Last week, we talked about why we believe college is worth the investment. College is still your best bet to find a well-paying job in your desired field, and it also provides a valuable life experience for most students. But that doesn’t mean you should enroll in any old school without careful thought about making the most out of college and ensuring a great payoff post-graduation.
College provides an opportunity to increase your own worth, but you have to balance that with the amount of money that you are putting in. So here are our tips on how to strike that balance and come out of your four years (bonus tip – graduate within four years! Or even fewer, if you can manage it) with great memories, a good job, and minimal debt.
Tips on Making the Most out of College
Work hard! Does this seem obvious? Well, it bears repeating. Even if you get into a great school with a ton of financial aid, it is still on you to make decisions that will lead to success post-college. Too many students feel like the pressure is off once they arrive on campus, so they spend the first year partying, sleeping in, and enjoying the dining hall. You can enjoy your newfound freedom while still putting in the time and effort necessary to maintain a great GPA and build the foundations for success.
Pick the Right Major. The right major is obviously a subjective choice. But do take into account what your financial and career goals are post-college. In other words, definitely go for that English degree if you want to teach high school English and are comfortable with the salary that goes with that. But if you are just picking a liberal arts major because you like the class times or think it will give you more time to hang with your friends, you might be disappointed when you can’t land that job in finance!
Go for Financial Aid over Prestige. We discussed this in our post on Ivy League schools. As we said there, we recommend taking a good financial aid package over a good name any day.
Do Your Research. You can look at several different resources to assess college outcomes – that is, do students get good jobs coming out of a particular school? Check out College Scorecard and this link that tells you how to best put it to use.
Stay Engaged. Students who are engaged in college are more likely to be engaged in their careers – a predictor of financial as well as emotional health. This goes back to the adage that what you do in college matters more than where you go to college. So sign up for clubs, do those extracurricular activities, pursue interesting internships, and take your professors out for coffee every now and then.
If you have any questions about these tips, we are always happy to hear from you, and consider hiring our college planners to help you work through these questions and more. You can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-216-2222.