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How to Start a Club in College

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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Getting involved in clubs on campus can help you pursue your interests, meet new people, have fun, and enrich your college experience. So, what do you do when you have an interest in a specific activity or club that’s not offered at your school? Rather than accept its absence, create it! Many clubs and organizations on campuses across the country were started by college students who recognized a need and wanted to fill it. Starting your own club takes initiative and can be a lot of work, but the reward is well worth the effort.  

Why Do Student Organizations Matter in College?

Participating in student organizations offers many benefits, some of which go beyond college. You will grow your social circle, of course, but being part of student groups can benefit you academically and professionally. These benefits include: 

  • Developing leadership skills 
  • Improving your emotional intelligence 
  • Learning new skills 
  • Getting out of your comfort zone 
  • Building your resume and professional networks 
  • Making you a better communicator 
  • Practicing teamwork 
  • Balancing various responsibilities 


Student organizations are also a great way to participate in fun club activities and decompress from the rigors of coursework. Participation in extracurriculars is a large part of the campus culture and allows you to experience the fullness of college life.  

What Is the Main Purpose of a Club? 

The purpose of a campus club or organization in general is to bring students together who share similar interests. It’s an important way to build relationships, learn from others, and have an impact on the campus community and beyond.  

According to IvyWise counselor Eric, clubs “keep you busy and keep you engaged in the things you know and love.” Remember, your extracurricular activities in high school demonstrated how you were engaged and what interests you pursued — this helped the admissions committee understand the impact you would have on campus. Participating in student clubs in college is a continuation of that engagement and one of many ways you can make your contribution to campus life. It can also help you if you decide to apply to graduate school.   

Listen to our Just Admit It! podcast to learn more about extracurriculars.  

How Can You Contribute to a Club? 

You can contribute to a student organization in various ways, depending on your skills, interests, and the specific needs of the organization. Here are some ways you can get involved and make a positive impact: 

  • Attend regular meetings and get to know the members and the organization’s mission and goals. This will help you understand how you can contribute effectively. 
  • Consider running for a leadership position within the organization. These roles often involve more responsibilities but also offer opportunities to shape the organization’s direction. 
  • Join a committee focused on a specific task or event, such as fundraising, event planning, marketing, or community service. 
  • Offer to help organize and run events or activities hosted by the organization. This can include setting up, coordinating logistics, managing registration, or even leading workshops or presentations. 
  • Share your skills or expertise (e.g., graphic design, social media management, public speaking, fundraising, event planning) to benefit the organization.  
  • Help the organization raise funds by planning and participating in fundraisers, grant-writing, or seeking sponsorships from local businesses. 
  • Assist with administrative tasks like managing emails, maintaining the organization’s website or social media accounts, and keeping records. 
  • Promote the club! Hang club posters around campus and spread the word to everyone you know.  


You may discover other ways you can contribute that aren’t listed here. Be open to possibilities and opportunities. 

Why Should You Start a Student Organization? 

There are numerous reasons to start a student organization, but one common reason is to fulfill a need. Most colleges and universities have clubs that cater to a diverse array of extracurricular interests. However, they may not cover every interest or hobby. In that case, you might consider starting a student organization so you can fill that gap and pursue your passion with others who share your interest.  

Starting and running a student organization can also be personally rewarding and a confidence booster — not to mention, it can impress future employers or graduate school admissions counselors! Want to be an agent of change? Founding a student organization can help you raise awareness about important issues, get others involved, and make a positive impact on your college community.  

How Does a Club Make Money? 

Student clubs can generate revenue to support their activities and initiatives in several ways. Some common methods include collecting membership dues and donations, organizing fundraisers, seeking sponsorships from local businesses and community organizations, partnering with other student clubs to share resources and reduce expenses, selling merchandise, holding membership drives, and more. Don’t be afraid to reach out to alumni groups for financial support or offer to co-host events with local businesses and split the proceeds.      

It’s essential for student clubs to maintain transparency and proper financial records when handling money. Many colleges and universities have guidelines and policies in place for managing club finances, including the use of bank accounts or club budgets. The club leadership should also consider the tax implications of their income and expenses and consult with their institution’s student affairs office or financial advisor for guidance on financial management. 

What Types of College Clubs Are There? 

Most colleges and universities have a directory that lists student clubs on campus. You can often find quirky clubs in addition to more traditional ones. The type of club you start is limited only by your imagination, but most student clubs tend to fall into these categories:   

  • Academic and professional: Academic clubs are typically related to your area of study but can also include honor societies and debate clubs. Professional clubs are sometimes college chapters of a professional organization and provide opportunities for students to network and gain practical knowledge in their chosen field.  
  • Recreation and sports: These include intramural and club sports and other recreational activities clubs. Examples include clubs for outdoor adventurers, yogis, e-sports enthusiasts, and martial artists.   
  • Spiritual and religious: These clubs are formed by students who share a common faith or spiritual interest to practice and explore their religious beliefs, engage in religious activities, and foster a sense of community.  
  • Community service: These clubs focus on volunteerism and civic engagement and are sometimes related to charities. Some schools have service-learning clubs that integrate community service with academic learning, providing students with practical experiences related to their coursework. 
  • Performing arts: These clubs encompass a wide range of performing arts, including theater, dance, music, comedy, and more.  
  • Media and publication: Students in these clubs typically produce or discuss media. Examples include filmmaking and film discussion groups, student newspapers, literary journals, and art compilations.    
  • Political: These clubs bring together students who align on political issues, ideologies, and/or activist movements. These include clubs affiliated with political parties, issue-based clubs (e.g., social justice, environmentalism, etc.), political action and advocacy clubs, and policy analysis.  
  • Multicultural and ethnic: Multicultural clubs typically bring together students of different cultures to promote cultural diversity and understanding. Ethnic clubs are a way for students with a shared cultural or ethnic background to connect. 

8 Steps on How to Start a Club in College 

These tips will help you establish your student club or organization. 

1. Identify the Interests of Current Students 

Whether it’s activism, engineering, writing, or some other field, think of what inspired you and see if any current organizations fill that need. If not, then here’s your chance to start it! Look into the different types of clubs that you could create around this interest, and what it takes to set one up. Research your school’s requirements along with specific organization requirements if you’re looking to set up a new chapter of a larger group at your college. It takes proper research and planning to make a club successful.   

2. Define the Club’s Goals and Objectives 

Once you have an idea of similar clubs that are already out there and what it takes to start one, think about the club’s goals and objectives and how you plan to achieve them. Think about the impact you want the club to make on the campus and the surrounding community. Work on a mission statement that clearly communicates your club’s objectives.  

3. Get Others Involved 

Find friends and classmates who share the same interests and would want to be involved in your club, especially if you have officer roles to fill. Some schools or official organizations may require a minimum number of students to establish a new club, so get others excited, too! Word of mouth, club posters, and social media are great ways to promote your club and recruit new members.  

4. Find a Club Advisor 

Once you have a clear vision for your club and a solid number of other interested students, approach an appropriate faculty member, administrator, or staff member to serve as an advisor. The person you choose must fulfill several duties, such as liaising between the club and the school, providing mentorship and guidance to the club leader and other officers, mediating conflicts, and interpreting policy.  

5. Register Your Club 

Once you have your officers and advisor, you can register your club with the school. Club registration often gives you access to campus resources, such as marketing services, the use of meeting rooms and equipment, the use of recreational spaces, and even funding. The student activities office may have you register online or deliver a registration form to their office.  

6. Write Your Constitution and Bylaws 

Depending on your college or university, this may be required before you register your club. The constitution includes your club’s mission statement, purpose, functions, and fundamental principles for operation. The bylaws outline day-to-day operations including the officers’ duties, membership requirements, how meetings are conducted, the club meeting schedule, voting procedures, and more. 

7. Submit the Anti-Hazing Agreement 

Hazing is a form of club initiation that sometimes involves physical, mental, and/or emotional abuse that can lead to injury or even death — examples include forced consumption of substances, extreme physical endurance tests, public humiliation, demeaning tasks, and sleep deprivation, among others. The anti-hazing agreement typically defines hazing and the punishment for violating the agreement. This document is signed by the advisor, officers, and everyone on the club member list.  

8. Attend Training  

Club officers typically must undergo training before the club can be promoted and meetings can be held. These training sessions help officers understand the expectations for their roles as well as learn how to manage the club finances, reserve rooms, register for events, create meeting agendas, and more. This training can be in-person or virtual.  

Once you complete your club registration and other tasks and start holding meetings, give yourself a pat on the back! It’s a lot of work, but it can also be greatly rewarding. Remember to nurture this new endeavor by staying involved and growing the organization. You’ll not only enhance the community experience on campus, but you will grow your social circle and professional connections. However, if you’re having difficulty balancing your academics with extracurriculars, learn how academic advising at IvyWise can help you achieve your goals and take advantage of everything college has to offer.  


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