10 Ways to Get Involved on Campus

Want to get involved in college, but don't know where to start? Discover 10 ways to participate in student life on campus.

portrait of Michelle Kelley
by Michelle Kelley

Updated July 22, 2022

Edited by Cameren Boatner
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10 Ways to Get Involved on Campus
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Whether it's your first semester of college or you're entering senior year, getting involved on campus can be a rewarding experience.

If you're new, joining an organization or intramural sports team can help you make friends on campus. If you're about to graduate, securing an on-campus job or research position can allow you to develop new skills, bolster your resume, and expand your professional network.

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Ready to start your journey?

Check out the 10 best ways to get involved on campus below.

1. Join or Start a Student Club

One way of getting involved on campus is to join a student club. To find student groups, start by searching online. Many colleges have offices of student engagement or student life, which provide listings of student organizations on their homepages.

You can take part in many kinds of organizations. Student centers, such as Oberlin College's Multicultural Resource Center, provide information on groups for LGBTQ+ students, first-generation students, and students of color.

Many student groups even meet virtually these days.

If you can't find a club that interests you, consider starting your own. At most schools, you must secure approval from a governing board to launch a new student organization.

2. Rush a Fraternity or Sorority

Joining a fraternity or sorority can be a great way to make friends and make a difference on campus. Many colleges and universities offer Greek life organizations you can rush.

Fraternities and sororities can help you build your leadership skills by allowing you to take on a role on the organization's board. You'll also have plenty of volunteer opportunities.

If you can't find a sorority or fraternity you're interested in, you can start your own. Greek life organizations have national boards with chapters throughout the U.S. If your interests align with a certain fraternity or sorority but your school doesn't have the chapter you're looking for, gather a group of like-minded students and apply to start a chapter.

3. Join an Honor Society

If you have a strong academic record, you might want to get involved on campus by joining a college honor society. Honor societies can be both general (i.e., open to all high-achieving students) and major- or discipline-specific.

Some examples of honor societies include Psi Chi for psychology students and Delta Mu Delta for business students.

By joining an honor society, you'll benefit from networking opportunities, special events, and even potential scholarships.

4. Participate in Student Government

Want to advocate for your peers or help determine how the university spends its money? Then consider joining your college's student government organization.

There are many positions in student government, and it's a great chance to get involved in campus life. You don't have to run for president or vice president, either — many smaller roles are available that can provide you with just as many opportunities for involvement.

5. Write for Your Student Newspaper

One way to build professional experience and get to know your campus and other students better is to write for your student newspaper. As a newspaper writer, you can report on topics that are important to your campus community and meet a diverse array of fellow students, staff, and faculty along the way.

Student newspapers often have an on-campus office you can walk into to join. You can also probably find your student newspaper online or on social media where it may post meeting dates and outreach events.

6. Get an On-Campus Job

If you want to get involved on campus while earning some extra income, consider pursuing an on-campus job. Some popular part-time jobs for students include campus tour guide, bookstore employee, library assistant, and resident advisor.

Many schools offer work-study jobs to students who demonstrate financial need. On-campus employers understand that school is your first priority and are usually willing to work around your class schedule. This flexibility can help you maintain balance as a college student while juggling work, school, and other responsibilities.

Working on campus can also help you develop transferable soft skills, such as communication and teamwork.

7. Join an Intramural Sports Team

If you like sports but don't want to try out for a collegiate team, consider joining an intramural sports team instead. Staying active can benefit your mental and physical health. Moreover, studies suggest that playing intramural sports contributes to students' social development and may even improve academic performance.

Examples of intramural sports include flag football, basketball, volleyball, and soccer. Some schools also offer less conventional sports, such as cornhole and ladderball.

Today, many colleges, like UCLA, offer esports as well, allowing you to compete in video games like League of Legends and Super Smash Bros.

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8. Participate in Club Sports

Club sports are more competitive than intramural sports, and you'll probably have to try out to join a team. That said, you don't need to be an outstanding athlete to get involved in club sports. Most programs welcome casual and competitive players alike.

9. Look for Research Opportunities

Participating in campus research is another great way to get involved in college. Students in just about any discipline can find positions assisting graduate students and faculty in academic research. Fields like psychology, sociology, and science and engineering tend to have the most opportunities for research.

While research positions are common at premier research institutions, like Johns Hopkins University and Stanford, faculty at smaller schools often work with undergraduate researchers as well.

As a volunteer researcher, you may not be paid or earn college credit. If, however, you plan to go to graduate school, assisting in faculty research may make you a stronger applicant. You can gain hands-on experience while working closely with a faculty member who may eventually write you a recommendation letter for your grad school applications.

To find research opportunities, contact your school's career center or ask your professors directly, either during office hours or by email.

10. Attend Campus Events

Schoolwide events are just one way colleges and universities aim to increase student involvement on campus. Faculty and staff may organize public lectures, career fairs, community service events, and a wealth of other activities. Academic divisions and departments also often host events like faculty book talks and film screenings.

You should be able to find various events throughout the year. Schools often schedule special events during college fundraising campaigns to raise money for specific projects, such as a new campus building's construction. Colleges may advertise upcoming events in newsletters, emails, and flyers.

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting Involved on Campus

Why is it important to get involved on campus?

One of the benefits of getting involved in college is that it widens your social circle. You can meet other students who share your interests and possibly build friendships. Participating in on-campus activities may also help you develop new skills, explore new interests, and deepen your sense of belonging within the college community.

What is campus involvement?

Campus involvement takes many forms. Some students participate in Greek life, while others are active in honor societies and pre-professional groups. Many students join intramural sports teams or attend school-sponsored events. Career-minded students often work on campus or assist faculty in academic research.

Is there a correlation between student involvement and high academic success?

Students who are active on campus often perform better academically than their less-involved peers. Some studies suggest that participating in intramural sports can positively impact students' performance in school.

Additionally, students who volunteer as researchers may benefit academically by developing relevant skills and establishing positive professional relationships with faculty.

What do students do on campus for fun?

Student organizations often host events, such as holiday parties, fundraisers, and film screenings. Some departments host end-of-semester celebrations. Dorm residents may participate in activities like open mic nights and talent shows. Students who join a college chorus, glee club, or marching band perform at concerts and sporting events.

Are extracurricular activities important in college?

Participating in extracurriculars may help you discover untapped talents, develop new skills, and forge friendships. Although academics are important, students seeking the full college experience can benefit from joining student clubs, attending events, and otherwise participating in campus life.

BestColleges.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

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