Broaden college experience and friendships with activities

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Outdoor clubs have become some of the largest organized activities on college campuses. The University of Vermont Ski and Snowboard Club is the largest ski and snowboard club in the U.S. and the biggest club on campus. There are organized activities for winter sports, discounted ski passes, free shuttles to the mountains and film premiers all centered around an active lifestyle.

To build community outside of Bowdoin’s College campus, joining the Bowdoin Outing Club offers more than 150 excursions and has over 400 members. There are leadership training programs, local walking trails and beach trips. Connecting with nature is integral to college experience, such as rafting down the Kennebec River and hiking Mount Katahdin. These are great ways to enjoy the outdoors and meet new friends.

Greek life is popular at college to build social circles across various ages and majors. This is a chance to join national chapters or campus-specific organizations. Undergraduates typically go through recruitment or rush events to meet current members. Both the participants and chapter members have a ranking system and selection process in determining whether to join the group.

The social pulse of college is typically how movies represent campus life. The movie, “Animal House” is celebrating its 45th anniversary in making fun of the fictitious Delta Tau Chi fraternity. Even Meghan Markle invited her Northwestern University Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sisters to Wimbledon. Lifelong bonds are created through shared activities.

Other social groups on campus include affinity clubs with a shared interest or community service to support a dedicated cause. These organizations bring like-minded people together to create events on campus and volunteer in the local area around school.

College life includes thinking ahead for the future in joining professional organizations that can introduce students to careers and build their networks. George Washington University considers Washington, D.C., an extension of its campus. George Washington Women in Business is a club that is open to students of all majors. Members can apply to participate in a New York trip for alumni networking and visits to firms including HBO, Bloomberg and Google. The D.C. Trek includes visits to the International Monetary Fund and Edelman Public Relations. The spring conference encompasses 12 industry panels from fashion to finance.

For students interested in journalism and civic awareness, Dartmouth College has the first collegiate newspaper in America. The Dartmouth newspaper supports independent student journalism and covers topics including politics, policy and campus events from athletic games to guest speakers.

Participating in clubs can foster teamwork and build leadership skills. Be sure to create a healthy balance with academics and clubs. The resume of activities is the springboard to the next chapter after graduation.

During the four years of college, students form friendships from experiences shared with others. Consider joining a range of activities since some might not be a fit, while others could be a surprise win.

(Margo Bartsch founded College Essay Coach, a full-service college admission business, and has been an adjunct professor in business at Champlain College and at Middlebury College.)