Ready to work
Holding leadership positions also prepares you for the work world, where time management, team building and organization become critical factors to career success.
"Students who involve themselves in leadership opportunities become better organized," says Tania Castro, director of college counseling at Palmer Trinity School in Miami and former regional admissions director for the University of Pennsylvania.
"They gain an understanding of the politics of working within an organization and realize the benefits of teamwork," she adds. "Generally students also gain confidence in themselves and the ability to contribute to the bigger picture."
Of course, there are challenges and risks involved with leading at the high school level. Your skills are tested. Your character is refined. Your time is stretched. And not everyone will appreciate your efforts.
"You have to be ready not to be liked by some," says Joshua Estrin, president of Concepts In Success, a consulting firm in Hollywood, Fla. "You have to be ready to be scared because it's very scary leading the pack. When you are leading you don't always have the answers."
Balance is key
Pursuing leadership opportunities in high school teaches you to find the answers and those problem solving skills will take you a long way in life. At the end of the day, experts agree that balance is crucial. Before you embark on world-changing initiatives, make sure you have the time, passion and resources to be effective.
"Find something that you love doing, become a leader in that area and maintain excellence," says Estrin. "You don't have to hold 10 positions to get noticed. Avoid burnout because that's an issue you will face in the workforce. Colleges and employers both want well-rounded people in their organizations."
If you want to change the world the best place to start just might be your high school.