Student leadership is the drive, willingness, and ability of learners to share their knowledge with others. It can take different forms, just as there are different personalities. For some, leadership projects consist of tutoring others and perhaps even seeking out younger pupils in need of help. For others, leadership achievements are found in problem-solving activities to benefit the people around them. It is a common misconception that leadership skills are just innate; in fact, they can also be learned.
Student Leadership Goals
One of the most significant leadership goals parents perceive is giving a high school student a leg up in college admissions. Proven leadership can indeed make a difference when the competition is fierce, and many of the other students also have excellent grades and test scores.
However, working toward a position in a student leadership team does a lot more than looking good on a college application. For starters, it helps a student uncover things they are good at. Besides that, it builds self-esteem. Most importantly, however, it gives high school learners a chance to participate in leadership building and understanding what goes into being a good leader.
Leadership Activities for High School Students
Because the development of leadership abilities in high school takes place in a somewhat controlled environment, it is okay to make mistakes. Actually, learners cannot find out what it takes to be a good leader until they make some errors in judgment and see the outcomes in real time. Adult supervision ensures that consequences do not go beyond some hurt feelings. Most good-quality schools offer several opportunities for students to explore leadership. At Spark School, students can take part in IDEAS Student Societies: Internationalism, Democracy, Environment, Adventure, and Service.
Clubs are the most common opportunities for honing leadership skills. Examples include the Math Team, Debate Club, and Band Boosters. In academic settings, learners explore their strengths. It gives talented students a chance to build on their abilities and find leadership opportunities.
Whether it is the football team, the cheer squad, or the after-school cross-country running club with no way of competing, athletics are a big deal. Moreover, leadership positions are easy to take on. While some are well-defined, such as captain of the football team, others come when members are willing to pay their dues. For example, the commitment to allowing others to be heard can put a team member in the position to become a coaching assistant.
Community Service and Volunteering
Many high schools now require a certain number of community service hours as a prerequisite to graduate. Activities might include serving at beach cleanups, being active in one’s faith community, and doing things at the school. For example, older students might team up with younger ones to help them learn the ropes of being in high school and excelling in academics. It teaches students to work well with others. They explore how to deal with different personality types, ask questions, listen, follow directions, and give advice.
One of the most prestigious political organizations to participate in is the Model U.N. It focuses on problem-solving skills, but it really emphasizes the ability to work with individuals with various value sets. Learning how to create a sense of teamwork is a given. Other opportunities are Student Alliances and a Club for Multicultural Affairs.
The school newspaper, the yearbook, or a literary magazine could be ideal for the student with a gift for turning a phrase. It gives budding journalists or bloggers a first taste of how to relate to multi-cultural audiences. Besides that, it emphasizes the ability to give and take. Making compromises is necessary when filling the pages of a publication, and not everyone can be on the front page.
Focus on Actions
Students should take these leadership activities as opportunities for acting out different roles. Titles matter little and might sometimes be a matter of popularity. However, the combination of commitment, skill, and willingness to do what it takes to see the team succeed, will quickly lead to valuable abilities that look good on a college application and translate seamlessly into the workplace.
Parents can assist their students by giving them room to explore. Going into a program because it is perceived to be prestigious does not help the learner if they have no interest. In the long run, doing so might lead to token participation that will not impress anyone. However, when a learner is passionate about something, they can bring others along in their excitement. This is what parents want to support.