One of the benefits of extracurricular activities is that they look good on your college application. Colleges (and scholarship foundations!) want students who are well-rounded leaders among their peers and in their communities. But college applications aren’t the only reason young entrepreneurs should join certain extracurriculars. They can also help you network, build your business, and develop the leadership qualities all successful CEOs share.
Before jumping into every single club your school offers, try to narrow your interests down to a few categories. Choose activities that can help you with your specific goals.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will help get you started.
This category of extracurricular activities includes volunteering for groups such as non-profits, charities, hospitals, soup kitchens, and other places that need a hand.
The benefits of community service extracurriculars are many, while the downsides are few. Find an organization in your area that’s involved within the field you plan to study in college. For example, young entrepreneurs who want to work with animals might volunteer at an animal shelter or animal rights group.
You may not even need to look outside of school for a community service group you can join. Check and see if your school offers a Key Club, mentoring program for middle schoolers, or other service activity.
By offering your time and skills to community service, you show that you are selfless, kind, and generous. You are someone with a passion for giving back and helping those in need without expecting anything in return.
Entrepreneurs are leaders, and smart leaders start building their skill set as early as possible. Your school’s student government is a fantastic way to grow leadership abilities. For those young entrepreneurs who may feel shy, introverted, or otherwise non-leadery, student government provides you with on-the-spot training that you can take with you to college and beyond.
Not the political type? There are plenty of other ways to become a leader among your peers. Your school probably has committees for events such as homecoming, prom, graduation, and athletics. When you join a committee, you are not only showing how much you enjoy helping, but how capable you are of working with a team and making important decisions. Both of these – teamwork and decision-making – are crucial skills for young entrepreneurs.
If you want to start and run a business you should have some inkling of what that’s like. From internships to summer college intensives, young entrepreneurs can prove their business skills. Your high school may even offer an FBLA chapter you can join, or run a business or economics club. If your school doesn’t have these things, why not start one?
We’re living in a golden age of young entrepreneurship. There are thousands of ways you can acquire the experience you need through programs and resources designed just for you. You can put together a team and compete against other young entrepreneurs around the country. Utilize online resources to motivate your team, club, or school group.
Business programs as extracurriculars are also perfect networking opportunities. Where else can you meet so many other like-minded young entrepreneurial peers? Or potential mentors? Get your name out there, get your idea funded, and get yourself noticed by people who can truly help you on your entrepreneurial journey.
You don’t need to be your school’s star quarterback or a state track champion to become involved in athletics. Participating in sports looks great on your college application because it shows you understand hard work, training, and competition.
Team sports are wonderful. Joining a team sport proves you work well with others. Teams involve leadership and cooperation.
But teams aren’t for everyone. Consider tennis, track, golf, swimming, or bowling. And cheerleading definitely counts as a sport!
If your school doesn’t offer a sport that interests you, check your city or town’s recreation department. Alternatively, you might sign up for martial arts or gymnastics lessons at a studio nearby. You aren’t lacking in ways to incorporate athletics into your extracurricular schedule.
Besides looking good on your college application, sports can help young entrepreneurs feel stronger and more creative. Moving your body charges up your brain’s power. It helps you stay physically healthy. The better you feel, the more successfully you can run your business.
Mentorships aren’t only for high school entrepreneurs! Besides finding a business mentor for yourself, you can also mentor others in your community.
Academic tutoring is just one way you can become a community mentor. You can also start a hobby club for young kids that teaches them how to get started. If your town has a Men’s Club or Women’s Club, ask them if they sponsor a Boy’s Club or Girl’s Club. Contact your old middle or elementary school and ask if they need help with after school-activities.
When you become a mentor, you show everyone that you can connect to your community in a hands-on way. You are helping to develop the next batch of drama students, D&D players, or skateboarders. You might learn something about yourself, too. Maybe teaching pre-algebra to 12-year-olds isn’t as fun or as simple as you thought it would be. Now you know that becoming a middle school math teacher isn’t quite right for you and you can change paths before you ever step foot in a classroom!
You love movies. Why not start a movie club at your school? Instead of watching movies alone at home, you can get together to see movies in theaters (if you can do so safely) or host watching parties online. Discuss what you saw, where the movie belongs in cinema history, the director’s other works, etc. Don’t just watch Hollywood blockbusters: throw in a few indie, foreign, or old films, too.
Joining or starting a club based on a hobby is a fun way to meet others and make friends. By making it official, you never know what kinds of doors will open for you. Invites, guests, and special admissions are just some of the perks you can get when you are part of an official group rather than by yourself. Whatever it is you love to do, someone out there loves it, too.
Find out what you need to do to start a club at school. For starters, you may need a faculty sponsor and a minimum number of students. Start asking around!
There are, of course, plenty more types of extracurriculars for young entrepreneurs. These are just a few ideas to consider while you are still in high school. And while it’s great to try new things, don’t over-extend yourself to the point where you burn out and can’t do your best. When it comes to extracurriculars, remember quality over quantity.
The Kantner Foundation is proud to offer college scholarships to Florida’s high school entrepreneurs. To learn more about our program, and to start your application, click here.