60 High School Clubs and Activities To Join
- How Many Clubs Should You Join in High School?
- Subject-Area Clubs
- Hobby Clubs
- Community Service/Charity Clubs
- Career Interest Clubs
In many high schools, there is a wide variety of clubs and activities available for students to join. Clubs and activities are a great way to find where you belong in your high school social community and to find your niche among students with similar interests and goals.
Extracurriculars allow you to pursue your current interests and passions and perhaps even find ones you didn’t know you had. Thus, when you’re looking for clubs to join, try to pursue a mix of activities that you are familiar with and ones that may be out of your comfort zone. You’ll have plenty of time throughout high school to narrow down which ones are best for you.
Regardless of which activities you join, it’s important to get involved in your high school community for the sake of your college applications. Colleges want to see that their students were well rounded and were able to handle multiple responsibilities at once throughout high school, and extracurricular involvement is a sure sign of both.
If you’re unsure of which clubs and activities you should join, here’s a comprehensive list of clubs and organizations for you to get involved in during high school.
How Many Clubs Should You Join in High School?
It’s a common misconception that colleges want to see you join a bunch of clubs and be well rounded. Colleges prefer students to have deep skills or interests in one or two main areas. This is because deep skills are seen as proof that you’re already successful in your field/passion and will likely continue to be successful, which reflects well on the college.
When it comes to admissions, the things you engage in outside of school are generally broken down into the 4 Tiers of Extracurricular Activities, with Tier 1 extracurriculars having the biggest impact on a college application and Tier 4 extracurriculars having the smallest.
To start with the highest tier, Tier 1 extracurricular activities are reserved only for the highest and rarest honors a high school student can receive. Essentially, the more prestigious the extracurricular achievement, the more likely it will be considered Tier 1. Tier 1 extracurriculars are often represented by national distinctions, whether it be for academics, athletics, or even the completion of a nationally recognized summer program. Students who initialize their own volunteering organization may also be considered to be in Tier 1.
On the other hand, Tier 2 extracurriculars may feel more achievable or attainable—things like distinctive leadership positions in existing clubs or organizations in your area. This could mean being president of an academic-centric organization like Model UN or student government, or even winning a regional competition.
Tier 3 is similar in that it recognizes any student who holds a minor leadership position or who obtains a minor distinction in an extracurricular activity. Lastly, students with Tier 4 activities are generally those who are active participants in an extracurricular without holding a designated leadership position.
That said, you may want to take your first year of high school to figure out what you like and don’t like, so it’s okay to try out a bunch of different things before deciding which ones to commit to. The ultimate goal is to build an extracurricular profile that shows depth. If you’re already a junior or senior, you’ll have to be more strategic. For tips on that, read CollegeVine’s article, How to Improve Your Extracurriculars Junior and Senior Year.
If you’d like to see more about how extracurriculars—and your activities specifically—stack up in the admissions process, head over to our free admissions calculator. The chancing engine will help you put your ECs into tiers and let you know how to improve your profile for your dream schools.
- Art History Club: This is a club where you can analyze and present historic artistic masterpieces and hold discussions on the subject of art history. You may also get to discuss and practice techniques that art historians use to preserve valuable pieces of art. Some art history clubs take field trips to local museums and even plan international trips to artistic hubs like the Louvre, the Vatican, and Istanbul. The club can also be supplemental to students who took or plan on taking AP Art History, if that course is offered by their school.
- Photography Club: If you’re interested in snapping photos or if you have a fancy camera that you don’t know how to use, photography club is for you. You could talk with fellow team members about how to take a great photo and how to analyze famous photos. You might also get access to a dark room where you can expertly develop the photos you take. You can even take turns organizing various themed campaigns in which club members will each take photos within specific themes, and then share their photos with the rest of the club.
- Ceramics Club: If you’re interested in forming art from clay, stone, and other molding materials, a ceramics club could be for you. This club requires access to your school’s Ceramics studio, but pottery and other similar art forms are a great pastime that can also be tied to subjects learned in school. In this club, you can discuss how pottery has changed throughout history, from Ancient Greece to today. Ceramics is a fun group activity and a great way to connect with other students who are interested in art.
- Literary Magazine Club: This is a great way for students to combine interests in both the arts and journalism. Schools use literary magazines as a way to showcase student works in the form of creative writing, poetry, art, and other literature, often in yearly issues. A literary magazine is a great motivator to get students involved in the literature and the creative arts. In this club, you’ll work with a team to select student work and to encourage students to play with different themes or subjects throughout the year. Your role in this club can help create a strong collective body of work in your school’s Literary Magazine.
- Drama Club: Drama club is traditionally home to a school’s theatre enthusiasts. If you want the opportunity to act and practice your interpretation skills with a group, this is the club to join. You may get to audition for and star in plays for your school, and perhaps might even participate in acting competitions.
- Improv Club: People who do improv and participate in improv performances and competitions say it’s one of the most fun activities they do. By joining this club, you’ll learn how to think on your feet and become comfortable with presenting in front of an audience. Some improv clubs do public performances and even put on competitions.
- Film Club: This is the club for people who love to watch movies, and for those who want to become a director or be a part of the film industry one day. Through film club, you may get to watch great films, but you’ll also have the opportunity to create your own film productions with a group of like-minded individuals. You may even get to showcase your work at film festivals or in local presentations.
- Science Olympiad: If you know that you want to go into a science-related field or if science really interests you, consider putting your knowledge into a competition with the Science Olympiad. Even if you may not have all the science background that you need through your classes, this club will be a great way for you to pick up some material and get ahead in your science classes. Many Science Olympiad teams compete in Science Olympiad tournaments on weekends.
- Speech and Debate Club: If you want to get good at public speaking, reporting on current events, and making effective arguments, speech and debate is the club for you. Through speech and debate, you’ll have the opportunity to compete locally, regionally, and nationally in a variety of events that span from acting to intense 45-minute debates. Students who participate in speech and debate usually fall in love with it, and can often be found in suits competing at tournaments on weekends.
- Mathletes: If math, statistics, or numbers in general spark your interest, consider working with them competitively by joining Mathletes. As a freshman, you may not have all the knowledge that you need to be competitive, but the club will be a great way for you to get ahead in your math classes and possibly to even compete with a team once you’re ready.
- History Club: If you’re a history buff, consider joining a club dedicated to the subject. Through history club, you’ll get to learn about and discuss important historical eras and events. You may also be able to hear from various historians and other professionals that use history in their work. Perhaps you may even get to take trips down to famous historical sites so you can visualize historical moments in their entirety.
- French/Spanish/Foreign Language Club: Every high school student is required to learn a foreign language, and what better way to get better at a foreign language than to immerse yourself in it through a club? Depending on which foreign language club you’re joining, the activities may vary. In general, however, you’ll find that most club meetings will be conducted almost completely in the foreign language, and you’ll have various events that celebrate the culture that is attached to that language.
- Gay-Straight Alliance Clubs: It’s important that students, no matter what their sexual orientation is, feel valued at their school. The Gay-Straight Alliance club is meant to provide a safe environment for LGBTQ+ individuals and their straight allies. You should consider joining no matter how you identify.
- Yearbook Club: If Yearbook is offered as a club in your high school, you ought to consider joining in order to be part of a very special high school tradition. As a member of the yearbook club, you’ll document your fellow students doing amazing things throughout the year, and your reports will be put in print for the entire school to see. This is definitely an organization that’ll give you something great to show for your efforts.
- Academic Decathlon: Academic Decathlons are competitions where students are tested in a variety of academic subjects via multiple choice tests, performance events, and an essay. You get to work in a team, and you can compete no matter what your grades and GPA are. There are different levels for all types of students.
- Multicultural Club: Multicultural Club is a great way for students to not only learn about other international cultures, but to meet other students who may come from diverse backgrounds. Students can bring various things that represent their cultures, including traditions, recipes, currencies, languages, flags, and more. In an increasingly globalized world, joining Multicultural Club is a fantastic way to orient yourself with other perspectives and cultures.
- International Club: Outside of history class, there is probably no better way to learn about other countries and their histories, cultures, and traditions than International Club. Whether it be through a deep dive into European nations, cooking and trying dishes across Asia, or listening to the music of South America, International Club members will meet new people, learn new foreign languages, celebrate new holidays, and expand their horizons.
- Music Club: One of the most overlooked extracurricular topics students can explore is music, and a Music Club can take many different forms in high school. Whether the club is dedicated to listening to and discussing new music, writing and recording original music, or even learning about how music is made, Music Club is a great way to stimulate interest in the arts in an accessible manner. After all, music is called the universal language, so why not learn about it?
- Fashion Club: Fashion represents another interest that many students may have that might not necessarily be covered by your school’s curriculum. As such, getting involved in a Fashion Club is a great way to explore and grow an interest in the fashion industry without the pressure of needing formal experience. In Fashion Club, students can discuss and dissect fashion-heavy events like the Met Gala, look through books filled with fashion history, and even put on a Fashion Show to support a charity.
- Chess Club: Chess is a complicated game that requires strategy, careful thinking, and practice. By joining the chess club, you’ll have the opportunity to learn new strategies to beat your opponents and the opportunity to practice playing against other students, giving you a fun challenge. You may even get to participate in chess tournaments.
- Anime Club: If you’re an anime fanatic, here is your opportunity to participate in a fandom with your classmates. In this club, you’ll be able to watch all of your favorite anime shows and movies, learn to speak some Japanese, perhaps attend some anime conventions as a group, and maybe even draw some anime characters and write some scripts yourself!
- Video Game Club: If playing video games is your favorite pastime, a video game club may be perfect for you. Not only will you have the opportunity to play the games you love and learn about some new games, but you may also get to play on the competitive level and learn a bit about how you can make a career out of this passion.
- Political Affiliation Clubs: Regardless of your political affiliation, there may be a club for you to join and express your political interests. This can take the form of a Young Democrats Club, a Young Republicans Club, or even an Independents Club. Through these clubs, you will get to engage in some interesting political discourse, find ways to support your party, and perhaps do some lobbying with your local government officials to get certain pieces of legislation passed for your party of choice.
- Religion Clubs: If your religious faith is very important to you, and you would like to get acquainted with other individuals who share your beliefs, consider joining a religiously affiliated club at your school. You can join a religious club simply if you want to learn more about a particular religion even if you do not practice it. Through this kind of club, you will be able to engage in sophisticated discussions about the religion and its texts, and also participate in school-held religious festivals, celebrations, and rituals with the club.
- Outdoors Club: Sitting inside a high school building for 8 hours a day can be exhausting. Add some adventure to your high school career by joining a club that focuses on outdoor activities. These can include hiking, skiing, canoeing—you name it! You’ll get to engage in some fun outdoor physical activities with some great classmates who share the same sense of adventure.
- Book Club: If you enjoy reading and want to make sure that the hustle and bustle of a busy high school schedule doesn’t prevent you from engaging with good literature, join a book club at your school. Book clubs are great for getting great book suggestions and keeping you accountable for keeping up with your reading. You’ll be able to engage in critical discussions of each book, allowing you to share your thoughts with other like-minded classmates.
- Creative Writing Club: Want to write short stories or novels, or be the next Stephen King? A creative writing club is a good place for you to start. By joining this club, you’ll see your writing skills really improve as you practice writing constantly and receive helpful feedback from your peers.
- Student Government: If you really want to be involved in your high school community and plan important events like dances or pep rallies, consider running for student government—also known as student council in some schools. You’ll be in charge of planning and executing events related to your class, giving you some great project management experience and allowing you to become very connected with your fellow classmates.
- Robotics Club: Robotics professionals are in high demand in today’s tech companies, where machine learning and artificial intelligence are hot topics. It’s worth joining a robotics club to see if you have a passion in this field—it could set you up for a lucrative career in the future.
- Quiz Bowl: Quiz Bowl is a competition that tests players on a wide variety of academic subjects. This would be a great club to join if you want to use some of the information you learned in your classes in a competitive setting, if you are a trivia buff, or if you’re just really good at memorizing facts.
- High School Newspaper: For students interested in journalism, there’s no better extracurricular than contributing to your high school newspaper. High school newspapers cover topics ranging from the arts and sciences to current events and from school-related stories to editorials. Working for a school paper gives you the opportunity to explore a variety of interests while developing your voice and writing skills. In addition, it’s possible to obtain editor roles for your high school newspaper, giving you more of a say in what makes it into the paper.
- Model Congress: Similar to Model UN, Model Congress offers students the opportunity to develop legislation on current issues, participate in various committees, and represent their assigned position through simulated debates. Model Congress takes many different forms across schools, and is most commonly represented in an annual multi-day conference that students can participate in.
- Cooking Club: For emerging foodies, Cooking Club is an opportunity to build a repertoire of culinary skills alongside your friends. There are several different ways to organize Cooking Club, whether it be delegating someone each week to bring in a recipe, voting on recipes, or even engaging in a friendly competition to see who can cook the best dish. Regardless, Cooking Club is sure to be a popular club in any school and a great way to connect with more of your peers.
- Glee Club: Despite what you may think, Glee Club is not just for fans of the TV show “Glee”—rather, it’s an outlet for students interested in music to perform in different capacities. Glee clubs have been around since the mid-19th century and usually entail a large ensemble covering and singing popular songs. Unlike a high school choir, however, Glee clubs are entirely student led. The songs, covers, and instrumentation will be entirely left up to the students, giving students a chance to exercise their creative and vocal muscles.
Community Service/Charity Clubs
- Amnesty International Club: Amnesty International is a worldwide human rights organization that works to combat various human rights violations all over the world. As a high school student, you can join a local Amnesty International chapter. Students in these chapters discuss certain human rights issues, participate in any way they can in local Amnesty International efforts, garner supporters and volunteers in their community, and raise money for the organization through various fundraisers.
- Habitat for Humanity: By joining Habitat for Humanity, you’ll get your hands dirty for a good cause. Members of Habitat for Humanity build houses for those in need. If you’re not inclined to do a bunch of hard physical labor like laying foundation and drywall, no worries! You can volunteer by painting the finished houses or doing some other light tasks. Anyone can participate in some capacity!
- Key Club: Key Club is one of the biggest high school charity organizations in the country. By joining the Key Club chapter at your high school, you’ll get to engage in various volunteering and charity events in your school and local community. You’ll usually have a minimum requirement of hours every semester to fulfill, and you’ll get to meet new people and give back to your community in the process.
- Red Cross: If your school has a local Red Cross chapter, you should consider joining in order to support a company that helps those in need all over the world. You will most likely be volunteering with your local Red Cross team and hosting fundraisers to raise money for this organization.
- Operation Smile Club: Operation Smile is an organization that provides free surgeries to children born with a cleft lip. By joining the Operation Smile Club at your school, you can raise awareness for Operation Smile and its efforts, host fundraisers to raise money for the organization, and even interact with children who have been helped by this organization.
- Breast Cancer Awareness Club: Breast cancer awareness efforts have really mobilized in the last few years, and a high school club is one of your chances to get involved. You could help plan a walk for breast cancer in your local community, host a fundraiser to go towards breast cancer research, and even talk to breast cancer survivors who were helped by your efforts.
- Save Endangered Species Club: If you want to help animals through your volunteer work, you can consider joining this activity. Through this club, you can help raise awareness about endangered species and some of the human activities that may be causing these animals to be endangered, host a fundraiser to donate money to the World Wildlife Fund, and visit a wildlife rescue center.
- Hospital Volunteer Club: Some high schools offer students the opportunity to go to a local hospital and help out wherever they can. You may not engage in the most glorious or glamorous tasks at the hospital (you’ll probably be doing paperwork or some other busywork), but you can rest assured knowing that your efforts helped a hospital save lives.
- Soup Kitchen Volunteer Club: Some high schools offer students the opportunity to volunteer at their local food bank or soup kitchen. These places gather and donate food for the needy. You would be donating just a few hours at a time and feeding many people who really need help. It’s a truly worthwhile cause.
- UNICEF: High school clubs partner with UNICEF USA to educate, advocate, and fundraise. The efforts of high school clubs help UNICEF to save children in 190 countries and territories around the globe.
- Environment Club: If saving Mother Earth is something you’re passionate about, consider joining an environment club, where you will get to engage in various projects to help clean up and green up your local community. For example, you may get to plan and engage in water conservation projects, cleaning up beaches, starting a recycling initiative at your school, etc.
- Recycling Club: The students in recycling clubs are the ones who make sure that your high school is being eco-friendly in its classrooms. These students establish the school-wide recycling initiative by delivering the bins to each classroom. They usually come by on a weekly basis to pick up the recycling bins and deposit the materials in the appropriate location to be recycled.
- Tutoring Club: You don’t have to go out into your community to make a difference. You can help students at your school by tutoring them in subjects that you’re doing well in! If you have a knack for certain subjects and enjoy explaining concepts to others, this is the community service club for you.
- PALS: This club is a great idea for anyone who loves working with kids and who wants to be a positive influence on their generation. Students who join PALS get to visit kids at an elementary or middle school, where they are each paired with a younger student called their “Pal.” You get to meet with your Pal throughout the year and do some fun activities with them to make their day better. Overall, it’s a wholesome activity for responsible teens and kids.
- Best Buddies Club: Best Buddies is an international non-profit organization that lets volunteers be a friend or mentor to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. High school chapters will often pair students within the school, fostering an environment in which any student can get involved and help the overall mission of the organization. If a chapter does not yet exist at your high school, you can apply for more information on the Best Buddies website.
Career Interest Clubs
- Future Business Leaders of America: For all you students who are set on entering the corporate world, join FBLA to get a head start on your career. FBLA is the largest career student business organization in the world. It helps students develop the skills they need to succeed in the workplace.
- Computer Science Club: Computer Science is a high-demand career nowadays, and it tends to pay very well if you work for the big tech companies. Thus, it’s worth trying out a computer science club in high school to learn some coding and see if this incredibly lucrative field is something you might be interested in. You’ll get to develop complex programs and perhaps even enter competitions to see what your classmates have built.
- Future Scientists/STEM Club: If you think your future may have you getting involved in scientific research, consider joining a club that prepares you for that. You’ll be able to participate in science fairs, learn about the most groundbreaking studies in various fields, and possibly network with various scientists working in actual labs.
- Future Medical Professionals Club: If you think you want to be a doctor, join this club and make sure that it’s the right path for you. Medical school and 7-year med programs are extremely competitive, and this club will help you learn about the field and garner some resources to help you pursue a medical career.
- Model United Nations: This is an activity in which students can learn about diplomacy, international relations, and the United Nations. Model UN teaches participants about research, public speaking, debating, and writing skills.
- Mock Trial: Mock Trial is an activity where you get to be a part of a team that simulates an actual lower court trial. Students participate in rehearsed trials to learn about the legal system in a competitive manner. Your role in Mock Trial depends on what part of the trial you are acting out, and you’ll get to compete on a local and possibly regional level.
- DECA: DECA prepares emerging leaders in entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, and hospitality and management for careers around the globe. High school chapters get to participate in local, regional, and national competitions through their club chapter.
- FFA: The National FFA Organization focuses on educating students in agricultural studies. It was created to help high school students learn about agriculture, and it provides the opportunity for students interested in going into farming to learn valuable techniques, attend conventions, and compete in various events related to agriculture.
- Investment Club: Investment clubs provide you with an opportunity to learn about the stock market, the bonds market, and other ways you can invest funds to make money. You get to learn how to evaluate a market in order to make strategic investments and maximize your return on investment. You’ll also get to network with investment bankers and other industry professionals who can tell you how to potentially make a fortune doing this as a career. Students can even compete with their peers using online simulation tools that mirror the stock market.
- Technology Students Association: The Technology Student Association (TSA) is an international student organization created to develop skills in STEM and business education. By joining, you’ll be able to develop skills that you will need in the workplace and participate in local, regional, and national competitions with other TSA students at your age level.
- Ethics Bowl: Run by the National High School Ethics Bowl, Ethics Bowls are competitions in which high schools compete with one another to analyze and debate real-life ethics cases, and win by delivering comprehensive arguments in defense of the positions they actually believe in. The purpose of Ethics Bowls is to prepare students for ethical dilemmas they may encounter in their future careers, and equip them with the tools to work together to solve them.