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How to Start a Club at your School

Starting a club at your school is a fantastic way to build community around a shared passion, demonstrate leadership capabilities, and deepen your engagement with your interests. Discover how you can start a successful and dynamic club at your school!

Starting a club is a great way to meet new people, explore your interests, and demonstrate leadership on college applications. Being a founder of a club will make your applications stand out amongst thousands, while helping you generate new skills in communication and professionalism, as that’s what it takes to start and maintain a new club. In order to create a brand-new club at your school, you will have to do the following:

1. Identify a Need

First, you will want to determine the type of club you’re interested in creating. You will need to decide what your niche is. Think thoroughly about what subjects you’re passionate about and want to explore further. Then, try to consider club themes and projects where you can share your areas of interest with other people, and make a positive impact in your community. If you’re interested in video games and know that others have the same interest, for instance, perhaps explore the possibility of arranging a video game tournament club at your school.

Whatever club you decide to create, you should aim to solve a problem or fulfill a need for the school. Is there a problem at your school that needs to be addressed? For example, if you know many students struggle with essays and writing assignments, you could start a Writing Center that offers free peer tutoring.

Some great reasons to found a club include:

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To gain a skill (i.e. woodshop club, photography club)
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To learn more about a certain subject (i.e. robotics club, chess club)
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To raise awareness for a good cause (i.e. volunteering-based club)
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To explore an artistic canon (i.e. film club, drama club, literary magazine)
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To enjoy your hobbies with your friends (video game club)

2. Don’t be a Copycat

Next, the goal is to find a list or roster of clubs that currently exist at your high school. You shouldn’t go through the trouble of starting a club from scratch if that club or one very similar to it already exists!
If a club is already established, see if you can come up with a new idea that is adjacent, or related to it. For example, if your school already offers a Cooking Club, perhaps you can start a Baking Club.

You might want to ask around to get a general sense of whether the club you would like to start would be a club your peers would be interested in joining. Just as you don’t want to duplicate an existing club, there’s little point in establishing a Bird Watching Club if you’re the only bird watcher at your school.

3. Define the Club’s Nature and Purpose

Once you have defined the club’s intent, you need to map out a clearer picture of how the club will be structured. You should be able to answer these questions:

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Will the club be centered around certain milestones? For example, if it’s a Ski Club, perhaps it revolves around two annual ski trips. Literary magazines, for example, tend to publish new issues once or twice a year.
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Where will the club meet?
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How often will the club meet?
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How long will club meetings be?
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Will there be an official membership, or can any student from your school attend any meeting whenever they want?
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Will members have specific responsibilities?
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Will leadership positions be needed to run the club?
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Will the club be workshop-, class-, or event-based?
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What will be the rules and regulations of the club?
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Will the club go on any trips? If so, how will they be funded?

4. Register the Club with Your School

It is more than likely that you will have to apply to register your new club. Depending on your school’s process for the creation of new clubs, you can acquire the club applications from the head office, student life office, or from your school counselor/advisor. Some schools will require the submission of a signed petition to demonstrate that there is real interest among the student body. If this is the case, you should start by asking your friends if they’re interested, and then move on to your friend’s friends, and so forth, until you have obtained enough signatures.

Choosing a Supervisor

Choosing a club advisor is another crucial step to registering your club with the school. A club advisor should be a member of the staff, and have experience or interest in the subject of the club you are creating.

Think about who would make for a good choice—someone with the availability to take on the role and who teaches or has a clear interest in the subject. After you have selected someone, you should then approach the staff member in-person, explaining what you’re trying to accomplish, the nature of the club, and why you’re asking this person in particular to be your supervisor. If you can’t speak to this individual in person, you can always reach out to them via email. First, you will need to introduce yourself, and mention how you know them–if they were a former teacher of yours, if they’re a friend’s coach, it’s crucial to say so. Next, you need to explain why you’re writing, the nature of the club, and why you need the staff member’s help. If you need a guide with writing this email, here’s an example you can use for guidance*:

Hi Mrs./Ms./Mr. X,

My name is [Your Name], and I was your student in your sixth hour cooking class last fall. I am in the beginning stages of creating a Baking Club, and am in search of a supervisor.

Due to your teaching expertise in cooking, I thought you would be the perfect person to ask to oversee the Baking Club. The club would be open to anyone who loves to cook or bake. We could spend the hour trying new recipes, learning about food chemistry, or studying flavor profiles. I think it would be a great opportunity to bring the students together. Please let me know if you would be interested in being a supervisor for the Cooking Club, and we can schedule a meeting to discuss the idea in greater depth.

Thank you for your time,
Your Name

*Keep in mind that your email should be customized to fit your personal needs, so while you can use this email as a reference, you should not copy it verbatim!

Creating a Proposal

Some schools also require you to write a proposal explaining the club’s purpose, how people can join, how elections are held, its rules of conduct and so forth. This is why it’s important to determine what the club will be like as you work to create your club.
Writing a club proposal should also include who the club advisor should be, the club’s budget, an overview of what the club members will do, club rules and regulations, and how the club will fund any activities or any after-school trips.

5. Publicize

Once your club has been approved, you will need to recruit some members to join your club. Tell your friends about it and ask them to spread the word. If your school allows students to put up posters or hand out flyers, you can use those methods to promote your group to the rest of your school.

Note: you might have to get prior approval from administrators.

Make sure your posters look professional—use a popular design platform like Photoshop or Canva—and be sure to state the name, purpose, and day and time of the first meeting. Use bright colors and an attention-grabbing (but not tacky) font. If creating posters, make sure your poster colors match the color scheme of everything on the board, including the fonts. The posters and flyers should be eye-catching and easy to read.

It’s highly recommended to advertise the club in the school newspaper, or even on the school’s TV news. Some schools air a TV news segment in the morning, before lunch, or at the end of the day. Since it’s broadcasted to all students in the school, it is a great way to garner interest in the club. To market the club through the TV news, you need to reach out to the head of the school broadcasting network, which can easily be found on a school’s website, or by visiting the counseling or student life offices.

KEY TIP

Creating an executive committee and asking people to join your club as executive members is a great way to garner interest in a club. Not only will your peers be able to list “Club Co-Founder” on their resume, but you will be able to divide and conquer as you complete the many tasks that accompany the founding and maintenance of a new club!

5. Maintaining The Club Over the Long Term

After the club has been registered and approved, it’s time for the first club meeting. Club meetings are important because they will ultimately keep the students coming back. The first meeting will likely set the tone for all future meetings. As the club founder, you are responsible for creating a fun and interesting agenda for each club meeting.

The first club meeting should be about getting to know everyone, and everyone getting to know what the club is about. Based on what the club is about, planning fun activities for each meeting will keep members coming back. It’s a good idea to pre-plan activities. Contests are a great way to keep things fun, and can be molded to fit any kind of club.

Consider making a semesterly or yearly plan to keep things on track:

Cooking Club:

Meetings: Wednesdays at 3:30 p.m.

January – Food Science: A Solid Cooking Foundation; watch “Salt, Fat, Acid Heat” on Netflix

February – Hearty Winter Meals: Soups, Stews, and Pasta

March – Gastronomic Grub: How To Level-Up Your After-School Snack

April – The Art of the Salad

May – Guest cooks/speaker series from local restaurants

Organization is key when it comes to maintaining the club and ensuring it runs smoothly. All members should be on the same page, especially when it comes to club meetings. You should use a calendar to keep track of all meeting dates, use email or text to stay in contact with the club advisor and any leading members, and keep a list of any ideas for the club. Having executive meetings with other leaders in your club will prevent any miscommunications, and make it easier to come to an agreement on short- and long-term goals.

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