10 Reasons You Should Join a Professional Student Organization in Graduate School
As a graduate student, you likely have a lot on your plate. Between work, family and, well, life, the notion of joining an organization might sound like the last thing you can or want to do. However, if you can spare a few hours each month, then joining a professional student organization is a great option.
What Types of Graduate Student Organizations are Available?
- Graduate and Professional Student Government: One of the most impactful ways to advocate for yourself and your peers is to participate in student government. Yes, even graduate students deserve representation! Check with your institution to see if there is a graduate student government. This is a wonderful leadership opportunity, which will strengthen your relationship to your peers, professors, and institution.
- Activity and Affinity Organizations: If you’re looking for like-minded individuals who love to geek about the same things as much as you do, then look for an activity organization that suits your interests. These organizations are a great way to establish meaningful connections with classmates and have fun doing it!
- National graduate student organizations: These groups can connect you with professionals in your industry and greatly expand your network. Check to see if your campus has a chapter of these national organizations. Popular options include:
- American Association of University Professors: Committee on Graduate and Professional Students
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Association of University Women
- American Indian Science and Engineering Society
- Association for Women in Science
- National Consortium for Graduate Degrees for Minorities in Engineering and Science, Inc.
- National Association of Graduate-Professional Students
- National Association of Social Workers
- National Physical Science Consortium
- National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers
- Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science
- Women in Higher Education
What are the Benefits?
1. Deeper understanding of yourself
With every new experience and challenge, you discover more about yourself. You’ll learn more about your goals, your strengths, and your weaknesses. You might even discover a new hobby that you’ll enjoy beyond your time on campus.
2. New soft skills
Whether you hold a leadership position in an organization or you’re just there for the free snacks, you’ll develop essential soft skills like communication, teamwork, and problem solving. Interpersonal communication helps you broaden and improve your people skills, which are essential to being a strong leader and team player.
3. Teamwork skills
The experiences you’ll have in a professional student organization will allow you to learn from others and apply the knowledge gained. You’ll have to work with your fellow club members on a variety of tasks. If you’ve never planned an event or organized a fundraiser, a club is a great place to get that experience.
4. Networking opportunities
You never know who you’ll meet in a student organization. You’ll have the opportunity to make connections and build relationships when you begin looking for a job.
5. Practical experience opportunities.
Clubs of interest or clubs of study often give you the opportunity to get practical experience within the field of your choice. These opportunities will demonstrate to future employers that you have real-world experience.
Joining and active participation in a club demonstrates motivation and initiative—a key skill to employers. It also demonstrates that you can multitask, which is an essential ability in most fast-paced work environments.
In an ever-changing world, this couldn’t be more important.
8. Résumé building
You’ll get the opportunity to put something of value on your résumé, particularly if you’re in a leadership position.
9. Civic engagement
Many organizations have a service component built into the mission. Clubs stand to service someone or one another, and as much, you’ll get some feeling of gratitude.
10. It’s fun!
Most importantly, clubs give you an opportunity to meet new friends and participating in clubs will help you get the most out of grad school.
Here are five Abound schools that feature robust student organizations:
Adelphi University: The Graduate Student Council (GSC) is responsible for representing and uniting the members of the graduate student body to protect, promote, and provide student input to the Administration, staff, faculty, and the Board of Trustees on matters of past and future University policies. Joining Adelphi’s GSC is a great way to advocate for yourself and fellow students, while gaining valuable experience.
Catawba College: Student North Carolina Association of Educators (SNCAE)
Student North Carolina Association of Educators (SNCAE) is a prospective teachers club that promotes the professional and social advancement and refinement of the profession. Membership is open to education majors, minors or others interested in the advancement of education in our society. Activities include: monthly meetings, a pinning ceremony, service projects, a professional development ceremony and an end of year celebration.
Mercer University: The Mercer chapter of the American Society for Clinical Pathology ASCP student chapter meets every other week and hosts guest speakers from the consultant and geriatric pharmacy industries, informs the chapter about geriatric healthcare updates and participates in student on campus activities. The chapter also participates in community service projects, regional Georgia ASCP chapter meetings and national annual meetings. The chapter maintains close ties with the Georgia ASCP Chapter, which provides students with a variety of networking and educational opportunities. All Mercer University College of Pharmacy students, residents, fellows and graduate students are welcome to join.
Indiana University: The Graduate and Professional Student Government (GPSG), which serves more than 8,000 students, can help connect you to the graduate student community at IU. The organization collaborates regularly with University Graduate School faculty to improve the quality of grad life at IU Bloomington, so you’ll directly benefit from the work you put in. GPSG also provides resources and academic support to graduate students, cultivates a graduate student community, and advocates for the best interests of graduate students.
Seattle University: SU offers graduate students several opportunities to connect to their peers and the community at the graduate level. Notable graduate student organizations include:
- Albers Graduate Student Association: Albers Graduate Student Association (AGSA) is a student-run organization committed to enriching the education experience of graduate business students in the Albers School of Business.
- Women in Business: Women in Business is a brave space for students to help each other advance in and navigate the world of business. Students get valuable career, leadership, and networking opportunities. Women in Business cultivates relationships with the sharpest female business leaders to host events, discuss relevant topics, and create a unique networking space for students, alumni, and professionals.
- Graduate Student Council: The mission of the Graduate Student Council is to improve the graduate student experience at Seattle University by communicating the needs and ideas of the graduate student body to the University.
- Albers Student Clubs: Graduate Students are welcome to join the other student clubs at Albers and on campus. For more information, visit our Student Clubs page.
Joining a student organization in graduate school is an easy way to expand your network, increase your skills, and have fun. Between classes, work, and life’s other obligations, it seems as if there’s so little time to do anything else. But if you have the time to spare, consider joining a student organization. Regardless of where you are in your graduate school journey, Abound: Grad School is here to help. We get you in touch with schools that we can confirm are Accessible, Affordable, Accelerated, and Advanced. Take a look at the schools we trust and find the program that works for you.