Getting involved in a student society can be an excellent addition to your CV and a fulfilling way to spend your free time, both before and during your time at university. It’s also a great way to make friends and meet like-minded people, as well as acting as work experience in some cases (for example in the case of uni TV or radio stations and newspapers). However, if there doesn’t seem to be a society in existence that interests you, why not set up one of your own? You will need an original idea, to make sure you get enough people interested (social media is a great way to do this), and you need to be familiar with the procedure for creating a society at your university (this information should be online, normally as part of your university student union’s website). If you want to meet on university property, or to be in any way affiliated with your university, you need to follow official procedure.
When you apply to create the society, you’ll need to set out your aims and demonstrate that you have the support of at least ten people. Once you have been approved you will often enjoy benefits including a start up fund, accesses to spaces for meetings and a place at university student events. You need to demonstrate enthusiasm and sustainability, so make sure you have lots of ideas about events, particularly as this is what will fund and help grow your society in the long-run. You also need to have a basic administrative team, which usually consists of a president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer. Whatever you do, make sure your society meets. It’s no good saying that you’re the president of a society on your CV but when questioned about it, you’re forced to admit that you haven’t actually met yet. That serves no function and impresses nobody.
Student societies also help you to gain experience and substantiate claims you make on your CV. It’s very easy to say that you have an interest in journalism, but internships and postgraduate placements will be easier to get if you can state that you were the music editor on your student newspaper, even if the circulation isn’t that big. It also lets you explore the fundamentals of a career before you commit to it. Student societies might represent a way out. If you’re slowly realising that your chosen course isn’t really for you, a student society could be a way of gaining experience in what you’re actually keen on, rather than just mooching around campus wondering what you’ll do with your life when this all ends. At the very least, you’ll make some friends and spend your weekends in more interesting ways.
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