University is not all about exams and grades – students are expected to discover their interests, expand their network, and sharpen their skills outside of the classroom as well.

And that means checking out your options for extracurricular activities.

But it’s also important that you don’t just take up any activity for the sake of it – if you’re discerning and know what you want to achieve, your extracurricular activity/activities of choice may help you beyond graduation, as many employers are on the lookout for well-rounded individuals.

Each university has its own unique mix of student activities, but here are five general ones that you should be able to find at yours:

1) Sports

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If you’re one of those blessed with athletic skills, why not use it to represent your university in a sport? Sports is a great way to make friends, as many rely on teamwork. However, becoming a varsity athlete is very competitive and requires commitment, as it will take up a lot of your time outside of the classroom, but it can also be very rewarding.

If you’re seriously considering a sports career, it could be your launch pad into the big leagues. Talent scouts can often be found in the crowd for big games, and if you manage to impress them, it may lead to a scholarship or professional offer.

Even if you’re not much of an athlete, but you’re passionate about showing your support, you can also get involved by joining a cheerleading squad or pep band.

2) Academic and professional societies

One of the most obvious choices when it comes to joining organizations is one that is relevant to your field of study or future career. As a member, you’ll be able to meet with students with similar interests and passions, as well as academics and professionals. You will also get involved in activities and discuss issues relevant to the society, enabling you to be in the know about the latest issues and pick up useful skills.

3) Arts and Culture

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Do you have a budding interest in playing an instrument or taking up painting? Then you may want to consider an arts club. Depending on your school, there should be a range of options, from theater troupes to orchestras to salsa dancing. Joining an arts club will not only introduce you to those in the scene, but it will also help you find your artistic voice and hone your abilities.

Getting involved in cultural activities will also give you a worldly perspective by exposing you to the history and culture of other countries, especially if you join a multicultural society like the international students’ society. Activities can include potlucks, festivals, and performances where you can make friends with people from all around the world.

4) Volunteer work

They say one of the best ways to find happiness is in service to others. Volunteering your time and effort into a cause you’re passionate about is a great way to spend your time in university. Many campuses have clubs or societies linked to larger non-governmental organizations in a variety of causes, from the homeless to the environment. These experiences will not only help you grow as a person, but it will also be of benefit to the society by giving something back.

5) Student government

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Do you dream of becoming the next Barack Obama or Angela Merkel? Many of today’s top politicians got their start in university, as all campuses have some form of student government, from helping out at student residences to overseeing the whole campus as a member of the student council.

There are also student societies that model themselves on how real-life bureaucratic organizations are run, such as a Model United Nations. Joining these societies will give you a taste of how it’s like to be part of a government organization, and you’ll get experience in things such as holding elections and being a student representative.

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