Post By: COYD Staff
1. Get to know your professors
When will you have access to this many willing and accomplished people who want to help and share their knowledge with you? In addition to gaining invaluable wisdom and knowledge from professors, you will also want to get 2-3 letters of recommendation before you graduate. Most graduate schools (including law, business and medical school) require letters of recommendation as part of the application; in addition, letters of recommendation come in handy when applying to competitive fellowships and jobs.
2. Get work experience.
By the time you graduate, you should have a full resume. Most students think that a degree is the only prerequisite for getting a job. Wrong! The students who get the best jobs out of college are the ones who have an extensive amount of work experience. This experience could come from internships, work-study jobs, and student government positions. Employers will most likely not ask for your GPA in school; however, they will look at your work experience. Some exceptions are jobs in strategy/management consulting, investment banking, venture capital and private equity positions.
3. Be active and join something!
- Join clubs, social organizations and/or student government.
- Attend university social events.
- Play sports or exercise!
It’s good to meet people outside of your academic circle. This way you can meet people who have different majors and share a common extracurricular activity besides having fun! College is not just about studying and getting good grades. That is a minimum. When you ask adults 10-15 years out of college when they made their closest friends and many will say during college.
4. Go Abroad!
According to a survey conducted by the IES, the Institute of International Education for Students, 96% of students who studied abroad had increased self-confidence and 95% of students said studying abroad had a lasting impact on their world view. 80% of students said it enhanced their interest in academic study and 98% of students said it helped them better understand their own cultural values and biases and 76% of students said they acquired skill sets that influenced their career path.
Don’t use money as an excuse for not going abroad. The cost to study abroad is usually fairly similar to studying at their home university. If not, there are scholarships and grants out there for students who want to study abroad.
5. Try new things!
Try out for the acapella group! Who cares if you were the jock in high school? If you’ve had an itch to participate in the arts, do it! Nobody knows who you were and what you did in high school. This is the time to do the things you wanted to but didn’t in high school.
6. Constantly evaluate yourself and figure out what kind of life would make you happy.
Make every experience count. For many of you, college will be the first time you are on your own. No parents are telling you what to do. You choose your classes, your set of friends and your activities. Be intentional in the things you do in college and dig deep and find out who you are. Don’t just go through the motions. You set your future and what you will do after college.
7. Befriend people smarter and more experienced than you.
8. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes and then learn from them.
“I have taken more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I have been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over again in my life; and that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan
“Experience is not what happens to a man; it is what a man does with what happens to him.” – Aldous Huxley
9. Take a public speaking class.
10. Volunteer and give back.
11. Be a teacher/mentor (RA – Resident Advisor, TA – Teaching Assistant, AA – Academic Advisor)
12. Go to Office Hours.
13. Befriend people who look and act different from you.
College is not a time for you to stay in your clique. The world is getting smaller and smaller. Not understanding people of different socio-economic classes and ethnicities is going to hurt you when you are out in the “real world”. You will not only learn more about the world by opening up your social circle but you will also learn more about yourself.