Four Ways to Get the Most Out of Your College Experience

Now as a senior at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, I’ve come to reflect on where I started and what I learned. The college experience is truly what you make it. It is up to each student to take the initiative to set goals and achieve them.
I remember attending my college orientation in June 2011, and feeling extremely excited to be surrounded by so many driven young people. The next five years would present numerous opportunities. With the proper work ethic and hunger to succeed, I knew I could accomplish whatever I put my mind to. This quote always stuck with me: “The things that come to those who wait may be the things left by those that got there first.”Matt Blog Collage
Throughout my time at school, I found that along with opportunity to excel come chances to take risks, learn new things, and get ahead. Through my experience I was able to pick up a few beneficial tips to help other students get ahead, whatever their major or focus.


Join a student organization.

Student organizations are so valuable. Whether you’re joining a fraternity/sorority, ethnic interest or young professionals group like the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), these student organizations teach valuable networking and communication skills. The relationships established in student organizations could last a lifetime if maintained. Especially today, working relationships are so beneficial. The peer you served alongside with on a student organization board could be the crucial connection you need later for your next job position.

Get to know your professors.

Professors love it when students show hunger and interest in the subject material. Office hours allow the perfect opportunity to build a relationship with a professor and learn even more about the subject/career field. It shows that you care about your studies and your future. Professors are more apt to extend deadlines, lend extra help and connect you to people in the industry if they understand your passion. Plus, professors are often the best choice for recent graduates to list as credible references on your résumé.

Apply for scholarships.

College isn’t cheap and it’s important to keep the debt ceiling low. Applying for scholarships pays off those loans and tuition bills faster. Also, employers love seeing scholarship awards under your list of achievements in a portfolio. It shows ambition and a strong work ethic. Check with your college or university’s financial aid office for a complete listing of possible scholarship opportunities.


College rule of thumb: Internships lead to jobs. Graduates need some relevant work experience to complement a degree. Thankfully, many colleges/universities have an internship requirement in order to graduate.
Especially with many companies now offering paid internships, there is no reason for any student to leave college without internship experience under their belt. Internships are a great way for you to put the skills you learn in the classroom to work in a real world environment.



Stephanie Forté is a storyteller, connector, and problem-solver inspired by the great outdoors and energized by the transformation of people, communities, and brands. She is a longtime advocate for public lands, outdoor recreation, and women’s health.

She spotlights people and organizations creating meaningful change in her writing and award-winning PR strategies. Stephanie also mines her life for stories, and her published essays have helped others navigate challenges and to feel less alone.

Stephanie Forte