Academic clubs are just clubs formed with the approval of an educational institution, whether that's a high school or university! They usually have an advisor or faculty member who oversees the club, even if club members complete the administrative duties and other driving tasks.
Types of academic clubs
Although it's perfectly appropriate to have a study club for a class or a club dedicated to learning more about a particular topic, academic clubs don't have to be academic in nature to be an academic club. Your academic club can focus on cooking, film, video games, fitness, or whatever else you'd like to spend your time on.
You can also take it outside the school and create or join a hiking club, basketball club, or running club and meet up with your fellow members for a pickup game or day hike!
Benefits of academic clubs
In addition to tangible benefits like listing academic clubs as extracurricular activities on resumes and university applications, there are intangible benefits as well. A structured time to socialize with new people and a place to hear opinions different from yours are wonderfully beneficial for high school and college students alike. You'll also learn and hone your real-life skills in time management and conflict resolution while learning more about a topic that already interests you!
How to start your own academic club
To start your own academic club, you'll first need approval from your institution. This may come from registering at a student union or simply approval from a professor who will provide oversight. Check with your particular school to make sure you know the process.
Once you've correctly registered, it's time to work out the other details of your club. How often will you meet? Is it membership only? Will members need to pay dues of some sort? How will you manage this process? You may be able to manage your members with a simple spreadsheet or by the honor system, or you may need a membership management system like Join It.
How to keep your club members engaged
One of the hardest things about running a club is keeping your members engaged. In addition to having regular meetings, you should also make it easy for group members to engage outside of regular meetings. Send out a newsletter, run a members-only Slack group, or hold special events. This will keep your existing members engaged, and it will also encourage new potential members to join with the promise of regular interactions.
Academic clubs can be a great way to learn more about new topics, socialize, and make new friends. Considering starting your club? Try out Join It's free 14-day trial and see if we can help.