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Articles / Applying to College / Impact of Stepping Down from Club Presidency?

Impact of Stepping Down from Club Presidency?

Sally Rubenstone
Written by Sally Rubenstone | Dec. 3, 2013

Question: Does it look bad to step down from a president position of a club?

If you were president of a club but chose not to continue, your college applications can indicate that you served as president during whatever time frame you did. Period. You need not give a reason why you stepped down. Admission officials are barely going to notice. They will be more focused on what you ARE doing than on what you are no longer doing. They will note that you did hold a leadership role and, if they wonder fleetingly why you don’t anymore, it will not keep them up at night (or impact your admission verdicts). Admission folks realize that students change their paths for many reasons.

However, if you so choose, you can use the “Additional Information” section of your applications to explain why you gave up a presidency. You may decide that it’s important to provide these details, especially if you feel that your reasons say something about you and your values (e.g., “Our faculty advisor encouraged cheating in competitions” or “the Irish club wouldn’t allow any English students to join”). Of course, you want to avoid an explanation that puts you in a negative light (e.g., “Oh, geez! It was way too much work”) or one that seems petty (“My best friend dropped out of the club so it wasn’t fun anymore.”)

If, however, your early high school years were full of activities and leadership positions but, by 12th grade, you appear to be doing very little outside of class, then this may raise a flag for admission committees. But bailing on the top spot in one club won’t make a ripple.


Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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