How to Make Your Undergrad Involvement Count

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As an undergrad I knew it was important to get involved but I didn’t really understand why or how to make the most of it. My freshman year I joined the Society of Women Engineers because there was free food and it was a good chance to meet other girls in my major. I very quickly learned how much impact a student organization can have IF you take advantage of it. I joined the freshman leadership team and which allowed me to go to the national conference and attend a business simulation workshop. I also went to meetings where I learned about resumes, career fairs, elevator pitches and so much more. Student organizations offer a lot of opportunity to learn, but where it really becomes impactful is in what it allows you to DO.

Student organizations give you the opportunity to make an impact and everywhere you apply for jobs and internships wants to know about your impact. I’ve broke impact down into 6 categories:



Technical Skills

Project Management


Awards and Scholarships

So how do you make your time in a student organization count? And, possibly even more importantly, how do you avoid the burnout that can come with student organizations?

The trick is to track and increase your impact.  I’ve broken this down into a few steps that are also included in the Track your Impact Worksheet! 

1.Make a list of everything you are or have been involved in during college. Leave room between each line to add more information in the following steps.

2. Under each thing you are involved in, list any leadership position you’ve held, activity you participated in and skill you learned.

3. Look over this list and ask these questions: Does this activity support my goal? Does this activity benefit me in proportion to my time spent there? Try to identify one thing you could potentially take off of your plate.

4. Go through the list again and consider how each item fits the “Impact Categories” above. Are there any categories missing? Do you have more than 3 that only hit one specific category?

5. For each item on the list, write one way you could increase your impact, and how you will measure that impact.

6. For each missing “Impact Category”, list one way you could gain experience in that area.

To see an example of these steps in action check out the Engineering Your Undergrad Worksheet here!

Being involved is so important and making small changes to measure and slowly increase the impact you have can make these experiences even more valuable! 

Adding experience to your resume? Talking about it in a cover letter? Get Grammarly for free! Keep the focus on your achievements, not your grammar!

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