Where to attend college is a very important (and usually expensive!) decision for high school seniors to make. So, each student should take their time and consider each option before applying and making a final decision. Below are a few hacks to help you get the most value out of your college experience.
Start the Process Early
If you know early on in middle and high school that you plan to go to college, don’t wait until your junior and senior years to begin the process. Research niche scholarships that you can become eligible for over time; sometimes just learning an obscure skill, language, or joining a club or organization will make you eligible for dozens of scholarships. This will help cover rising college tuition and expenses.
Take Advantage of Work-study and Department-funded Jobs
The easiest place to get a job is at college. Many departments depend on work-study students in order to operate. Every term, universities post jobs across almost every college department and office. Definitely utilize this opportunity to get a conveniently located job that works with your academic schedule. As a hack within a hack, try to find a job that will give you transferrable skills. Instead of one that just requires something simple like sitting at a front desk. Admissions, Residence Life, Study Abroad, and Alumni Relations are all great offices to work in to develop administrative, intercultural, and interpersonal skills. This may even open the door to a professional job in that office once you graduate.
Intern Frequently Tops the list of Hacks for College Students
Many majors have an optional internship course, but not all require an internship in order to graduate. Make sure to complete as many internships in your program as possible; not only are you getting academic credit for it toward graduation, but you’re also getting real-world practical and professional work experience. And to top it off, in your areas of interest that you can list on your resume. By the time you graduate, it will look like you already have a year or two of professional work experience under your belt. Making it easy to land that first job.
Pro tip on Hacks for College Students: Become a Resident Assistant
Not only is this a great way to develop leadership and administrative skills, but on most college campuses they provide a room and board stipend. Plus a single room to resident assistants. It’s a great way to save a little money as well as make a positive impact in your community.
Choose the Right Residence Hall
Being in the right residence hall can make or break your college experience; some residences are known for being ‘party dorms’. Meanwhile others are better fits for more academically-minded students who want a quiet or alcohol-free environment. Not all housing is created equal either; you could be assigned to a 300-year-old dormitory with loud radiators and paper-thin walls. On the other hand, a more modern facility with central air, private study rooms, and Lightning One laundry machines. Make sure to do your campus research so that you’re living with people you’ll get along with and share your values and interests.