Wednesday, January 22, 2020
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Consider joining academic clubs in high school

Advice from students at Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois, includes checking out one of several clubs students can join, including those that are competitive but more academic in nature.

Students at Niles West have more than 80 clubs to choose from, which can present a daunting selection task, especially for new freshmen.

Wyatt Zwik, the academics section editor for the student newspaper, The Niles West News, picks six competitive academic clubs and writes a short summary for each.


  • Scholastic Bowl
  • Science Olympiad
  • Mock United Nations


  • Debate
  • Mock Trial
  • DECA


Mr Zwik advises freshmen to join as many clubs as they can. “Freshman year is the perfect time to explore your options and find what you’re passionate about,” he writes, “whether it be debating politics or conducting science experiments. Try to find something you love doing now, so you don’t regret not partaking in that activity.”

DECA is a club for students who have a career interest in marketing, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, and/or management. Several colleges also sponsor DECA clubs, according to DECA Inc, which says its organization has been up and running for 70 years and includes student members at more than 3,500 high schools in the US. The acronym once stood for Distributive Education Clubs of America, but like the SAT exam, the acronym is now the official brand.

One club at Niles West in particular—the Science Olympiad—has led students to explore different scientific endeavors, including the relatively recent field of robotics.

“Science Olympiad is a great organization, offering students the ability to learn and use scientific knowledge different than in the school environment,” the paper quotes one senior club member as saying. “Our team works as a family. Put simply, if you wish to learn, make friends, and have fun, Science Olympiad is the place for you.”

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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