I have came from extracurriculars.

And the involvement doesn’t have to stop at school. The interests which you pursue could translate nicely into a new job or new contacts for something in the future.

12 years ago

Absolutely. Don’t underestimate the added value of your extracurricular activities. The connections you make, and the “on the job” experience you gain will be very valuable to you after you graduate.

12 years ago
Reply to  Beating Broke

Like J.B. says, in a lot of ways the “extra” stuff is actually more educational than what you pay the thousands of dollars for!

Kody @ Financial Money Tips
12 years ago

Ya i agree, extracurriculars can give someone a big advantage during an interview. Bigger than most people realize. When i hire someone, grades don’t matter at all. Its all about experience, leadership skills, and what they do on their free time.

I know this is not totally true but college is almost a place where kids go to party and thats it. Not a place to learn. The school i went to people were either drunk or high. Therefore, they bullshit their way through college. Which explains why grades don’t matter. You see what i mean?

12 years ago

I’ve actually got a couple of posts coming up that say exactly this. University is not necessarily even a good place to get smarter. It is a good place to get a piece of paper that you really need, and you can learn a lot if you’re so inclined.

12 years ago

Well said Kody, I’m a prime example…. Which is why I took the 5 year plan, and the piece of paper I recieved for my efforts is just a formality for me to get the job I have now. I learned how to talk to people at school, organizational habits, as well as leadership skills. I’m looking forward to writing more on this subject later on this month.

My cousin is entering her 2nd year of college. She spent this summer living with us. During the year, she lives in a themed dorm. This guarantees that the kids in the dorm share interests and helps keep them all involved. For my cousin, it has given her event planning and coordination skills that will be able to translate in to the real world.

12 years ago

I wish I had read this post my freshman year. I didn’t get involved until Junior year….Every interview I was in shortly after graduation, focused on the extracurriculars.

12 years ago

I just finished talking to one of my former grade 12 students that just graduated. Every time I have this discussion I get more passionate about my opinion that living in residence and getting involved in general is just a much better way to go about the post-secondary experience.

12 years ago

It’s interesting how that works hey? I have at couple posts about all the uselessness that academia promotes coming up. Businesses have already figured this out, which is why they realize that something like a GPA is often a pretty useless indicator in terms of precise separation (it can be used in a more general sense to set a minimum).

The Wealthy Canadian
12 years ago

I took part in soccer and broom-ball during my university years. I found it to be very therapeutic in getting a break and away from the books for a while.

It was also a great way to meet new people and learn ideas from people coming from different places.

Being involved in sports may not be the key to catapulting your resume to the moon, but it will give you a set of skills in balancing work and pleasure, which helps for time-management.

Just thinking about my experiences brings back great memories.

Nice post!


12 years ago

When you are in school, the best thing you can do is invest in yourself by learning and doing. Good grades and demonstrating your skills in teamwork, holding office, accomplishments, leadership, work experience, sports, communication skills and organizational skills. Successful graduates should demonstrate that they can handle many things at once successfully.

12 years ago
Reply to  krantcents

This was how I marketed myself when I was done, “I was able to balance a full course load with A, B, and C.” Seemed to pretty effective.

12 years ago

I just asked one of the sr. management guys in my company if GPA would be a factor in my line of work. I also asked if getting a masters is beneficial, I am a grain merchant so its all business and requires good people skills. He told me that I’m not a technical person so it wasn’t too big of a deal. I have common sense and I am good with people, which is worth more than any piece of paper that you can get. Makes me glad that I focused on my wine making rather than my calculus… Read more »

Very well said. Although grade point average can DISQUALIFY you, it won’t necessarily qualify you for a job. Soft skills such as those you talk about learning in extracurricular activities are not typically taught in college and can really only be learned by experience.

Sarah Says
12 years ago
Reply to  Beating Broke

Especially when it comes to leadership opportunities. These things don’t cost anything but reflect really positively on your professional resume.

12 years ago
Reply to  Sarah Says

I definitely agree. I have encouraged all of my friends who are entering competitive fields (what isn’t these days) to separate themselves by showing the initiative your speaking of somewhere.

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