8 College And Career Tips For Freshman
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Student Life

8 Career Planning Tips College Freshman Need To Hear

You may not realize it, but these four years fly by and you'd better be prepared for it from the start.


College is intimidating. It's terrifying. From your parent's leaving you for the first time, to having to navigate your way through school and social life. Although college is about new experiences, it's important to know that this is literally the time you are paying for to prep you for your life outside of college. This time is about learning the skills necessary for the career, which you may or may not have chosen by now, that you will hopefully want and spend the rest of your life working. It will be fun and it will be hard.

Don't be afraid to take some advice from people who have already gone through it or people who are still in it. As a second-year, I already have some knowledge that I wish someone would've taken thirty seconds out of their day to let me in on. Or that I was smart enough to google or stumble across an article telling me some advice. Regardless, college is meant to prepare you, so don't let any opportunity slip through your fingers.

1. Meet with your academic advisor

Your college should have you meet with your advisor your freshman year to, hopefully, sketch out a four year plan. As a student, you should make an effort to visit your advisor whenever you're signing up for classes, thinking about internships, or even planning for a job that you are thinking about. Your advisor will know if your college has changed the class requirement for your major, will know many of the internships that others before you have taken and had a positive time at, and may also have previous students or coworkers with connections to your desired place of work.

2. Take class seriously

You've probably hear this plenty enough, but seriously, go to your classes and pay attention in them. I did the math for the cost of classes in my university, the University of Iowa. Only considering the average in-state annual tuition of $7,128, you are paying roughly $222 per week of class. If you're taking 5 classes, you are paying almost $45 per week per class. Don't even dream about missing one.

3. Go to office hours

Going to office hours is a great thing and every college is different with how popular office hours are. I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to put in the time to visit your TA or professor to build those relationships and demonstrate a clear, concise understanding of the topics being discussed in classes and readings. I promise your professor will keep your visits in mind while grading assignments or realizing that you've missed class; they're almost always very forgiving and may let some things slide.

4. Apply for scholarships

Applying for scholarships isn't something you do only in high school. Apply for scholarships throughout your entire college career is a very useful and convenient way to save money and hopefully pull you out of the black hole named student debt. Be sure to check out scholarships catered specifically for your major and/or career choice.

5. Plan out internships - yes, multiple 

It's never too early to start an internship! Summer after freshman year of college is an ideal way to get your foot in the door of your career and set yourself up slightly ahead of your peers. Say you're an English major who got an internship with a local magazine or newspaper. When you're applying to be the Editor-in-Chief of your college newspaper, having that internship on your resume is sure to set you apart from all the others.

6. Join student organizations

Employers love to see heavy levels of involvement within your community! It's even better when your student organization lines up with your life goals, such as aspiring politicians participating in student government. But if it doesn't match, go ahead and participate in student organizations anyways to show willingness to get involved in any way you can with your campus.

7. Network

Joining student organizations, visiting office hours, and taking up internships are all great ways to network. Be sure you're always putting your best professional self out there in business and media settings. Also, don't turn a blind eye to making some friends who are in your major--if you're kind and helpful to them now, they may be willing to put in a positive word for you if they're somewhere you want to be.

8. Possibly graduate early

College is money and don't think that you have to wait all four years to graduate. Get a couple steps ahead in your life and be that person whose the young and successful one we all envy. That being said, also take it slow enough to actually enjoy your college years. That's one thing I've learned: if you can graduate in two, or maybe two and a half, don't be afraid to push it to three it means building your resume up with experiences.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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