Should Students be Required to Join Clubs?


West High Yearbook

KPOP Club poses at the end of their performance at the 2023 Slam Jam Rally.

Ellie Chiles, Editor in Chief

West High has an extensive list of clubs. We have sports clubs, activity and interest clubs, and clubs where we can come together and celebrate our cultures. These allow students to meet and bond with people who they never would have talked to.

Participating in extracurricular activities helps develop skills such as communication, leadership, and learning what it means to be part of something. Performing in some of these clubs (for example, API, MECHA, KPOP, SHSS) will help you put yourself out there and shine in front of your peers. On top of that, you’ll get to have fun doing something you’re interested in.

These benefits aside, clubs also look attractive on college applications. Officer positions and long-term participation are even better. Showing your commitment allows colleges to see that you can dedicate yourself to things outside of what’s required.

So why don’t students join clubs on their own? One reason students don’t participate in clubs is that they’re shy. Joining a club can be nerve-wracking for many students, as we often overthink about how others perceive us.

Questions like, “What if we don’t fit in with everyone else in the club?”, “What if I misinterpret the name?”, “What if I don’t know enough about the topic of the club?” might float around in a student’s head while they’re thinking about signing up.

One may argue that students should not be required to join clubs because they don’t always have time or access to events. Appointments, out-of-school lessons, zero and seventh periods, being in multiple extracurriculars, adult school, and driving situations can make club participation very difficult.

A way this can work around our schedule is to take one day out of the week where all students must participate in a club activity. This could be during lunch or adding an extra period to our minimum day schedule. While there are a few issues that would prevent the latter, it’s a start.

I believe clubs should be mandatory for all students, for both their own benefit and for college applications. Don’t get me wrong, activities that involve performance and hours of practice shouldn’t be required, but they should be encouraged. Being in a club changes how you see your high school experience, so don’t hold yourself back!