If you’re a high school student thinking about college admissions, you’ve probably already done a bit of research into the factors that are weighed on your college application. You also probably know you’ll need to list your extracurricular activities and achievements. But have you considered how these activities and achievements will be weighed?
As college admissions committees evaluate the quality of your extracurricular experiences, they will look largely for signs of dedication and signs of leadership skills. If you’re involved in student government, this is good news, since student government requires both dedication and leadership skills from its participants. Achieving a leadership position in student government is even more convincing evidence of your dedication and commitment, so it can be a great boon on your college applications.
Often, these student leadership positions require that you take part in an election. Running for any office isn’t easy since you have to put yourself out there to be judged by your peers, but doing so is a great way to gain leadership experience. If you’re thinking about campaigning for a position in the student government, this is the post for you. In this article, we will outline how to plan and run a successful campaign for student body elections.
Here are seven essential steps to successful campaigning in the student body election.
1. Lay the Groundwork Early
While it’s certainly possible to come seemingly out of the blue and take an election by storm, that’s more common on the big screen than it is in real life. You’re better off laying a solid foundation early on if you intend to make a serious bid for a leadership position.
You can show that you’re serious about serving your school community by getting involved during your earlier years of high school and sticking with it over time. Gradually build up your experience so that a leadership position is the next logical step in your involvement. You will gain not only valuable experience and insight into how student government runs, but also connections with the peers and faculty with whom you’ll be working.
Laying the groundwork early also means being friendly and personable to your peers not only in the months leading up to the election, but also in the years prior. If you want to be a leader and a voice for your classmates, you’ll need to establish yourself as trustworthy and relatable. Your peers need to feel like they can communicate with you about their desires and needs at school. To create this level of comfort, you’ll need to start building your reputation early. The trust you establish over time can’t be faked in just a few months.
You’ll also need to learn about prerequisites for running for student council. Some schools have stringent standards that must be met including minimum GPAs, lack of disciplinary infractions, or provision of teacher recommendations. Be sure that you can meet these requirements before you put any serious effort into moving forward.
2. Set a Budget
It’s most likely that you’ll have to pay for your campaign out of your own pocket, so it’s best to set a budget in advance to ensure that you control costs. Even small expenses can add up to surprising sums over time.
Consider how much supplies will cost for posters, buttons, stickers, or any other campaign materials that you might hand out. Price out different options to ensure that you’re getting a good deal or solicit donations of office supplies from local stores to help control costs.
Also think about setting some money aside to thank your volunteers. Treating them to some donuts or even a few pizzas at the end of the campaign is a great way to express your appreciation.
3. Create a Mission
You can’t run a campaign without a clear vision of what you stand for and intend to accomplish as a student leader. Create your own mission statement early on and return to it throughout your campaign to stay true and accountable to your beliefs.
In order to create a mission statement, consider what you will do as a leader that is unique.Think critically about what issues matter most to you and what changes you will make. Discuss with various student groups which areas they perceive as being most in need of change and weigh that input also.
Think carefully about the difference you will make as a leader and use those goals as the platform for your campaign. Make these ideas to central to any and all campaign materials and communications.
4. Build a Team of Volunteers to Help
The nature of student elections is very social, so it makes sense that you won’t be able to conduct a successful campaign by yourself. You’ll need a whole team of helpers to spread your message, lend a hand, and donate their time and energy towards your cause.
Compile a group of friends and like-minded peers to help with your campaign. Try to get students involved from broad social groups so that you can have many voices to draw on and a broad audience for them.
Your team can help with everything from posting about your campaign on social media, to creating posters, to spreading the word verbally. Expanding your reach so that as many students as possible know about your campaign and the mission behind it should be a primary goal. You’re bound to attract more voters if they know what your campaign is all about.
Serving on your school's student council gives you a say in student activities and a voice with the school administration. It also looks good on college applications. However, to make it onto the student council, you'll first need to give a speech and gather votes from the other students.
Use these suggestions to help you craft a speech they'll never forget. It's important that you make sure your speech suits your school and position.
Open With a Humorous Story
Many of you probably know me best for tripping over my feet and falling face first off the stage during prom. Once I got over that embarrassment, I decided I could face you here today.
What I've Done Already
From the first day I arrived at Sample High School, I knew I wanted to become more involved. From serving on the school newspaper as the Features Editor to helping plan prom last year, I consistently spend time in leadership roles and try to make this school an even better place than it already is.
Many of you probably know me from my work with Key Club and the volunteer time I've spent at Sunnyvale Nursing Home and cleaning up our community park.
Running for the Role of _______
It probably won't surprise you that I have decided to run for student council for the role of ___________. As student council _________ (role), I will strive to continue to make improvements in the school for every student here at Sample High.
I Understand and Can Do the Job
The student council works side-by-side with the student body and the administration to ensure student events throughout the year are successful. As _______, I will ensure that you have a memorable year.
Please Vote for Me
Today, I am asking for your vote for _______. Should you elect me, I will listen to your concerns and work hard for you. Thank you.
Make the Opening Stand Out
Hello, my name is John Doe and I'm a junior. I'm not the type of student who will lead a senior prank or skip class with you, but that probably isn't what you want in a class president anyway. What I do offer is steadfastness, hard work and the ability to work with others even during difficult circumstances while still keeping a sense of humor.
Last year, when the cafeteria stopped serving the salad bar, I was able to get it reinstated by starting a petition, having many of you sign it and taking it to Principal Smith. Because we worked together, we were able to bring the salad bar back, and now it's better than ever.
During the last three years at Sample High School, I've been involved in many activities. I've played basketball, spent a short time in the school band, worked on various committees and helped tutor students after school. Last year, I was adopted into the National Honor Society and started an after school club for airplane enthusiasts that meets once a week.
What I'll Do for You
As your student council president, I vow to end all homework. Just kidding. I can't do that, but what I can do is be your voice with the school administration and work to make this the best year Sample High has ever had. I will introduce ideas for events, such as a weekly sock hop after high school basketball games and we'll work together to help the community through volunteer work and showing them just how dedicated the students at Williams are.
Ask for the Vote
I would appreciate your vote for president. If elected, I will continue to fight for the things that are important to students, no matter how big or small they might be. Let's work together to make our stamp on this community and on the world.
Vice President Speech
Instead of starting with my name and what I'm running for, at which point you'll tune me out and start looking at the smudge on your left shoe, I am going to tell you my favorite memory so far from high school. My first day at Sample High School, I had no idea how to get to my classes. This school is big, and I was lost.
On top of that, I was rushing around trying to find my class and tripped and fell flat on the floor in front of the cutest guy I'd ever seen. Not only was he nice enough to help me up, but several other students rushed to help me, got me to my classroom and made me feel better about how goofy I was.
That was the moment I fell in love with Sample High School. We all help each other and you don't find that just anywhere.
Why I'm VP Material
One of the reasons I'm running for Vice President for the student council is because I want to give back to the high school I love so much. I want to be that friendly face for new students coming in and a defender for students already here.
During the last two years, I've prepared myself to serve as Vice President by taking on extra work organizing a fan club for our football players to cheer them on when they play at home and make sure our school is represented in the stands at every away game. I've spent time as an office aid, learning about the everyday running of the school and silently taking notes on what we as students can do to improve things and how we can work with the administration.
What I'll Do as Vice President
As your Vice President, I will stand beside your president, offering support and stepping in when she is not able to be here or asks for some extra help. I'll sit on the student council and get actively involved in planning prom, graduation and homecoming. I will always be here to listen to your concerns or to help you off the floor should you fall flat on your face like I did.
Ask for Their Vote
I am asking for your vote for VP of the student council. I love this school, I want to be helpful and I want us all to build memories we'll remember and treasure forever. Now, if I can just get off this stage without falling on my face, I'll be in good shape.
Today, I want to tell you something about me that you might not know. From the time I was five years old, I've been taking guitar lessons. I don't play in a band and I don't take music classes at school, but every night when I get home, I pick up my Fender and I relieve any stress from the day by playing a few of my favorite classic rock songs.
Why You Should Elect Me
Learning to play a musical instrument takes a lot of time and stubbornness. There are times when I just wanted to quit because my fingers were raw from trying to learn a new chord or that song just didn't sound right. However, I stuck with it until I overcame the challenge and that is exactly what I'll do as your secretary. If there is an issue that needs to be solved, I won't quit until we figure out a solution. I will bring your concerns to the other council members and like learning a new chord, I will stick with that concern until we figure it out.
Ask for the Vote
I would like your vote for secretary of the student council. You never know, I may even bring my guitar to a student council meeting or two and just set it by my side as a reminder of why we need to work hard to achieve worthwhile things.
Beginning of Speech
Hello fellow students and staff,
I don't like to brag, but I'm really good at math. I know, all of you who are really good at English hate me right now. However, if it makes you feel any better, English is really hard.
The student council treasurer is in charge of keeping track of money and numbers, so this role is a perfect fit for me and I've decided to run for the position.
What I've Done
I've been a member of Jackson High's Mathletes for the last two years. In case you're not familiar with this group, we are a group of students who love math and go out and compete in events. We've won state twice in the last three years.
I also am a member of the orchestra. We perform throughout the school year and at school basketball games.
Ask for the Vote
The student council treasurer has to be good at math to keep track of all those numbers. Vote for me and I'll make sure our numbers add up. I'll also have fun doing it because I'm just crazy enough to love numbers.
Pulling from Different Samples
Another thing you can do is to pull the elements you most like from a number of different speeches. Perhaps you like the opening of one speech and the ending of another, for example. Below are some additional sample speeches to add to the selection of speeches above.
Below is an example of a funny student council speech. The young lady, Daisy Thomas, doesn't mind poking fun at her school or herself, but it's all good-natured and you can tell she cares about her school. It's a short speech but follows the format of who she is, what she's running for, what she believes in, what she will do for the school and asking for her fellow students' votes.
Making Your Speech Stand Out
While there are certain traits and promises the student body expects from every candidate's speech, they want to choose one person who stands out from the crowd. Make your speech the most memorable one in the room with these tricks and tips.
- Grab a thesaurus and look for synonyms of common words used to describe the position you're running for. When all the other secretarial candidates talk about their attention to detail, you can use words like meticulous or assiduous to sound different.
- Include visuals like props, a themed outfit, or specific hand gestures to give your speech a multidimensional feel.
- Choose a speech theme to structure your presentation like a specific social media platform, a historical event, or a particular sport. Look for a theme that relates well to your desired position.
- Invent a catchphrase that captures the spirit of your speech to keep the student body talking about it all the way to the polls.
- Tailor a famous speech to make your points by changing a few choice words and keeping the most famous lines intact.
- Add sound effects, song lyrics, or music to give the speech more life.
Make It Memorable
Whether you use one of the samples listed here or write an entirely new speech, be sure to put a personal touch on the speech. By focusing on what makes you unique, your passions and your skills, you will show confidence in front of your classmates and let them see a side of you they may not have seen before. Whether you win or lose the election, you can hold your head high and know you gave the speech your best.