The main purpose of an online education is to earn your degree and advance your career, but that doesn’t mean that you’re not interested in the opportunities, or the fun, of extracurricular activities. Virtual clubs make it possible for online students to enjoy a variety of extracurricular activities just as their on-campus peers do.

Virtual Clubs for Online Students

For online students, virtual clubs fill in the role of traditional extracurricular activities. There are numerous options for students interested in joining a club, according to U.S. News & World Report. Service-minded students can participate in volunteer organizations. Those who want to showcase their academic achievements can join virtual honor societies. Students can also find specific cultural clubs and groups focused on particular interests.

Naturally, when online students participate in virtual clubs, they do so online. Many virtual clubs use Facebook and Skype to “meet” and interact, according to U.S. News & World Report. Sometimes members in the same region may make plans to meet face-to-face for club activities – but even if they don’t, the connections and opportunities they bring students can prove valuable in many ways. In fact, students describe the experience of taking part in a virtual club as similar to taking part in a club that meets in person on campus – except, of course, that the club meets in a virtual rather than physical space.

The Importance of Extracurricular Activities

Extracurricular activities are great for a college student’s social life. These activities give students an opportunity to meet new people with similar interests and make new friends, as well as enjoying a favorite activity.

However, clubs aren’t only about having fun. Extracurricular activities also provide you with advantages that can help you get ahead in your career. For one thing, taking part in a club that’s relevant to your intended career field can make your résumé more appealing to potential employers. Even if the activity itself isn’t closely related to your major, many employers and graduate school programs look fondly on applicants who are well-rounded. If your extracurricular activity of choice is charitable in some way, your volunteer work may make a difference on your résumé as well as to your cause.

Through extracurricular activities, you can also develop new skills that will help you in your future work. These skills may be technical and relevant to your career goals, or they may be “soft skills” like communication, teamwork, problem-solving and conflict resolution, all of which will help you in any career path you choose.

Even socializing can be professionally beneficial. Networking is important in virtually any industry. By taking part in a group activity, you’re not only learning how to network with others, but you’re also adding new friends and acquaintances to your network.

Though they may not count toward your degree, extracurricular activities are an important part of the college experience. Online students don’t have to miss out on these valuable opportunities.