I touched upon this topic a few years ago in THIS POST but I wanted to do a recap or an updated version rather.
I’m 26 and now that I’ve been out of college for a few years, when I look back at that experience I realize now that there are things I would probably do different. So to all the college kids out there, or even to high schoolers- take the benefit of my experience. Because I’ve gone through it. I’ve got your back.
- Plan ahead- It’s always smart to be proactive. Research your colleges, schedule tours, review the courses they offer.
- Choose a school that is right for you- Make sure that the school offers courses in the things you are interested in.
- Take college seriously- It’s easy to put it off, to procrastinate, we all do it. But Junior year in high school you should really start the college process.
- Utilize scholarships- If you are lucky enough to get any, use them. Because every college kid will tell you, college is expensive! And loans are REAL!
- Take your hobbies seriously- Sometimes we love doing something and we think it won’t be anything we can make a career out of. And sometimes we could not be more wrong. Your interests are important, they are what make you, you. And they can point you in the direction of your future.
- Study your craft- You don’t think you know enough? Research! You’d be surprised how much information you have available to you with just the click of a button. Look it up, practice it, test the waters. It’s always good to learn something new.
- Ask questions- Ask people questions, people who know about your craft, people who have been through the college process. Ask away!
- Don’t buy the textbooks- Yes you read that right. I remember buying all the books and then barely using them, and then being stuck with them. And they cost SO much money! What I started doing was making copies. If you’re lucky your professors will give you a syllabus, which can narrow down which Chapters you’ll need to have access to for the semester. Copying is way cheaper. Or maybe split the cost with a friend and share the book. The Libraries often have the textbooks that you can take out too.
- Bond with peers with similar majors- This will help you to navigate your coursework and will give you someone to confide in when you graduate and get thrown into the work force.
- Have a back up plan- Just in case, think about a variety of options for your career. I’m NOT saying to give up on your dream. But it may take you some time to get it rolling. You will have to pay your dues before you get where you want to be. So make a plan of what you will do once you graduate and build from there. You’ve got to start somewhere, right?
- Take internships- Every entry level job still recquires a bit of experience. Internships will give you that extra edge.
- Talk to your professors- They are filled with information. And they have been where you are. Ask their advice.
- Join clubs- This will stir up your creativity and can help you to make friends all while being able to practice your craft.
- Don’t stress- College isn’t clicky like high school, it’s OKAY to be a bit of a loner sometimes.
- Take Summer jobs- You will learn how to budget your money and what it means to gain your own finances. And it will feel good to be able to pay for things yourself.
- Keep on top of your credits- When I was in college, every major had a checklist and each year you knew which classes you had to include in your schedule. Each major is different. If you don’t stay on top of your credits, you may end up having to stay longer than you planned in order to finish. Check those pre-requisites!
- Keep in touch with mentors after graduation- Time passes and you feel weird reaching out. Will they even remember you? Keeping in touch every now and then will make sure they won’t forget you. And it will give you someone that could possibly help guide you through the job hunting process.
- Have fun- College can be really stressful, make sure you take time to enjoy the experience. Go out with friends, attend a school function. This time- it only happens once in your life, and it goes by so fast.
I do believe that it’s not the college that makes the experience, but the student. The student makes the college work for them. You can go anywhere, as long as your determined you have the potential to do well. These tips can be helpful to current college students, upcoming college students, and future college students. You know what they say Pay it forward and “Be who you needed when you were younger!”
Happy Back to School Season Friends!
*I do not take credit for the image used.*