70 High School Clubs You Can Start Now
- Things to Remember When Starting a Club
- Community Service Clubs
- Identity and Affinity Clubs
- STEM Clubs
- Business and Economic Clubs
- Art and Music Clubs
- Writing and Humanities Clubs
- Language and Cultural Clubs
- Political Clubs
- Hobby and Miscellaneous Clubs
- How Do Clubs Impact your Admissions Chances?
Most college applicants know that when they apply to college, their academic record and standardized test scores will be under the microscope. What many applicants don’t realize, though, is how other factors on their applications will ultimately set them apart.
Many universities in America now receive far more academically qualified applicants than they have space for. At ultra selective schools like Yale, there could be six or seven academically qualified applicants for every slot in their incoming class. So, how do admissions committees decide who makes the cut? As college admissions become increasingly competitive, extracurricular activities are becoming a more and more critical piece of the admissions process.
Many applicants get into the college of their dreams by building great extracurricular profiles. While it’s possible to do extracurricular activities completely outside of school, clubs inside the school are often important as well because they are easier to execute and show engagement with your school community.
Joining an existing club at your school is a great option, but an even more beneficial one is starting your own club. Starting and sustaining your own club in high school bears a lot more weight in the admissions process and can set you apart from the rest of the crowd. For some great tips on how to get started and what type of clubs you might establish, don’t miss this post.
Things to Remember When Starting a Club
When starting your own club in high school, you need to choose something unique from other available options. This means either establishing your own chapter of an organization that already exists at other high schools, or creating a club that is something completely different from any other club at your high school.
In any case, the club that you start should be something you’re genuinely interested in and passionate about, and hopefully something that generates that same passion in others. Ideally, the club will align with other activities on your resume, making it feel more focused and authentic, rather than simply an admissions gimmick.
To get started, you will need to navigate whatever official process is required by your school. This usually means formally appealing to your school’s administration and fulfilling certain administrative requirements. Sometimes you might need to write bylaws or file a petition. Learn your school’s regulations ahead of time so that you can be certain to follow them precisely.
Next, try to recruit a wide base of members. A legitimate high school club will consist of members beyond your own friend group. You should aim to have at least 10 people per meeting, which will generally mean a group of 40 or so members with sporadic involvement or a group of 10 to 15 members who are consistently committed.
In its general operations, your club should go beyond just meeting regularly. To add legitimacy (and weight to the admissions process) your club should also do things like participate in competitions, hold events, and fundraise.
Finally, your club should be sustainable enough that it will continue to run even after you’ve moved on. Find a teacher to serve as your club’s advisor. This should be someone already involved in the activity or subject area that your club specializes in. This person will be instrumental in helping to sustain the club after you’ve left campus. Ultimately the club will be your legacy to your school.
Here are 70 examples of clubs you can start in high school along, with a brief description of each. Look through the list and see if any of these clubs would be worth starting on your high school campus.
Community Service Clubs
1. Amnesty International Club
Work to support various human rights causes in your community and around the world by establishing an official high school chapter with Amnesty International, an international human rights organization. For more information about getting involved with this grassroots organization, see Amnesty International: A Human Rights Extracurricular For High Schoolers.
2. Key Club Chapter
If your school is not already registered with Key Club, you could try and get a chapter started at your school. Key Club International is the oldest and largest service program for high school students. It is a very popular student-led organization whose goal is to encourage leadership through serving others.
3. Soup Kitchen Club
Organize volunteer opportunities for your club members by visiting a local soup kitchen. You could also hold donation drives through the club to try and help out your local soup kitchen and/or other shelters in your community.
4. Operation Smile Club
Operation Smile is an organization that provides free surgeries to children with a cleft lip. You can help by setting up a chapter at your school that supports them. You can organize various fundraisers to donate to Operation Smile, organize a walk to raise awareness about the cause, or have networking chats with a member or someone the organization helped to see how impactful the organization is.
5. Human Rights Club
If you are passionate about addressing human rights violations and advancing universal rights, you can start your own chapter of a human rights NGO such as the Human Rights Watch. You can discuss various human rights topics at meetings, create campaigns like posters or social media posts to address urgent issues, and organize fundraisers or drives.
6. Roots and Shoots
Created by Dr. Jane Goodall, Roots and Shoots is a non-profit organization that empowers students to be environmentally conscious and protect the planet. You can start your own chapter to participate in projects, be a part of challenges, and teach other students about sustainability and conservation.
7. Midnight Run
Midnight runs are events when volunteers who have collected items like clothing or prepared meals go into a nearby city and deliver them to the homeless population. These runs normally happen at night, hence the name Midnight Run. This is an incredibly rewarding club to bring to your school that will make a huge impact for those who are less fortunate. Preparing for, and going on, a run does require a lot of organization, planning, and adult chaperones, so make sure you know the full responsibilities before you begin.
8. Tutoring Club
An easy, yet meaningful, way to give back to your community is to start a tutoring or mentorship club that pairs high school students with middle or elementary schoolers who are struggling in a particular subject. You can recruit tutors from your classes and reach out to your previous teachers to find students who could benefit from a tutor.
Identity and Affinity Clubs
9. Pride Club
You can start a pride club or LGBTQ+ Alliance club at your school to create a safe space for students of all gender and sexual identities to connect, learn, and advocate. Maybe you want to organize letter writing campaigns and marches to urge political action, or maybe you just want to have discussions about topics you don’t cover in class.
10. Girl Up
For young females who want to empower other girls and lead the charge for change, starting a Girl Up club is a great first step. With the mission of educating and advocating for gender justice, this organization has over 6,500 clubs in all 50 states. You can start your own club to bring together other young female leaders and organize events to support girls all over the world.
11. Black Student Alliance
If you are passionate about racial justice and diversity, equity, and inclusion, then you can start a Black Student Alliance chapter to join students across the country in sharing the experiences of Black students and creating change for the future. Your club can organize advocacy campaigns, bring in speakers, and host fun events to bring together Black students at your school.
12. Latinx Club
You may want to start a Latinx club if you are looking to create a larger sense of community for the students of Hispanic and Latin descent at your school. You could make the club more of a social space to celebrate Latinx culture or you could choose to focus on advocating for important issues to the Latinx community.
13. Computer Science Club
Starting a computer science club might make sense for you if you are fascinated by coding and want to share your love with other students. You can host workshops and lessons that teach comp sci principles, bring in alumni who are CS majors or work in CS fields to speak, and come up with fun activities to do like creating your own app or coding a computer game.
14. Robotics Club
For students who can’t get enough of engineering and robotics, try starting a robotics club. You can experiment with different building materials, practice your coding skills with different commands, and host competitions to see who can build a robot the fastest or who can make the biggest robot. The great part about robotics is you can always find something new to build, so this club will never get boring!
15. Girls Who Code
Girls Who Code is an international organization dedicated to educate and support future female engineers to level the gender gap in STEM professions. Whether you have experience coding or you’ve never heard of Python or HTML, you could make a huge impact on your school community by starting a Girls Who Code chapter. The organization provides you with all the tools you need to establish your club; all you need is to sign-up and get started.
16. National Science Bowl
Create a team to compete in the Department of Energy’s annual National Science Bowl. This national, quiz-style competition tests student knowledge in all areas of math and science. Teams are composed of four students and an alternate, along with a faculty advisor. Competitions begin regionally and winning teams progress to the national finals, held annually in Washington, DC.
17. HOSA – Future Health Professionals
Start your own chapter of HOSA, a national career and technical student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education. It provides unique leadership development, motivation, and recognition for students enrolled in health science education or who have interests in pursuing careers in health professions. Membership provides access to an extensive network of curriculum and leadership conferences. You could have doctors and nurses come in and discuss their professions, volunteer as a group at a local hospital or clinic, or arrange to have members shadow doctors and nurses.
18. Conrad Challenge
Form a team to take on this annual innovation and entrepreneurial competition. The Conrad Challenge will inspire you to develop a solution to one of the world’s most complex problems in eight categories, including things like Aerospace & Aviation, Cyber-Technology & Security, Energy & Environment, and Health & Nutrition.
19. National Ocean Sciences Bowl
If you’re interested in a fast-paced quiz style competition featuring questions in the fields of biology, physics, geology, chemistry of the ocean, and more, the NOSB might be for you. You can compete in regional and national events with teams of four or more, or host your own mini competitions among club members in your school.
More than just a competition, Envirothon offers an involved curriculum including classes in Aquatic Ecology, Soil/Land Use, Current Events, Wildlife, and Forestry. Your team can apply the knowledge gained from these classes towards regional competitions and beyond.
If you get excited about writing code and using technology to solve problems, consider starting your own team for the Technovation challenge. This challenge provides a curriculum and tasks teams with creating, building, and selling an app that solves a problem in their community. Technovation’s goal is to support girls and help them leverage technology to make the world better.
22. Chemistry/Biology/Physics/Astronomy Club
Have a particular passion for one of your science classes? Why not turn it into a club! Bring together your fellow students interested in a specific topic and delve into it outside of the classroom. You could do hands-on labs, read and discuss journal articles, or work on independent projects based on your interests.
23. Math Olympiad
For students who just can’t get enough of their math classes, starting a Math Olympiad club would be the perfect way to practice challenging and enriching math problems. You could host your own mini math olympiad competitions within your school, or you could use the club to help other students practice for the official international competition.
Business and Economic Clubs
24. Small Business Club
Starting a small business club would give you and your peers experience in running a local business. Depending on your interests, you could choose to seek out local small businesses and offer your assistance with things like social media marketing, book keeping and inventory management, and growth strategy. Or, your club could start it’s own small business and the members of the club could take on various roles like CEO, CFO, Marketing Director, etc.
25. Charitable Investment Club
Gain experience investing actual money for a good cause. Have a faculty advisor or teacher manage a fund controlled by your club’s vote. Start with an initial donation or grant from your school and research trading options to make your money grow. Donate the proceeds to a local charity at the end of the year.
If you want to bring a well-known and respected business club to your school, DECA is for you. With nearly 250,000 high school members and regional, state, and international competitions to attend, this is a great place for students interested in business to grow their skills. DECA has six key areas of business that you can teach about in weekly meetings and choose to compete in at competitions: Business Management and Administration, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality and Tourism, Marketing, and Personal Financial Literacy.
27. Young Entrepreneurs
There’s no age requirement when it comes to starting your own business, so why not start a young entrepreneurs club to foster that entrepreneurial spirit while you’re in high school. The goal of this club is to have members learn about starting and running a business from hands-on experience. Whether the entire club works on one idea of a start-up or each member cultivates their own idea individually, there’s so much to learn from being a young entrepreneur.
28. Women in Business
By starting a club for aspiring businesswomen, you can be part of a movement to level the playing field in the world of business. Only 10% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women, so there’s still lots of work to be done. You can share lessons about important skills like communication and negotiation, bring in prominent women in business to talk to the club, and support one another in your individual business endeavors.
29. National Economics Challenge
Founded by the Council for Economic Education, the National Economics Challenge is a great choice if you want to demonstrate your academic savvy in these fields. Through a combination of critical thinking questions and a quiz-bowl round, your team will demonstrate knowledge of Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, International issues, and current events at competitions ranging from the state-level all the way up to the national finals.
30. Future Investors Club
It’s never too early to learn about ETFs, the S&P 500, and stocks and bonds. Why not start a club for students who are interested in investing, or who simply want to learn more. You could play investment games, create a mock stock market scenario, or learn about investing tips and tricks. Start getting that cash!
31. School Store
A fun way to get practical experience running a business in high school is to start your very own school store. You can set up a booth to sell merchandise at sporting events, sell refreshments at school events, or sell school supplies and necessities during the school day.
Art and Music Clubs
32. Art Review Magazine
For those who enjoy both art and journalism, an art review magazine is a great option to consider. You could start a school-wide publication that features work from student artists at your school or features critical reviews of famous works of art.
33. Photography Club
If you’re really into photography or taking pictures, you’re probably not alone in your high school. You could create a club where people discuss famous photographs or take pictures of your school, community, and other memorable places/moments. You could even have a showcase or fundraiser during the year where the best photos from your club are featured and/or sold.
34. Art History Club
This club is all about admiring and critically analyzing famous pieces of art throughout the world and throughout history. In this club, you could have critical discussions about famous pieces of artwork, take trips to museums to see historic pieces of art in person, and even organize grand trips to famous museums where the best paintings are held (e.g. The Louvre in France). You could even put out a quarterly magazine, newsletter, or blog.
35. Graphic Design Club
Graphic design is a useful skill to have under your belt, not to mention a great way to express your creativity without needing physical materials. Consider starting a club where you play around with Photoshop, Illustrator, and Canva. You could even choose to make logos for local businesses, designs for your school website, or photoshopped images for the newspaper!
36. Sport Broadcasts
If you’re interested in video production, why not start a sports broadcast for a school sport that doesn’t receive as much attention as some of the more mainstream sports? Club members would learn about video production and editing as they produced monthly sports broadcasts for less popular sports at your school. Televise them through a local public access channel, or create your own channel on Youtube or Vimeo.
37. Drama Club
Calling all theater kids! Starting a drama club at your school might not be as good as Broadway, but it’s pretty close. You can recite monologues, put together a student-directed showcase, perform routines along to showtunes, play improv games, and even write your own play or musical. Depending on the size and budget of your drama club, you could even get the rights to a show and put on a full-scale musical.
38. Acapella Club
Let’s face it: who doesn’t want to have their Pitch Perfect moment? Acapella clubs are such great ways to connect with people who also love to sing and perform. You can pick what music genre you like—pop, musical theater, etc.—and find just about any song online to practice and perform.
39. Jazz Ensemble
If you enjoy playing the saxophone, trumpet, piano, bass, or clarinet, consider starting a jazz band with other musicians in your school. You can pick songs to play, experiment with improvisation, and perform at concerts held by your school.
40. Digital Music Club
For the aspiring DJs and music producers out there, a digital music club could be an amazing way to explore your interests that typically aren’t covered in a traditional high school music class. Using programs like Garageband, you can create new songs or remix old ones.
41. Dance Team
Most high schools don’t consider dance to be a sport, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start your own club or team to dance after school with. Whether you want to focus on hip hop, jazz, ballet, contemporary, or another style, you can choreograph and teach other students routines. Maybe you’ll even be able to host a recital or perform at school pep rallies and sporting events.
Writing and Humanities Clubs
42. Book Club
You could arrange a club where the club members read one required book a week/month and then can come together in a meeting to discuss it. You’d be amazed at the intellectual conversations and debates you can have about a theme or plot line of a novel. You could also go out into the community and promote literacy by donating books or organizing a book drive for a local library or homeless shelter.
43. Literary Magazine
Start a school literary magazine to nurture creativity and a love of both reading and writing in your school community. Meet weekly to review submissions, offer feedback, and create the magazine layout. You could also consider hosting short story or poetry competitions to bolster student interest.
44. Sports Blog for your School
Most schools already have a student newspaper that covers sporting events, but a sports blog would be more comprehensive and would post real-time updates as sporting events unfolded. Send reporters to travel with the team and update scores and stats as games unfold. Write and post recaps the same day as sporting events so students who can’t attend the games can get the most up-to-date information. Prepare for a career in sports journalism!
45. Slam Poetry Club
Slam poetry is an exciting way to express yourself, and could make for a fun addition to your school. Organize slam poetry nights at your school where members of the club can share their work with audiences.
46. Creative Writing Club
Do you enjoy coming up with short stories, writing fanfiction, or imagining fictional worlds in your mind? A creative writing club is the perfect outlet for you and your peers to work on whatever stories come to mind, bounce ideas off of each other, and share finished works with. You may want to host mini competitions within the club or even submit what you wrote to magazines and literary competitions.
47. History Bowl
The National History Bowl offers history buffs the chance to compete on teams to answer history questions from any time period and place. If that sounds like your cup of tea, you can start your own history bowl club that prepares to go to the national competition. There are questions and study guides you can find online to use for your own mini bowls during club meetings.
48. Philosophy Club
Many high schools don’t offer philosophy classes that touch on the brilliant works and ideas of thinkers like Socrates, Aristotle, Confucius, Locke, and more. If you find yourself particularly interested in exploring and discussing philosophical concepts, get together a group to meet weekly to engage in centuries-old debates. Since this club will be primarily discussion based, make sure you have a general structure to keep everyone on track.
Language and Cultural Clubs
49. Foreign Language Club
If you have been taking a language for a while and have really enjoyed it or if there is a unique language that you speak at home that isn’t represented at your school, you should consider starting a club that revolves around that language. Only speak that language in club meetings, offer tutoring in that subject to students who are trying to learn, host events that promote the local culture where that language is spoken, and even try to plan a trip out to a country that speaks that language.
50. Foreign Literature Club
A foreign literature club is like a book club, but for books in other languages. Depending on the skill level of club members, you could choose to read books in their original language or look for translated texts in English. Either way, starting a club like this is a great way to expand your horizons and have meaningful discussions about a different culture.
51. Multicultural Club
There are so many unique cultures out there, but starting a multicultural club is a fantastic way to broaden your horizons and learn about new cultures. This is also a great way for students from different backgrounds to engage with one another and find a community. You can take turns sharing about different cultures, host multicultural fairs and events at your school, and even organize trips to experience new cultures first-hand.
52. Multicultural Food/Cooking Club
Food is one of the facets that define a culture, so what better way to experience new cultures than through food? You can have themed days where people bring in food from one specific culture or you find a similar food that each culture has made its own (ie. dumplings, pierogies, ravioli, empanadas, etc.). This club could also teach fellow students about food insecurity and organize food drives or collect donations to help cultures that have less access to healthy food.
53. Young Democrats/Young Republicans/Party Affiliation Clubs
In this club, you could not only discuss political issues from the lens of a certain party’s ideology but you could mobilize to support the party’s efforts. This includes things like volunteering to help a campaign, planning a political rally, and getting signatures to garner support for a particular bill. You can also engage your fellow students who aren’t part of the club by handing out voter registration to 18 year olds.
54. High School Political Review
A blend of politics and journalism, the politically aware students at your school could write content that comments and reports on the top political issues of the day. You could publish their work on an online website or perhaps even in the form of a print publication to be handed out at school.
55. Debate Club
Debate teams are popular high school clubs, but if your school doesn’t have one then you can make your own. In this club, you turn public speaking into a competition. Students can debate in pairs or on their own and can choose from a variety of topics. If you love public speaking, or if you want to get more confident speaking in front of crowds, you would enjoy debate.
56. Model Government
Whether you’d rather emulate the United States Congress or the United Nations, participating in a model government club builds important skills like communication, teamwork, and creativity. The chance to embody a government official or country in the discussion of an important topic like nuclear proliferation, refugee crises, or more is a great activity for aspiring politicians and changemakers. Your club can travel to regional competitions, often hosted at colleges, and win awards.
57. Mock Trial
Love the idea of being part of a model professional setting but more interested in law than politics? Mock trial is for you! In this club, you and your team are given a fake legal case and get to act it out as the defense, prosecution, and witnesses. If your mock trial club decides to compete in regional and national competitions, you can go to actual courthouses and have real judges preside over your cases.
58. Current Events Club
There’s so much happening in the world that it can be hard to stay up-to-date. If you enjoy learning about current events though, you can start a club to look into recent events and inform others about what is going on. You could write and send out daily or weekly newsletters to your school informing them of the top current events and organize fundraisers or drives for causes you care about.
Hobby and Miscellaneous Clubs
59. Chess Club
Not only could you practice and perfect your chess skills, but you could also have your club participate in local, regional, and national competitions. You could even host a competition yourselves and have weekly discussions about the best strategies. Gain even more legitimacy by participating in events sponsored by The United States Chess Federation.
60. Cooking Club
This club could be all about learning new recipes and perfecting good cooking skills. You could perhaps have everyone learn one new recipe per week, try it out at home, and then bring it to a club meeting for everyone to try and give feedback. You could also discuss best cooking techniques, plan trips to local restaurants, and watch cooking shows together.
61. Film Club
In this club, you could watch films and then discuss them and even have the club create their own short films to submit to film festivals. For more information, see How To Start a Film Club in High School.
62. Social Media Club
Start a school Instagram, Blog, or other Social Media account. Feature lighter, feel-good content to bolster community spirit and highlight all the good that happens in your community. Write features, edit content, and learn about marketing strategies during club meetings. Make sure you’re above board with the administration to make this a legitimate and valuable extracurricular.
63. Gaming Club
This club is for all those online gamers out there who want to create a space for themselves and other students to enjoy the computer, phone, and Xbox games they love. You can bond over games you like, play together as a team, and share your strategies with one another.
64. Board Game Club
Settlers of Catan, Monopoly, Risk, Battleship. If you love to play board games and just want to spend some time after school playing with other board game enthusiasts, why not start a club? Members can even bring in their favorite “underground” board game for people to try, or you might want to create an entirely new game.
65. Sports Club
Odds are your high school already has common sports teams like soccer or track, but if you’re interested in a less conventional sport, you might consider starting a new club for it. Need some inspiration to get started? Some options might include curling, cricket, badminton, or even quidditch.
66. Hiking Club
Hiking is an enjoyable hobby for many people who like to be active and in nature, so it would make for a great club. You can organize hikes to go on around your school if you live near nature trails or preserves. If you don’t have good hiking paths readily available near your school, your hiking club could organize trips an hour or so away that you go on once a month.
67. Fashion Club
Whether you want to be a fashion designer one day or you are obsessed with the newest fashion trends, a fashion club is a great opportunity to connect with other like-minded students and discuss fashion. Maybe you have watch-parties of fashion events like the Met Gala and share trend analyses and fashion news at weekly meetings. You could even organize a fashion show for your school, sponsored by local stores and boutiques!
68. Yoga Club
With all the stress high school brings, you aren’t going to be the only one looking for some peace. That’s why a yoga club is an awesome way to relax and meditate. You could even choose to meet in the mornings before school to start your day off strong.
69. Gardening Club
For students with a green thumb, starting a gardening club is a nice way to engage with their hobby. You can ask your school to dedicate a plot of land to a school garden where you could plant decorative flowers to brighten the grounds up or fruits and vegetables that your school cafeteria or a local food shelter could use. This would also be a great club to share with your local elementary school to get younger kids excited about taking care of the planet.
70. Quiz Bowl
Obsessed with trivia? Have you always dreamed of being on Jeopardy? Starting a quiz bowl club is a fun way for you and your friends to answer trivia questions and host mini competitions. You can also have quiz bowl competitions with nearby schools or attend larger state-wide bowls.
How Do Clubs Impact Your Admissions Chances?
Why should you even start your own club? Well, extracurricular activities are an important part of your application, but not every extracurricular is created equally. To understand how different extracurriculars affect your application, we use a conceptual tool called The 4 Tiers of Extracurricular Activities. The 4 Tiers are as follows:
- Tier 4: These activities show up most frequently on applications and have the weakest impact on your application. Your involvement in Tier 4 activities is peripheral—you participated but never gained leadership positions or recognition. These activities won’t make your application “pop,” but they can establish your interest in a given field.
- Tier 3: These activities are slightly more impressive. Tier 3 activities involve some level of distinction or achievement, like a small award or leadership position (things like being treasurer of your school’s finance club). Tier 3 activities highlight skills in a particular area, but they aren’t especially unique or exceptional.
- Tier 2: For many students, Tier 2 activities show their highest accomplishments. Tier 2 activities are accompanied by impressive achievements and establish your skills, dedication, and leadership (things like placing in a startup competition or being on the national board of NBHS). Having two or three Tier 2 activities on your application will help you stand out.
- Tier 1: These activities demonstrate the highest level of achievement. They involve truly extraordinary accomplishments (things like earning a spot at a highly prestigious summer program or founding a highly profitable business). Few students achieve Tier 1 accomplishments, which makes this sort of exceptional accomplishment likely to catch admissions committees’ attention.
Starting your own club, and subsequently holding an executive position like president, is considered a Tier 2 activity. Not many students have the passion for a topic, the organization skills to create a club, and the leadership skills to grow membership and impact others with their idea. However, if you are able to do all that, you are sure to impress admissions officers.
Curious how the club you start will impact your chances of admission to your dream school? CollegeVine’s free chancing engine will let you know your specific chances at over 1600 colleges and universities in the US. By taking into account GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data, the chancing engine predicts your odds of acceptance. We’ll also let you know how you stack up against other applicants and how you can improve your profile. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to get started.