One challenge many transfer students face is obtaining leadership positions after coming to a new school. This is especially stressful because many of us are applying for internships or full-time positions and would like leadership positions on our resume to showcase what we are capable of.
Despite the difficulty of competing with students that have been there since freshman year for these positions, it’s definitely possible. Here are three tips on how to acquire a leadership position as a transfer student:
1. Find the right organization
It’s important to go to your school’s Club Fair and/or first meetings/info sessions so you can get a sense of what’s out there. The club fair usually takes place in the first week of the quarter or semester, so make sure you keep your eyes peeled for announcements on social media or through email.
Once you get there, don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and talk to the students tabling for their groups. You want to get a feel for their culture and what the club is about. See if you like the people, since you’ll probably be seeing them weekly, and whether you like the events they put on. Furthermore, find out if they are well-established on campus, struggling to find new members, or in between. Well-established clubs might be more difficult to gain a leadership position, but sometimes they have set leadership ladders you can climb to eventually gain a position. Smaller clubs or less-established clubs give you a chance to potentially gain a leadership position immediately or within a year.
2. Make the most of the first year
Pay attention to the current leaders of the club and take time to get to know them. Ask them how they came to hold board positions and show your interest. This can help you gauge whether you can help out in different aspects, such as helping them promote events or recruiting new members.
Show your worth and what you can bring to the club—adding value and being helpful can help you stand out among new members and help others see you as a leader. For example, you can help promote events on your social media or table to recruit members.
3. Start your own organization
Perhaps you were part of an organization at your old school that doesn’t have a chapter in your new school. You can consider starting the organization, which would position you as the leader. A big difficulty will be to get members, especially because you’re so new to the school. One way to find new members is to talk to other transfer students who may be looking for clubs to join as well. Furthermore, you can ask those that live in your dorm or apartment complex. Having your own organization can be a good conversation starter and help you meet new friends or potential members.
I hope these three tips help in positioning yourself to be a leader at your school! One of the most important things to remember is that you are new to so many things. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, learn, and listen to those who can share their advice and experiences with you. Regardless, being a member of a club and a leader (if you so choose) is an amazing opportunity to give back to the community you’re a part of, and I would highly recommend it. Let us know if you have more tips in the comments below, and good luck!
– Michelle L.