If you find yourself lost in the enormity of college, don’t fret. Many college students don’t realize how many free resources are available to them once they’ve registered for classes. Whether you have questions about scholarships, need help deciding on a major, or just need someone to talk to, your college campus likely has a service to help. Check out your college website or contact the student services office to learn more about resources such as:
Determining how you’ll pay for your education is an important step as you plan for college. After you’re admitted, the school financial aid office can provide information about federal and private student aid options specific to your school. This includes money management advice and loan planning. You’ll also find deadlines for submitting applications for student aid and scholarships, and a list of available lenders for private student loans. Much of this information, including types of financial aid offered, forms and applications, may also be available on your school’s website within the financial aid section.
Not sure yet what path of study to pursue? That’s where academic advisors come in. Once you’re admitted to school, you’re assigned an advisor. Your advisor can help you assess your strengths, interests and goals, so you are on firm footing as you navigate the route to graduation. By beginning this process early, you’ll chart a course to academic success that will save you expensive detours later on. So, make sure you set an appointment first thing—to start your college career off on the right foot.
College is no walk in the park, so it isn’t surprising that students struggle with conquering certain subjects. Most schools have free tutoring resources available to help, so take advantage of them! Some campuses may provide course-specific tutoring, while others offer general seminars that teach effective study habits, test-taking, and tricks for getting the most out of your reading. Look into what resources are available to you—whether it’s one-on-one sessions or group discussions, success in college depends a great deal on your willingness to seek guidance when needed.
Few times in life are more mentally and emotionally challenging than the transition into college. Most students have left friends and familiar surroundings to venture into the unknown, and the strain often shows in the form of stress, anxiety, and even depression. To assist students with the difficulties of life, many colleges offer health services. These may include free or discounted counseling, crisis hotlines to help students struggling with suicidal thoughts or who have been sexually assaulted, and student health plans. Contact your student services center to learn what resources are available at your school.
Most college students won’t understand the value of making the right connections until after they graduate and start job-hunting. Unfortunately, many of the best networking opportunities are happening right now—in school.
Take advantage of every chance you get to meet people in your chosen field. Attend career fairs, join student organizations, delve into experiential learning opportunities, and introduce yourself to professors and department heads. Seek a mentor who is successful in your line of work, and prove your worth through volunteer work or attending professional conferences. The best connections are created through working toward common objectives, so make the most of internships, in-class group projects, and even shared causes on social media. These connections will pay in dividends as you look for a job, not to mention provide you an invaluable support group throughout your life.
Let’s be honest—nobody likes rushing to campus with minutes until class starts, only to spend 20 minutes looking for a parking spot. Parking on large college campuses is notoriously crowded and complicated, not to mention pricey. That’s why it’s a good idea to look into your college’s public transportation offerings before school begins.
Does your school offer free campus shuttles to students and faculty? Or, do they partner with local transportation providers to allow students free access to buses and trains? These resources can be lifesavers… and not just for the money you’ll save. Riding public transportation to and from school is a great way to help the environment, while also giving you scheduled time each day to work on your studies.
Arguably one of the most important services your college offers, career services provides students critical resources needed to choose and prepare for a career. Your college’s career services office can provide:
- Internship and job opportunities in and outside of college
- Loan planning based on estimated future earnings
- Guidance on making yourself more marketable to employers
- Career direction (including identifying and redefining career goals)
- Mentors and networking opportunities
- Workshops and resources on resumes, cover letters, and interviews
… and so much more. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment with a career counselor. The skills and resources you’ll gain will impact the course of your academic and professional career.