Spending two years at a community college is a great way to save money and develop academic and leadership skills. Unfortunately, many students waste this time by only doing the minimum required to apply for a transfer. This is foolish because the small size of most community colleges makes them ideal places to gain leadership experience. By developing leadership skills in the small environment of a community college, you can ensure that you will be noticed when you transfer to a larger institution. Follow the suggestions below to make the most out of your college years.
Get Involved in Student Government
Your college’s student government is responsible for organizing activities and taking student concerns to the administration. While the student body president is the most visible member of this organization, student governments require leadership at all levels. This means that even shy students can get involved by running for representative positions or volunteering to serve on committees.
Not only will student government participation look great on your transfer application and resume, it will also help you develop important skills. As a student government member, you will need to master a variety of leadership tasks including communicating effectively, managing your time and delegating responsibility. You will also develop people skills by meeting and working with other students, administrators and community members.
Take a Leadership Role in a Student Organization
Hone leadership skills while following your passion for drama, band, athletics, photography, chess, activism, sailing or other available activities. No matter what your interests are, you can develop your leadership skills while indulging them. All student organizations need people to organize projects, serve as student government representatives, raise money and coordinate activities. Each of these tasks provides a leadership opportunity.
If your college doesn’t have a club or society to suit your interests, there is no need to despair. This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate extraordinary leadership by starting your own club or organization.
Organize a Community Service Project
If you don’t have time to make a year-long or semester-long commitment to an organization, you can still gain valuable leadership experience through community service. By organizing a project, such as a community clean-up day, a tutoring day at an elementary school or a canned food drive, you will get the experience of planning an event and working with others without making a long-term commitment. If you are not quite ready to organize your own event, you can still get involved and gain leadership skills by volunteering at an event organized by someone else.
Work as a Tour Guide, Orientation Leader or Admissions Representative
Most colleges use motivated students to lead admissions tours, host potential students and lead new student orientation sessions. Working or volunteering in these areas helps you to develop confidence in yourself and hones your communications skills. You will also have the satisfaction of giving back to your school and encouraging younger students.
Admissions and student development jobs also give you the opportunity to learn from school leaders and make valuable contacts with administrators. Such contacts will stand you in good stead when you need references for your transfer, graduate school or job applications.
Take Public Speaking and Leadership Classes
Most schools offer courses in leadership and public speaking. These courses teach you about leadership styles and help you develop your communications skills. Leadership courses are usually offered through the business department, and public speaking courses are typically offered by the communications department.
Some schools also offer leadership workshops for student government members and other student leaders. Participating in leadership workshops is a great way to learn about leadership and meet other motivated student leaders.
About the Author
Ryan Ayers is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education. In this article, he describes ways students can learn leadership skills while in college and aims to encourage further study with a masters of science in leadership online.