Club applications increase student stress

Jessie Larrinaga, Social Media Manager

Art by Ariana Cimino.

As a junior, most aspects of high school are familiar to me. While at times it can be stressful to start a new year off, figuring it out is usually doable. One thing that has not gotten easier is the process of applying to clubs.  

At the beginning of the school year, the teachers that are club sponsors will place the application for their club on their door so interested students can grab one and apply. The issue with this process is that the applications are scattered around the campus and can be very hard to find.  

On the Plant website there is a directory of the many clubs offered. While the club sponsors are listed, there is no room number to accompany this, as well as no directions on how or where to apply.  

Most clubs require returning members to reapply, but the greatest burden of attempted participation falls upon freshman. Because they are new to the school, navigating the extensive campus is difficult enough, and leaves little time for exploring. 

As a freshman, I remember at open house struggling to find my classes, and not knowing what the numbers on rooms indicated. The numbers for different hallways didn’t click with me until much later in the year. My best bet for signing up for clubs was just wandering around after school and trying to find clubs that sounded interesting. 

Not every student has time to try to hunt for clubs. The difficulty of trying to join clubs ends up causing many students to not get involved. Extracurriculars are not only one of the fun parts of high school, they are also an important aspect that many colleges consider.  

Almost every college looks at extracurricular activities when students apply. This can be a deciding factor for who gets in and who doesn’t. Outside of school, the thing that is looked at the most is community service, which many clubs do together. Not having the advantage of being in a service club or even a regular club can hurt students’ chances of acceptance into certain universities.  

Leadership positions are also looked at by colleges because they show initiative and commitment. Without club involvement the first years of high school, achieving a leadership position is difficult and unlikely, making participation as a freshman or sophomore important. 

Having such an inefficient system ends up damaging the experience of many students. It increases the possibility that they will overlook a club that could be something they really enjoy, simply because they can’t find or don’t know that it even exists.  

Another issue with the club application process is that the deadlines for joining differ depending on which club you want to join. This can make putting applications together and turning them in on time hard.  

Almost every club requires dues with the application. This can prevent some students from joining because they can’t or don’t want to spend money to be involved.  

While most sponsors will help students that are financially unable to pay for admittance, it can be discouraging and prevent students from looking into the club in the first place.  

All these issues have simple fixes. Rather than having applications scattered around campus, they could be in one place. The best place for this would probably be in student affairs.  

If all the applications were in one place, the process of comparing and prioritizing which clubs a student wants to apply to would also be much easier. 

Another solution to the issue of dues would be having the application process occur first, then once students get accepted asking them to pay the dues. This would allow the financial issue to be secondary to students’ interests and qualifications. It would also make the thought of having to pay less of an issue dictating whether students apply or not.  

Lastly, there could be more of a focus on opportunities for involvement around school. More announcements to inform and direct students would make getting involved much simpler.   

Having to figure everything out for themselves when already overwhelmed by the new experience of high school can be too much for a new student to handle. Making the process more manageable would increase the happiness and success of the newcomers.