If you have been to college, you likely have some regrets about things you wish you had done differently. If you are a current college student, there is so much you can learn from those who have come before you that could help you get the most value out of your college experience.
Whether choosing your major wisely, taking advantage of free programs for students, or networking with professionals who visit your campus, there are so many things that can give you an edge in a difficult economy. Below are ten common mistakes that college students make, and how you can avoid them and learn from the mistakes of others.
1. Many college students blindly choose a broad major because they have not decided what they want to do with their lives while others will opt for majors that have historically allowed people to find lucrative careers but aren’t the right fit for students. An example of this is the business degree, which continues to be popular but has lost prestige since the financial crisis. This doesn’t mean that students genuinely interested in business should shy away from the major; business-minded students must realize the broad scope of business curriculums, such as ones covered at MBA Online, before diving into the field of study. Simply doing a little research about a variety of majors, other than broad ones like business, can help most college students identify what it is that they they love to do and what can really lead to a career that is lucrative.
2. A second mistake that many college students make is not developing a relationship with their professors or taking advantage of office hours held by professors or their assistants. Office hours are offered by all professors and can help struggling students catch up, but can also help regular students excel and get the most out of their experience. Office hours can be very valuable, but they are a not top priority of many students.
3. College is fun, and having fun leads many students to select classes that are going to be easy and require little studying or test preparation. This can lead students into a vicious cycle of picking easy classes rather than challenging ones that will result in learning skills that make students marketable. Choosing a challenging and interesting schedule makes most students more marketable when searching for a career.
4. Colleges do a great job of exposing students to professionals and potential employers. However, many students do not take advantage of these opportunities and therefore, miss out on valuable opportunities. Whether it’s at career fairs or on campus interview opportunities, companies invest a lot of money and time into meeting potential employees on college campuses. By taking advantage of these opportunities, students may have an easier time finding a job upon graduation.
5. Every year, there is a lot of money that is left unused in the form of scholarships that were unclaimed. Many students do not do their due diligence in researching the money that may be available, and thus could lessen the financial burden of obtaining their degree. College students could potentially have hundreds of extra dollars in their pockets if they would just invest a little bit of time researching existing scholarships, applying, and collecting money for their educations.
6. Students often do not see their peers as a valuable part of their post-graduation network. There are many ways to leverage your peers, not just your superiors, to find a job, or get tips on how to interview successfully. If students would take advantage of their student network, they would likely have an easier time finding a job and would learn from each others’ mistakes in the job search process.
7. Many students believe that it is necessary to get a degree from a big name college rather than a community college near their home town. Often, employers do not care which institution is on your degree, but rather how you applied yourself when obtaining that degree. Therefore, if your budget only allows you to attend a community college while working or living at home with your parents, consider doing that if even for a couple of years before spending too much time and money at a large, and probably expensive, school.
8. Many students underestimate the value of making good grades in high school, and how that can affect the schools to which you can apply or what your college experience will entail. Therefore, start early focusing on making good grades and building a resume that will surely impress any potential admissions board or employer.
9. Many students go to college and end up spending time with people they already know rather than branching out and experiencing a diverse culture that most college campuses offer. By branching out and meeting new people, students can learn from the experiences of others and determine what qualities in others are important when seeking a career or trying to be successful in school. Branch out!
10. Many students trade in a life of valuable extra-curricular activities through which they could gain valuable leadership experience for a life of partying with their friends and being king on the social scene. There is definitely a time in college to be social and have fun, but there is also value in finding an activity in which you excel or that you enjoy, and thriving in it. Whether it is leading a bible study or other study group, holding a leadership position in your sorority or fraternity, or leading a student organization, employers will be looking for extra-curricular activities beyond hanging out with the local barkeep.
As you can see, there are lots of mistakes that most college students make that could cost them precious value in their degrees. By avoiding these mistakes, college students would be more successful and have a much better change at a lucrative career with a good company or firm.
Guest Article: Marina Salsbury planned on becoming a teacher since high school, but found her way instead into online writing after college. She currently writes on a variety of topics, but always seems to veer back to education-related articles.