Why Joining a Professional Organization is a Valuable College Experience

Kaitlin Bradley is a Junior at Ohio State University studying Strategic Communication and Professional Writing. She is an active member of PRSSA and Her Campus Ohio State. She is a contributing writer for student organizations as well as Elite Daily. To connect with Kaitlin, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @kategbradley_!

As students we transition from high school to college, we’re often led to believe that the hardest challenge we’ll face is getting accepted. That could not be more of a fallacy. College is the most difficult passage of education for a reason; you are transitioning from the life you’ve lived through your family for 12 years to a new one you create at a university filled with new people. Beyond developing a social network at school the realization begins to dawn on us that finding the dream career and creating the action plan to implement those goals requires more than declaring a major and going to class.

Once you have figured out the answer to the age old question, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” it’s time to find the tools that will help you make that a reality. Joining a student organization with a focus in your major of choice is a great first step on this path. Personally, joining Public Relations Student Society of America at Ohio State University has helped me develop my networking skills through mixer events, explore my areas of interest within the Strategic Communication major, and develop connections with fellow students in the same field.

By joining a professional student organization, you often put yourself in a greater position of opportunity than if you had not. Typically, these organizations offer special internship opportunities as many companies only list their openings with select groups. Having your resume reviewed against 50-200 other people compared to 1,000+ ensures the likelihood that you have more of a chance to be at least interviewed by a company if not also hired. Student organizations also develop subcommittees that deal with different aspects of that group’s functions, such as internal communication, advertising the group’s events, and organizing events. These groups are meant to provide students with the chance to develop experience within their field of interest while forging connections with their peers.

If that is not enough to convince you to join a professional organization then keep in mind, being involved at school in legitimate programs looks great on a resume. College is a time to have fun and grow, but at the same time, you can’t put reigning beer pong champion on a resume and get a call back from your dream job. Think of your time in school as building your personal capital, the more valuable your network and daily endeavors are, the more valuable you become as a future professional. The company that you keep can affect the opportunities you are presented with, the people you are able to meet, and the longevity of your projects.

To conclude, do not limit yourself in school by simply joining a social organization or none at all! Social organizations are great for blowing some steam off and making friends, however, joining multiple organizations with different functions adds levels to you as an individual. So search your university’s student organizations, do some research on what they do in the top 10 of your interest, and start building your capital!

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