Academics

Advice for your Student: Top 10 Ways to Maximize the Return on Investment in College

1. Invest wisely – Financially speaking, to maximize your investment in college, you must first make sure your investment is wise. Do your research so you know you’ve chosen the right school, applied for all possible scholarships and grants and taken out loans with low interest rates.

2. Network – You could go to the most prestigious university in the country, but if you didn’t make friends and connect with professors, students and alumni, your degree would be much less valuable. You probably won’t remember what you studied in your 8 a.m. class during your third semester at school, but the people in your study group for that class could turn out to be colleagues or point you toward your dream job.

3. Mind over grades – Just as the paper diploma doesn’t mean as much as the relationships behind it, your transcript of grades won’t be as valuable as the knowledge you gain. Sure, a high GPA will help get your foot in the door with a job or internship, but what you learn in your classes and how you apply it to your everyday life is what will make you an invaluable employee.

4. Learn to study – Find your personal study preferences and learning styles early. Once you know how you learn best, capitalize on that knowledge and incorporate it into all of your classes, whether it’s studying with other people, teaching the material to others, creating practice tests or spending time alone in a quiet corner of the library.

5. Extracurricular activities – Most of the growth you’ll experience is outside the classroom. Get involved in activities that interest you and meet new people. Service organizations, sororities or fraternities, clubs and sports will help round out your experiences and provide another place to build relationships with people. 

6. Internships – One of the best ways to secure a good job after college is to land an internship during college. Even if you get an unpaid summer internship, if it’s in your field of study and provides you with good experience and networking opportunities, the investment in time and money could lead to a strong career.

7. Take risks – If you’ve always wanted to live in Europe, take a botany class or join the crew team, there’s no time like the present. College not only lays the foundation for your future career, but also provides opportunities to grow in ways you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. Take advantage!

8. Keep saving – College may feel like an endless money pit, with tuition, living costs, books and other necessary expenses. Rather than coming out the other side with debt and an empty bank account, make a habit of saving and budgeting now. Those habits will benefit you for the rest of your life.

9. Think big – Expect to be inspired, and allow yourself to dream. If you enjoy a particular class or discover a new talent, explore ways you could make a career out of what you love. Dream of starting a business, writing a book or joining a world-class company, and start plotting the course to get there.

10. Health – All of your hard work and intentional choices will be valuable only if your mind and body are healthy enough to reap the benefits. Get enough sleep, eat healthfully and exercise regularly.

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