8 reasons why should you join Student Organizations in US Universities? How many to Join ? What kind of student organizations to Join ?

by Kumar · 10 comments

Why join Student Orgs in US UniversitiesMany students do not realize the importance or value behind joining student organizations. They just complain, “Student orgs are full of politics”. They just base their opinion based out of someone else’s comments or their personal experience being part of  regional organizations like Indian Student Association, Pakistani Student Association or Sri Lankan student association. The point is, regional or country based orgs typically have lot of politics involved in them, but that is not the case with rest of the 200 orgs that are existing out there….I have been part of at least a dozen of student orgs and I can tell you the amount of stuff I learnt is incredible. I got jobs, I got scholarships, I met some amazing people, I got mentors… I will try to share some of my experiences.

Why should you join a Student Organization?

There are many reasons why one should join a student organization. Some help you with career, some help you with social skills and some help you with personality development.

  1. Networking : The easy and best way to network with students who have similar interests is joining a student organizations. It can help you with you career, hobby or anything that you are passionate about.
  2. Social Skills : As a student you want to learn how to talk to other people from different cultures and countries. As an international student, it is your opportunity to build some social skills.
  3. Professional experience : If you join professional chapter student organizations, you will get exposed to lot of professional career and help you build professionally. For instance, if you are a marketing major, joining  American Marketing Association will help you get a feel of your professional career.
  4. Personality development : If you join a student organization, your communication skills will improve because you are interacting with different people. You may learn even more if you are on the executive board. You learn to balance education and organizational work focusing on your goals.
  5. Leadership Skills : If you become part of the executive board, you take up the responsibility or challenge to be a leader and you learn what it takes to be a leader. The schools help you by giving you training and instilling those good leadership skills.
  6. Alumni Networking : Student organizations usually try to bring in alumni and ask them to share their experiences. It is a wonderful opportunity for you learn from seniors who have graduated and get connected to them. It helps you with job search and mentoring. I got my internship through alumni networking.
  7. Organization and Management Skills : Many of us are not familiar how an organization works and how to manage everything. If you are on the executive board you get to learn how fundraising works, how finances work, how to market for event, How to work as a team. It helps you in the long run for your job or if you are opening your own business.
  8. Friendships and Fun : Life is not just about career and making money. It is about building friendships and having fun. You get a chance to meet people and build good friendships. You will be part of the social activities and will have so  much fun.

How many student organizations should you join ?

It is very tempting when you see the big list of 200 student organizations at the University to join every one of them. I have signed up for many student organizations, but in all reality I could not keep up with all of them. You should pick a few and prioritize. Ideally, being part of 3 to 4 student organizations is good. You do not want to be an executive board member in all of these, being executive board member in two organizations is good. Anything more than this will be out of hands and you may find hard to balance. It also depends on how active the student organizations are…if they meet once a month, then you can handle more. But, if you are part of an organization that has weekly meetings and weekly events then it gets harder.  Just imagine, if your org meets weekly and you are in 4 student orgs, more than half of your time in week is gone… You do not want to screw up school and grades… so be cautious !

What kind of student organizations to join ?

You main goal for picking a student organization should be based on your passion for your interest or based on benefits to you.   If the student org does something that you are passionate about, you can join that org or if any student org helps you  build network, social skills,  or grow professionally then you should join.   Just think logically before you join, if you will either enjoy it or at least it adds value to your career.

Personal choice : I would prefer to join these 4 types of orgs :

  • A student org that is related to my career which is part of a national professional chapter like American Marketing Association. This is typically in your course area related.
  • An organization that helps me build good friendships or meet people from different countries or same country. E.g. International Student association or Indian student association.
  • An organization that does activities that match my passion or interests e.g.:   Student Latin Dancing Association, Habitat for Humanity, etc.
  • An organization where I get enough exposure to college system and I know the stuff going on in college. Also, helps me know administration and faculty in college. E.g. Student Government association or Student association.

Image Credit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/intersectionconsulting/4126503353/in/photostream


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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Saud Alghamdi January 24, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Hi

I am an international student studying in the US and I need to make friends. The thing is I am too shy to start a conversation with anyone plus I don’t really know what my interests are. I might be interested in some organizations but I feel like I have to be skillful to join them. All I know is I want to improve my social skills and be more outgoing

what kind of student organization you recommend me join ?
And do I have to be skillful in what the organization does or being interested is enough?

Thanks

Reply

misty May 17, 2012 at 11:21 am

i need your answer about the question that i sent you

Reply

misty May 17, 2012 at 11:18 am

what are some student organization that you can join at your college

Reply

Tarun April 26, 2012 at 9:54 am

Hi Kumar,
Thanks for this post. You made us all realize the importance of joining students organizations.
The reasons you gave are all very good Thanks for your piece of advice.
I’d definitely act upon your advice about the orgs.
Tarun

Reply

misty May 17, 2012 at 11:22 am

hay can you help me with a question

Reply

Tarun May 17, 2012 at 11:43 pm

Hello, How can I help you mam?
Did you ask the question to me?
Please let me know.
Thanks
Best Regards,
Tarun

Reply

Rami March 27, 2012 at 7:42 am

Thank you, i am 100% happy for it.

Reply

mayumi April 19, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Hi! I was reading this blog post and thought my video podcast about leadership at my school, with a focus on the Associated Students, might be of relevance. It is in connection with the comment above mine from Danya. We are actually in the same podcasting group, but mine is focusing on a different position from Associated Students. Check it out please =)

http://www.vimeo.com/11058535

Reply

Danya March 30, 2010 at 12:05 am

Hi, I just recently finish a podcast for my college class on leadership and thought this would be helpful. Here is the link:http://vimeo.com/10541843

Reply

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