How to Network in College

College students networking

First-year students often share the concern of how to be successful in college. Success can be defined in many ways. Your focus throughout college can be a balance of your grades and academics and social endeavors like making business contacts, your performance on the sports field, and getting involved in the community. No matter what your goals are, networking is integral to accomplishing them. Learn how networking can help you succeed even while you are in college.

How Networking Contributes to Success in College

Your life is defined, in part, by the people you surround yourself with. Your interactions with others shape your life. This is because all interactions are potentially enriching experiences that can help you see the world from new perspectives. No matter what subject you are studying, you reap immediate benefits from interactions with fellow students and faculty from all backgrounds and walks of life.

Take the time to chat with students seated near you for a few minutes before class begins. Ask about their backgrounds, interests and aspirations. Make plans to connect over a cup of coffee or consider forming a study group for the class. The connections you make now have the potential to last a lifetime.

Why You Should Visit Career Resources Soon

Many students wait until they are close to graduation before visiting their school’s career resources office. These schools offer career support. For example, GCU’s Academic and Career Excellence (ACE) has resources that help students get internships or help plan for the future. Students often believe that the career resources office is primarily intended to help students find jobs after graduation. While that is indeed one of its major functions, a well-established career resources department can help you with much more. In fact, it is recommended that you explore career resources during your first year of college.

The career resources staff can help you start networking effectively. They can provide general career advice and connect you to networking opportunities. These include events, student organizations and alumni associations. When you are ready to pursue an internship, you should revisit the career services office to check out the available opportunities.

How to Network With Your Professors

It is always a good idea to include your professors in your network. They are the people who can provide letters of reference and introductions to contacts in their fields. One of the best ways to begin networking with professors is simply to be actively engaged in class. Sit near the front, participate in class discussions and ask questions.

You should also take advantage of office hours. Visit your professors during office hours to ask follow-up questions and request guidance. For example, you might have been fascinated by something you heard during the class discussion or read in the course material. Ask your professor to recommend further reading.

How Social Media Can Contribute to Success in College and Beyond

Even though you are not yet a professional, it is important to present a professional appearance. This applies specifically to your social media accounts. By showing others that you take your studies and your future seriously, you encourage them to send opportunities your way. You may want to consider starting new social media accounts for college and beyond, including a LinkedIn profile. In addition, set strict privacy limits on your old accounts to prevent new connections from seeing any posts that might depict you in a negative light.

Moving forward, maintain a professional tone on your new social media accounts. Avoid posting anything potentially controversial. Instead, portray yourself as an actively engaged student and involved community member.

How to Make Meaningful Connections With Your Peers

A college campus is always bustling with activity. You may casually meet a dozen or more new people every day. However, do not mistake casual acquaintances for true connections in your network. For true networking with your peers, you will need to make meaningful connections with them.

Cultivate strong working relationships with your peers by asking thoughtful questions and showing that you are interested in what they have to say. Invite them to join a campus club with you or to attend an event, such as a play or a worship service. Shared experiences can build strong connections.

Why Internships Are Important

College students are often advised to seek out internship opportunities, with good reason. Internships are one of the most effective ways to build a professional network and to encourage job offers after graduation. However, this is only true if you make a positive impression. Show up early for each shift, take the time to get to know people in the office and ask meaningful questions. By taking these steps, and by exhibiting a strong work ethic, you will increase your chances of getting a permanent job offer or at least an excellent letter of reference.

At Grand Canyon University, the success of our students during and after college is our top priority. You will find our campus in Phoenix to be an academic oasis with many opportunities for networking, including sports and campus clubs as well as our career resources office, Academic and Career Excellence. Click on the Request Info button at the top of your screen to learn more about joining our degree programs

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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