If you’re into sports, you are probably already on a team. If not, high school is a great time try something new. Many high schools have special teams just for freshman so anyone interested will get a spot on a team. Some high schools are small enough that just about everyone that tries out will be able to play.
Sports teams require a lot of commitment and can be very competitive. If you didn’t make the cut for a sports team or you don’t want to make a big commitment, joining an intramural team is a great alternative. You’ll still get to play the sport but you won’t be spending every afternoon at practice.
Intramural teams don’t turn away anyone that’s interested in joining. If your school is big enough, you may have several intramural teams that play against each other. Or you might play against other intramural teams in the same region, just like a regular sports team. You might also just play for fun and never play against another team.
Arts – theater, band, choir
Join the band, choir, or theater. Like sports, these activities can be competitive and time consuming, but also rewarding. If programs at your school sound interesting but you’ve never tried them before, just go for it!
You don’t have to be able to act to get involved in theater. You could design sets, manage lighting, be an assistant manager, sew costumes, join the make-up crew, or play an instrument in musicals.
Your school may have already organized volunteer opportunities such as habitat for humanity or helping out at food shelves. There are so many ways to volunteer you’re bound to find something you’re interested in.
Tutor other students
If there’s a class you really love and you are doing well in it, consider tutoring other students. Ask the teacher if there are any students in the class that need help. Science, math, and language classes are usually the easiest to find students that need tutoring, but you could probably do it for any class.
Be a teacher’s assistant
Some classes offer credits for being a teacher’s assistant. You might help in the classroom or you may prepare things for the next class. For example, in a science class one of your duties may be to set up experiments. Being a teacher’s assistant could serve as an internship or it could be an opportunity to get brownie points from a teacher you’d like to get a recommendation from.
JROTC (Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps) is only available in some schools, but it’ll open doors to many leadership opportunities. If you stay active through your senior year, you are eligible for college scholarships even if you don’t join ROTC after high school. If you are interested in joining the Armed Forces, this is a good opportunity to see if that’s the path you want to take. There is no requirement to join ROTC after high school if you are involved in JROTC.
Join a club
Clubs are easy to join and there are so many different options. Many meet during school hours and most don’t have any requirements for joining.
Some clubs bring people together with similar interests, such as film or Spanish clubs. There are clubs to raise awareness or provide service opportunities, like the Gay Straight Alliance or the American Red Cross club. Others, like a math club or chess team, allow you to compete against other schools.
Start a club
If you can’t find a club or activity that you’re interested in, you can start one. Think of something you like doing and you’re interested in learning more about. Maybe you like to go on nature hikes and you’d like to create a group that explores trails in your area. Or perhaps you and your friends like to make videos – you could start a club that makes and shares videos with each other. Whatever you like to do, think of how you can make it into a club. Whether it is going on outings, doing projects, or discussing books or articles on specific topics, figure out what types of things you want to do in your group.
Check with a teacher or administrator to see what you’ll need to do to start a club. You’ll definitely need to have some people in your high school that are willing to join. At some schools, you might need to collect a certain amount of signatures from students saying they’d be interested in joining. You’ll also probably need at least one teacher or faculty member to oversee the group.
Internships are usually not available for high school students, but if you find an opportunity where you live, take advantage of it. Ask your parents or other family members if there are any internships or programs you could join where they work.
Certain volunteer opportunities could easily be turned into internships. If you’ve been volunteering at the same place for a while, ask if they have internships available. Even if they don’t, you can meet with a manager and let them know you you’re interested in working with a particular person or in a certain area.
It’s never too early to be thinking about what you want to do after high school. One way to get to know what certain careers are like is to find a mentor. Some companies or schools already have mentorship programs set up. You can search the web for mentorships where you live, or just ask around. For example, if you’re interested in going to medical school, ask your doctor about a mentorship program. If there’s a family member or a family friend whose job you’re interested in, they might be able to be a mentor to you as well.
Get a job
Having a job is great because you’ll have extra cash and you’ll be more prepared for jobs after high school. High school students often get jobs at fast food places, restaurants, grocery stores, in retail, or as a receptionist.
If you go to a private school, you may have the option of doing work study. This is the easiest way to get a job because at most schools just about every student that’s interested will get a job.