If you’re starting college this year, you are probably wondering how to get the most out of the next few weeks. Whether you are a new student, or planning ahead for next year, we have a few tips on how to carve yourself a lasting place on campus.
Create a network before you arrive:
You might worry it will be tricky to make friends before you get to campus, but it isn’t as hard as you think. Social media is an easy way to chat with connections you make at Open House events, and you can use it to expand your network even further. Your school doesn’t just want likes on their social media, they want you to talk to them, and to each other—so check in from time to time and be sure to engage. If you know the answer to a question, or want advice, don’t be shy about speaking up. Not only could it get you noticed at your new school (at Hult some of our most engaged new students become social media ambassadors), but you might start a conversation that leads to friendships.
Welcome Week, Fresher’s Week or Orientation—whatever your school calls it, there is a reason everyone talks about it, and it’s not just the parties. Welcome Week is when you will make friends for life, tons of memories, and have the opportunity to meet students you might not see during the rest of your degree—especially if you are on a big campus. Resist the temptation to do the same thing as your roommate, and push yourself to go to activities where you can create new connections, meet students of a different nationality, and share your interests with likeminded people. Don’t be afraid to strike out on your own.
Don’t forget to think long term during Welcome Week either. Talk to the students working as Welcome Week leaders about what they learnt from their first year—they are there to help you, and are usually picked because they are well known around campus. They will also remember exactly how it feels to be in your position, so should be able to share some good tips about getting involved.
Clubs and societies:
Nearly every school holds a clubs and societies fair early on in the semester, and it is a must-attend event if you’re looking to do more on campus. Not only do clubs and societies help to boost your resumé when you graduate, but being active in a campus club is one of the best ways to get involved with college life.
We know one of the first clubs you are going to look for is DECA—but don’t pass up the chance to try other things too, no matter how overcrowded they might make your schedule look initially. You can always cut back when you need the time for your studies.
So far we’ve emphasized the social ways you can get involved on campus – but your academic skills are just as important in making your mark. Make sure that you attend any opportunities to meet the faculty when your classes start, as these events can be the best way to find out more about the department you’ll spend most of your time in. You’ll also get a better idea of who is in a position to help you, or answer questions while you learn how to navigate your school.
Getting to know the Deans and talking to your professors can also pay dividends later on in your degree. It is always good to be one of the students who comes to mind when opportunities to volunteer or participate come up, as these will really help to showcase your skills and involvement after graduation. It can also be helpful to have a friendly face to ask when you need a supervisor for any projects you undertake, or want to ask for career advice in your field.
Do you have any tips or questions for students starting college over the next few weeks? Keep us posted with your stories!