Chapter Building Strategy: Organize an Official YAL Chapter

So you want to become an official YAL chapter?  Well, the first step is easy. Visit YAL’s chapter page online and click the “start a chapter” button.  YAL’s online application will effectively walk you through the basic planning for your chapter.

The application encourages you to develop short-term and long-term goals, as well as to research information about your campus, like the procedures and policies set up by your school’s administration to become a registered student organization.

As Dwight D. Eisenhower said, “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Think of completing the chapter application in a similar way — except your final plan will be invaluable! The process of brainstorming your goals will inspire ideas about how to effectively structure your new chapter and interface with the student body.

Most likely, the actual plan you submit will change once you adapt your understanding of your campus and how to organize groups. As your plans change, update your online application so YAL’s national network can continue to provide guidance and support to help you succeed.

Newly Forming vs. Provisional vs. Official Status

To earn official recognition from YAL, your chapters must:

  • Complete an online application:
  • Register three dues-paying members on your chapter’s newly created page
  • Qualify as an official student organization with your college or university

Your chapter will likely pass through three phases on your way to earning official YAL recognition:

1. Newly Forming

Once you click “start a chapter,” YAL will list your chapter as “newly forming” on the website. Your status will remain as newly forming until you complete your application and three dues-paying YAL members “join” your chapter on the website. Members can join your chapter on your webpage, which is linked from YAL’s chapter page:

2. Provisional

As soon as you completely fill out your online application and three dues-paying members join your chapter online, you can submit your application for review. YAL’s National Field Director will read your application and respond with feedback and suggestions to strengthen your plan. The National Field Director will then approve your application, which will upgrade your status to “provisional.” Provisional chapters meet all the requirements for official YAL recognition, only they are not yet a registered student organization at their school.

Because your university’s red tape may hold your plan back, YAL created this status — a one-year grace period — so your chapter can receive all the benefits awarded to official YAL chapters. Keep in mind, your chapter won’t necessarily have to be listed as provisional. It’s merely a classification for chapters which face a lengthy, bureaucratic process to become official with their school.

3. Official

Once you earn official school recognition — after you complete the online application and add three dues-paying members — you can submit your online chapter application. YAL’s National Field Director will (once again) review your plan and approve your application. Once approved, your chapter will be listed as “official” on the national website.

Even after earning official status with YAL, you should update your application at least once a year or any time you significantly change directions with your chapter. 

The speed with which you earn provisional status will depend largely on your initiative to complete the application. The questions are direct and should only take 20 to 30 minutes to answer. For official status, your university’s own timeline for granting permanent status will likely take some time, so start the process with your school today.

As always, email us with any questions — we’re here to help:

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