In Singapore, campus activities are better known as co-curricular activities than extra-curricular activities. The nuance in vocabulary shows the emphasis we put on outside classroom involvement that is not something “extra to” but something “complementing” the curriculum. In university where study becomes more difficult, the importance of CCA does not diminish. In fact, it becomes even more important than before, for reasons that Digital Senior shall explain soon. If you have decided which university and degree program to apply to, you can spare some time now to think about which CCA to join after you start your university life.
I just like it
There are many reasons for you to join a club or activity on campus. The first reason that we can think of is pursuing your personal interest. Unlike your previous institutions, a university offers you a much wider selection of interest-based clubs. Have you heard of the wine society? Are you into the ceramic art? Does helping other provide you with joy and satisfaction? How about finding a group of people with similar interests ? With diversity in campus life, it is much easier to find your niche. Take a closer look at what clubs your university has and you may be surprised that you are never alone.
I want to learn something new
University is also about exploration. If you have been contemplating to learn something new, there is no better time than now. Once you step in the working world, there is barely enough free time for yourself, not to mention to pick up novel hobbies. Furthermore, you most probably get to do it for free in university! (students always enjoy privileges and you should take advantage of the fact). Check the list of clubs your university offers. Do you find anything that is interesting to you? Never mind if you are new to what the club is doing. Many skill-oriented clubs, such as performing arts clubs or sports clubs, actually welcome people without prior experiences.
Depending on your interests and your objectives, there are a wide variety of skills to learn or to hone. Sports-based CCA allows you to learn about teamwork , stay physically fit and gain a good dose of happy hormones. Intellectual CCA makes for a good mental workout and builds up your knowledge base.
I want to get ready for my career
Lastly, students join CCA to prepare themselves for their desired careers. There are many career-related clubs on campus. For example, if you are interested in working in the field of journalism, become a writer or an editor for the campus newspaper.
Sometimes if you can’t find a club that is directly related to your career interest, try to find one where the same career skills are being practiced. For example, while it is not always possible for you to find a club dedicated to supply chain analysis, something you want to focus on as your career, you can always join some business related clubs, such as some consulting or case challenge clubs where you are exposed to knowledge on supply chain nevertheless. And lastly don’t forget your school club. You chose your current major probably because you are interested in the field. A school club often holds sharing sessions or study trips that are relevant to your future career. More importantly, it gives you an efficient channel to network with like-minded people. The network that you grow during your undergraduate study may grow into career opportunities in the future.
I want to beef up my resume?
Probably one of the biggest question we have about CCA is whether its main purpose is to serve as an adornment to our resume ? Because whatever you have done is recorded in your resume that you use to apply for jobs, it should be the resume that translates CCA experiences into a job offer. That may be a fair perspective, but not so much an accurate one. For example, does being a president of a club constitute a real advantage that differentiates you from the rest? Think about how many clubs are there in the universities in Singapore and therefore how many presidents that you will compete with? And then think about people holding other important leadership positions or with other achievements such as academic awards. It is more reasonable to infer that your employer reading your resume is unlikely to be impressed by the word “president” itself.
Knowing the reality puts things into perspective. One is not getting hired because of his/her resume. A good resume is important in securing the first round of interview or any further stage of assessment, but beyond that it is your personal quality and experiences that determine how far you will go in the recruitment process. One can be a president who does routine stuff without taking any initiative or one can be just a member of a club who takes a proactive role in doing things. When your interviewer points at one item on your resume and asks you to “tell more about it”, it is a moment when your self-true is being seen without the cover of a resume. Hence since campus activities are being looked into by employers, Digital Senior strongly advises you to look for meaningful experiences. By doing that, interview is a time when you shine!
Of course a gentle reminder: if you are studying in NUS and NTU, CCA involvements also give you hall points that you need to apply for a place in a residential hall. But the importance of CCA definitely goes beyond hall application, as you have seen in the analysis above. With enough due diligence, you will definitely find a CCA that is the best of 3 worlds. Last but not least, doing what you like is the most important criterion in making a decision, and selecting a CCA is no exception. Consult your heart carefully and you will know the answer.