Diverse group of students with Black female professor in lab looking at data

What Students Should Know About STEM Extracurricular Opportunities

Pursuing STEM extracurriculars in college can connect you with other students and supplement your studies. Here's what to know about these opportunities!

Joining STEM-related clubs and organizations can enrich your college experience, enhance your career prospects, and give you the opportunity to make a significant contribution to your field of study. Additionally, STEM clubs offer a community of like-minded peers who share similar interests, fostering a sense of belonging and support. Students can network with professionals, alumni, and faculty members associated with these organizations, creating valuable connections for future careers. Moreover, participating in STEM clubs hones crucial skills that are highly sought after by employers, such as leadership and teamwork. Overall, you can’t go wrong by joining or participating in STEM-related organizations and opportunities like these at your college. 

STEM organizations and clubs

There’s a wide variety of STEM-related clubs and organizations at colleges across the country that cater to many majors and areas of interest. Simply look up a list of clubs at the schools you’re interested and search for major-specific groups. For example, Stanford University has many STEM organizations for specific groups of people, such as Women in Electrical Engineering, an organization that “aims to provide community, mentoring, and enrichment for women students.” There’s also Tau Beta Pi, which “serves the Stanford community by acting as a representative entity for academic excellence, leadership, and continued service.” You’ll find similar organizations and clubs at every college that aim to provide a space for people in STEM. 

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Research opportunities

Although spending time in the classroom is priceless, having access to an on-site research department in college is just as beneficial. Most large colleges offer on-campus research opportunities for students to gain knowledge and hands-on experience in professional areas of science and technology. For example, the University of California, Irvine’s Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center aims to understand the therapeutic potential of stem cell science to improve human disease. On-campus research helps students directly apply solutions to real-world situations. Solving problems and gaining a better understanding in a specific area of study can also help you decide where you ultimately want to end up for a career. Research exhorts students to consider alternative viewpoints and be receptive to the possibilities their study might disclose. In STEM, you should constantly strive to push the limits set by the forebears of your discipline.

Other benefits of extracurriculars in college

Campus clubs and academic opportunities allow students to form valuable connections, network with peers and faculty, and build meaningful relationships that can support their educational and professional journeys. Student groups often offer workshops, seminars, and guest lectures by industry professionals, which can enhance your understanding and expertise in your chosen academic area. Extracurriculars in general provide a sense of community among like-minded individuals who share similar passions and goals while exposing you to students with different goals and perspectives for an open-minded worldview. Participating in these types of clubs also demonstrates a commitment to academic excellence and a proactive approach to personal and professional development on your résumé, which can be impressive to potential employers or graduate school admissions committees. 

Related: Extracurricular Activities: The Secret to Winning at College

STEM clubs and research opportunities are gold mines of academic enrichment, leadership practice, practical experience, and professional development for undergraduates. There are many ways to get involved in college, and pursuing different clubs and opportunities will help you not just socially but also academically and professionally. Extracurriculars provide opportunities to apply classroom knowledge to real-world settings while reinforcing your understanding of STEM concepts, developing practical skills, and making a positive impact on the community.

Go off to college as the best STEM learner you can be with this advice on What Makes a Great STEM Student? 5 Ways to Become One.

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About Nivashini Saravanakumar

Nivashini Saravanakumar is a high school student with an interest in biomedical engineering. She loves to read, and her favorite book (as of right now) is My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Moshfegh. She also loves playing instruments including the piano and violin!

 

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