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How a College Chapter for Associations can Help Recruit Members

Looking for a way to directly reach college students? Consider creating a college student chapter to get them interested from the very beginning of their learning experience.

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Reaching members is an essential part of growing your association, so why not start at the beginning? For any association, outreach to younger members is a highly sought after skill. And as we learn  more and more about the value of younger members, it’s clear that reaching out to young professionals is the right move for any organization looking to increase their membership. But why are college students such great association members to have? Well, college students are eager to learn about their perspective fields. And with young professionals now making up a third of the workforce, these budding students are on their way into the working world. By engaging these college students, you are growing your membership and helping students on becoming young professionals in the labor force. And in return, you’re also providing these students with the professional resources they need to make it in the industry of their choice.

If you’re looking for a better way to attract college students and young professionals to your association’s membership, it’s time to meet them on their terms. In this blog, we’ll discuss how having a presence on college campuses can actually help your association attract a younger membership and increase its members in the process. So, if you’re interested in accessing this type of member value, keep reading on.

College Chapters for Associations

Looking for a way to directly reach college students? Consider creating a college student chapter to get them interested from the very beginning of their learning experience. Association student chapters on college campuses allow students access to many of the benefits that your association’s members have. Think of it as a way to give students a sample of what they could have once they graduate and move on in their professional lives. It also gives them the chance to network with professionals, giving them a head start in their industry of choice. A Student chapter serves as a gateway to forums, panel discussions, and symposia that further a student's professional development. Preparation and presentation of technical reports and papers and cooperative efforts on research projects allow students to test their technical expertise.

Professional organizations and associations have a tremendous amount to gain from having chapters on college campuses. So, let’s look at how to set up a college chapter of your own

What a student chapter offers its members

If your association is looking to start a student chapter on college campuses, but you aren’t quite sure where to start, you’re not alone. However, there are 3 key factors that your student chapter should encompass. They are as follows:


Young professionals want to have some kind of assurance that they are not alone. With the proper guidance, your association can take college students through the professional industry and give them a place to start when the time comes.


Students want to see what their futures could look like in the career or industry of their choice. Working closely with your association’s staff and other members will give them a perspective on where they want to take their career in the future.

Networking opportunities

Students are always looking for ways to meet professionals in their fields, and try to gain job opportunities. When your association, provides your young members with these three amenities, you are on your way to successfully growing your association. But what other tips can you look out for in order to make your college chapter a huge success in terms of satisfaction and membership rates?

Reaching members early

As students, these young professionals feel as they are jumping feet first into the labor force.  College students are fresh, bright-eyed young minds who are looking for any sense of security they can find. College students also want to explore all opportunities presented to them, making your association a hub for all things industry related.

This is where your association’s student chapter can come in and save the day. When college students see an established association offering guidance and expertise in the field they are or plan to pursue, they will be more inclined to join your chapter. You are providing these students with some kind of assurance that they are not alone in their career journey.

Retaining membership

By your association being a strong presence in their college career, students will forever be grateful and loyal to your association, making them perfect long-term members.  We know that this new generation of working professionals will have grown up in the social media era, so nothing, except best social media marketing will reach them. When reaching your members, it is important to have a strong social media platform. Without this invaluable step, no one will take a second look at your product or organization. A great way to retain younger members is to keep in contact with them through popular social media channels that they frequently use and offer them mentorship as they progress in their career post-college. This way, you know your younger audiences are seeing the marketing messages and content you post into the world. And speaking of...

Social media

Social media will play an enormous part in reaching students on campuses. Social media is always changing. Young professionals adapt to these changes in milliseconds, but unfortunately for you, this means that your job is never quite done. But, don’t fret. This means that new ways to improve your associations image are always available. “As tastemakers, college students drive social media trends–they create the rules and define the ever expanding landscape of new tools and channels. If a company doesn’t have a robust, genuine social media strategy, they will not successfully reach college students,” says Kelli Matthews, social media marketing expert and instructor at University of Oregon.

Association website

Your website can say a lot about your association without you even having to reach out to audiences- so you better make sure yours represents your association well. Joel Bartlett is the Director of Marketing Innovations at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) - and he knows what it takes to make an impactful website. PETA has an entire division, peta2, devoted to engaging with college and high school-aged youth. In addition, the peta2 website gets hundreds of thousands of visits each week. Bartlett explains, “Whether talking about delicious vegan food or how leather and wool are just as cruel as fur, PETA makes sure all of its online content is emotionally evocative. Just like you’ll repeat a good joke, we believe that the stronger we can make someone feel, the more likely they will ‘like,’ ‘comment on,’ or ‘share’ our content.”


Hosting workshops to help your members do better is a great way to make yourself a necessity.

Resume workshops

Writing a resume are an overwhelming task for many people.  Hosting workshops with professionals is a great way to help your members do their best. This does not need to be a fancy event. A professional setting where experts can give feedback and advice is great!

Mock interviews

Having good interview skills can make all the difference in getting the job or promotion. Hosting interview workshops can help even the most shy students work on their interview skills. Treat this as real interviews for a position in the perspective field. This way, your members get a real taste of what an actual interview feels like. Cover everything from what to wear, how to introduce yourself, and even non communication skills for interviews.

Networking events

When trying to further your career, networking is key. By offering this benefit to members you are not only offering them great opportunities, but also marketing yourself as an asset.

College chapters: A solution to your problems

Professional associations have much to gain from student chapters. By being there for your members early on, you are ensuring new and loyal members to join and stay members throughout their professional careers.