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Phoenix Forward magazine

5 benefits of joining student organizations

Student organizations

Getting good grades may be among your top educational goals, but there’s more to college than just earning A’s.

“There is overwhelming support and research that validates the importance and value of activities outside the classroom,” says Hal Morgan, MBA, University of Phoenix director of academic administration. “It gets students involved in the University culture. … It also helps prepare them for an occupation outside of their academic journey.”

The University offers a number of ways for students to engage outside the classroom through organizations that range from the Adult Education and Training (AET) Club to the Psychology Club to various honor societies. The PhoenixConnect® academic social network features 3,000 special-interest groups where you can establish relationships with other students based on common interests across campuses and degree programs.

Here are five benefits of joining a student organization: 


Networking

You’ll meet people with similar interests, as well as potential corporate mentors, and learn about job fairs and other events you might like to attend. The connections you make can pay dividends later. “Networking is one of the primary things [student organizations] talk about,” Morgan says. “You meet people with shared occupational interests, and maybe there’s a job at the end of one of those relationships.”


Career development

Groups of students who share an interest in a particular field can keep abreast of news in that subject area through meetings and discussions of topical events.

“One student group in Florida brings in, on a regular basis, a keynote speaker from a business to talk about what skills are important and industry trends [in that particular industry],” says Brent Wickham, MBA, academic administration project specialist. He notes that being on top of trends can help students in their schoolwork.


Support

College can be difficult for some students, and organizations provide support in a variety of ways, including through study groups and discussions about strategies to complete classwork while balancing personal and professional priorities. “It can really help you get through a tough spot, especially for [online] students,” Morgan says. “It’s an intangible piece [toward success].”


Philanthropy

Groups such as Delta Mu Delta, the international honor society for the University’s School of Business, have philanthropic arms that provide students with chances to take part in service projects, fundraising events and other charity work. “Our office would frequently receive requests from students or faculty who wanted to become more involved outside the classroom,” Wickham says.

5

A sense of belonging

If you primarily take classes online, you may not feel connected to the University. Joining a group can help foster a traditional campus-style feeling. “We want to give [students] the college experience,” Morgan says. “The only connection they have may be the [online] classroom, and with organizations, they can build friendships and enhance that collegial experience.”