Students are busy. Between classes, work, homework, family and other commitments, there can be a lot to balance. So why would we suggest you add another thing to that list by joining a student organization? Because it can impact your career and student experience now, and after college. You’ll develop strengths and skills that could have a positive and broad impact as you enter the workplace — something that the Bentley-Gallup Force for Good survey identified as important: most Americans surveyed said that a business’ social impact is paramount.
RELATED: Explore more findings in the Bentley-Gallup full report.
Take a look at these 12 reasons why you should join a student organization while getting your graduate degree.
1. You’ll learn more about yourself.
Joining a student organization presents many opportunities to learn more about yourself, your goals and your strengths. You can learn from how other students handle certain situations and test your current knowledge. You can also find out what you’re good at, whether that’s multitasking, staying organized, generating ideas or serving others. This self-awareness will be beneficial in your future career.
2. You gain a sense of community.
Banmai Huynh ’24 has found positive connections through the Bentley Asian Students Association (BASA). Regular Sunday night meetings, for example, provide time for members to share stories, enjoy social time or talk about issues.
“When the country experienced a rise in Asian hate crimes in spring 2021, it was good to be together and work to raise awareness,” recalls Huynh, who is on the BASA executive board. “We had a lot of heartfelt conversations and became closer.”
3. You can be a voice.
A Bentley-Gallup Force for Good Survey found that most Americans think business and government have a lot of power to make a positive impact but they’re falling short of their potential. Joining a mission-driven student organization like the Student Government Association is a platform for future business leaders to advocate, be a voice for others and influence positive change.
4. You’ll develop soft skills.
Soft skills are essentially “people skills” — they’re the skills that allow us to effectively interact with others, like communication, attitude and work ethic. Participating in a student organization not only teaches you these skills, but also helps you broaden and improve those you already have. You’ll learn the best way to communicate with both individuals and large groups, and you’ll gain emotional intelligence as you develop new relationships.
5. You’ll learn how to work with a team.
Knowing how to work well with a team is an essential skill for any career. Being in a student organization teaches you how to do this by putting you in situations where you are required to take advice from others, as well as give your own.
Tyler-Gary Louis ’23 is president of Bentley’s Black United Body (BUB) and served as director of the sold-out 2022 BUB Fashion Show. Working with a diverse team to create and manage the show was impactful.
“When you’re spending countless hours working with your team on something you are all passionate about, you build a bond that is indescribable and will last after we graduate from Bentley,” Louis says. “You learn from so many different opinions and personalities that it reminds you why you’re doing it in the first place.”
6. You’ll get networking opportunities.
Another great benefit of student organizations is the opportunity to network. Meeting new students, making connections, and building relationships will all help down the line when you’re looking for a job. Many organizations are professionally focused and host events with alumni or panel discussions with local professionals.
7. You can use the skills you’ve learned in class.
Being part of an organization allows you to put all those things you’ve been learning in class to the test in real-world situations. You’ll get to learn what works and what doesn’t, and you’ll be able to take that knowledge back to the classroom, and then, of course, along with you in a future career. The Bentley Consulting Group, for example, provides members with consulting case and interview prep, consulting networking events and real-world consulting projects that allow its members to fully experience what it is like to be a consultant.
8. You’ll learn to engage with diverse groups of people.
Chances are that the organization you choose to participate in will include a diverse group of people — and you’ll be faced with the same situation in the working world. And according to the Bentley-Gallup Survey, Gen Z believes that businesses should be promoting diversity, equity and inclusion. A student organization is an opportunity for you to learn how different people respond and react to certain situations. Those that focus on identity and advocacy – such as the Africana Student Association, La Cultura Latina and Students Advocating for Gender Equity – could help you develop skills to promote an inclusive work culture now and at your future employer.
9. You’ll gain leadership skills.
Becoming a leader or an officer in an organization will help you develop leadership skills that will be invaluable in all areas of life. Louis says his role as BUB president requires a combination of leadership, advocacy and community.
“I enjoyed identifying people’s strengths to build an executive board of students who are authentically passionate about change and community,” he says. “Serving as president presents a visible platform for me to help people bring their best selves to the table and think outside of their comfort zone. College is a time to discover who you are and what intrigues you.”
10. You’ll get a break from your studies — and have fun.
Concentrating on schoolwork is obviously important during college but giving your mind a break is necessary (and beneficial). While taking part in club activities, you’ll be able to socialize with like-minded individuals and learn as much from them as you would your schoolwork. Bentley’s hip-hop dance group CRAZE, for example, has built it into their mission to be “a fun, energetic, hip-hop dance group” committed to a healthy and active lifestyle and self-expression.
11. You’ll expand your résumé.
There’s no arguing that organizations and activities look good on a résumé. Showing employers that you participated in, or (better yet) lead, a student organization, they’ll know that you’re hardworking and can handle multiple responsibilities. Students on the Campus Activities Board, for example. organized and managed a sold-out Spring Day event in 2022 featuring concert headliners Diplo and Jack Harlow. Tessie Lammle ’15, who is now a talent music agent at United Talent Agency in Beverly Hills, says that working on these kinds of on-campus music performances can help students make inroads with booking agents and understand the process.
12. You’ll give back to the community.
According to the Bentley-Gallup Survey, 55% of Americans believe business has a positive impact on society. Many student organizations provide opportunities to give back to the community, whether through acts of service, sponsoring events or hosting charity drives. Not only is this good for society, but it will teach you how a future business can give back, too.
No matter where your academic journey takes you, look for ways to get involved in student organizations. If you are a Bentley student or are interested in becoming one, check out our full list of student organizations here.
*This article was originally published on October 18, 2018, and updated on December 20, 2022.