The Declining Rates of Freshman in Clubs



With most classes online, it can be exhausting to commit to another hour behind a screen.

This school year has seen a rapid decline in club participation among the freshmen class. Many students are opting out of afterschool activities and clubs. This quick drop has led many to question the reasons behind reduced freshmen enrollment.

 Students have faced countless challenges brought by this unique year. Between online classes and schoolwork, many cannot seem to catch a break. People need to be connected now more than ever. Activities that would previously encourage social contact are hard to recreate in an online environment.  Students have found it challenging to participate due to a loss of engagement and personal motivation. 

As new members of the Lincoln-Sudbury community, freshmen must navigate their new responsibilities. With most classes online, it can be exhausting to commit to another hour behind a screen. Freshman student Sophie Parte explained, “It kinda just seemed like another class, and it was not going to be as fun.” This sentiment resonates with other 9th graders this year.  

Lack of familiarization with their class has led freshmen students to steer away from social clubs. Olivia McGowan, a freshman at L-S, added that “I have not met many of the kids in person,” making it strenuous to engage online.  

In addition to the lack of social engagement, clubs have become less appealing due to disorganization and limited communication. Rachel Konigsberg, a member of the Student Senate, explains, “We were given one email. The lack of communication was very troubling because people did not know how to join clubs nor when to join them.” Many freshmen are already feeling overwhelmed and confused. At the beginning of the year, students received an email mentioning a spreadsheet with the available clubs.

Alexis Sim, who is also a member of the freshman class, had a very similar experience. “After picking a club, I was unsure if I needed to contact an advisor or if more information would be coming my way,” explains Alexis. Those who put in the effort to look for a club had success. On the other hand, many students did not believe it was worth wasting their time searching for the correct information. The long and confusing process quickly lost the attention of the freshman class. “I wish there could have been a virtual club fair,” Alexis added. This year has been unique and, due to the pandemic, there was no club fair available.

Olivia McGowan, a member of the 2024 Steering Committee, speaks about her involvement with clubs. “Nobody explained how clubs worked. My field hockey coach runs the committee, which is the only reason I knew about it,” said Olivia. “My previous social connections are the reason I am in my club,” she built on. Olivia’s connection was the source of her information. Without the help of her coach and older sister, Olivia would not have heard about the committee. Not all students have these previously built relationships making it difficult for them to gain knowledge about clubs. 

Art Reilly, Director of Athletics & Activities, explains, “We asked the advisors and student leaders of the respective clubs to create short videos to explain their clubs. The students actually did a very nice job and people put in quite a bit of time to create this method of advertising the clubs. We thought this would actually be a better way to advertise their club than a one day event in the AB connector. Next year we hope to offer both the shop around day and the links.”

Thankfully, we see the light at the end of the tunnel. With students gaining in-person hours, many are hopeful that next year will bring more participation.