By Samantha Mallett
College is a time where students discover themselves and start to make connections with people that will last a lifetime through networking. Networking is making connections with others that can potentially help you access other beneficial resources you need to succeed in life.
To learn more about how to successfully network in college, I interviewed Kailyn Bates, a Senior at Bradley University and Dr. Shannon Williams, Assistant Director of TRiO at DePaul University. Here are some of their top recommendations for college students.
1. Take advantage of the resources available on your campus. Bates found that connecting with her advisors, the career center, and financial aid office were most useful because they often considered her first when opportunities for professional development or scholarships were available. For more advice on financial aid, you can visit your school’s TRiO office for additional resources.
2. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Many students wait until their junior or senior years to start networking, but it is best to start immediately. Dr. Shannon stated, “We cannot do things alone and the more supportive figures we have in our lives, and the more knowledge we have access to, the more that we can accomplish our goals with the time that we have!”
3. Sometimes networking is much easier than it seems. According to an Aberdeen Group report, 73% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 landed a job through a social network. Numerous job opportunities and scholarships are posted to apps such as Twitter and Facebook for students to apply for, but make sure that your profile is appropriate and professional!
4. Let yourself be known and follow up! Bates recommends that students get a business card with their phone number, email, college, major, and expected graduation date to pass out to others. Dr. Williams advised, “Do not be afraid to ask questions, reach out, and seek out assistance – that is what these offices and staff/faculty are there for … the more you know, the sooner you will have access to the information needed to succeed and move forward!”
Remember, it is never too early to network and you never know when you might encounter someone that could help you.