Building Skills through Campus Involvement

At liberal arts schools, campus involvement tends to be a major section of students’ resumes and speaking points in behavioral interviews. This is for good reason. Liberal arts schools tend to hold a strong sense of community and contain many overlapping groups or cliques. Because of the magnitude of student engagement and the numerous leadership and teamwork opportunities, students shouldn’t discount their on-campus extracurriculars when it comes to gaining experience and developing skills. So long as students are active members, they are garnering skills required and sought after in the professional world. There are few jobs and careers that do not call for teamwork and as the corporate ladder is climbed, few jobs do not call for leadership capabilities.   

Employers are aware that many candidates are intellectually qualified for a job, and this qualification is likely implied when making it to the interview stage. Employers then have to ask themselves: is this candidate someone I would enjoy working beside for 40+ hours/week? This answer is heavily reliant on the candidate’s experience in teams. Students without campus involvement may only have a ten-week internship to prove teamwork experience; however, students with campus involvement often have multiple years of teamwork experience on the same team/organization. 

Campus involvement, due to the multitude of opportunities, can also provide a more direct experience where specific and relevant skills can be acquired. Take a role as treasurer for example. Many organizations on campus have money that needs to be managed. Assuming a role as treasurer could provide direct experience for asset management or financial planning roles. There are dozens of titles in organizations that offer direct experience such as event marketing, social media operation, communication, fundraising, and so on. There are also niche or educational clubs where students do not necessarily need a leadership role to gain relevant experience – where active participation and showing up weekly are sufficient.

Written by: Matt Bonner ’24, Knowlton Center Peer Coach

By Ashley Strausser
Ashley Strausser