With hundreds of student organizations to choose from, it’s obvious joining clubs will benefit your college career. From day one, communications majors learn that experience leads to success.

I look back to the summer before my freshman year of college as I sat at my shiny new computer and fumbled through the seemingly endless list of student organizations. This all led to my first day of school at the student involvement fair where I signed up for virtually every club imaginable, including Italian Club, Belly Dancing Club and the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). Needless to say, not all of the clubs I joined made it with me through college. I found that the most beneficial clubs to join were organizations that focused on leadership, networking and student development.

Among the many organizations on most college campuses, these are the clubs I found to benefit public relations and marketing students the most:

  1. PRSSA: PRSSA provides students with networking experiences through local chapter meetings and both national and regional conferences. Additionally, PRSSA automatically puts you in contact with peers and professionals who could one day be co-workers and can assist you during your internship and job hunt. In fact, I found out about AKHIA through a friend in PRSSA who interned here last summer.Many PRSSA chapters offer a student-run PR firm as a subsidiary of the club to receive basic agency experience. PRSSA National also offers competitions that challenge students to master their PR skills. Working on my school’s Bateman Case Study Competition team this past year left me with planning, research and social media skills transferrable to just about any job or internship.

    There are also leadership opportunities. As a dues-paying member of PRSSA, you can be on your chapter’s executive board or even be a part of the national board. PRSSA also offers resources for life after college. As a PR professional following graduation, you can join your city’s PRSA chapter and access the perks.

  2. Greek Life: Greek life allows students to grow through socials, leadership positions and philanthropy. Specific chapters have leadership roles that can relate to your major. You can be the Public Relations or Social Chair of your chapter and gain experience in PR and event planning. Greek life has a tremendous network beyond college. Almost everywhere you go, you can meet someone who was involved with Greek life, which can help you find job opportunities (and friends) in new cities.
  3. School Magazines/Newspapers: As a PR major, writing well is a skill all employers look for. Working for a newspaper or a magazine will encourage you to hone those skills and maximize your talents, giving you real-world, deadline-oriented experience to add to your resume.
  4. Tour Guides: Tour guides learn how to sell a product. As a tour guide for your university, you’ll sell not only to potential students, but to their parents. This will help refine your persuasive skills, market to different target audiences and ultimately sell the unique college experience at your university. You’ll also learn interpersonal skills and be challenged to answer the tough questions—all qualities of a great marketer and public relations practitioner. And as an added benefit, you’ll know all the best shortcuts to class!

It’s through organizations like PRSSA that I have gained applicable skills to benefit me in my career. When picking the perfect organization, remember to stay true to yourself and find organizations that enhance and develop your talents.

What are other organizations that have benefitted you in college? What skills have you learned through on-campus student organizations?