15 Things College Kids Should Do Now to Be Successful in the Future

Issue 11-13-17   |   Reviewer:   Bob Cohen, MBA


1. Be smart about your Internet presence.

The words "personal brand" might sound a bit intense to many college students. After all, you're just an undergrad. Why worry about that? But in this digital age, cultivating an online presence is more important than ever.

2. Learn how to negotiate now.

It's a good idea to build up your negotiation prowess early on, so you're not blind-sided after graduation.

3. Take a finance class or two.

At many colleges, students are encouraged to branch out in their coursework and explore academic pursuits beyond their focus or major. Now's the time to explore certain courses that won't necessarily be available to you post-college.

4. Stick with things.

Even though college is all about trying on different hats, don't toss away good opportunities just for the sake of novelty-seeking.

5. Don't apply to a ton of internships.

If you're trying to hit a target on a dart board, you're better off throwing a handful of darts, instead of just one, right? That way, you'll have more opportunities to succeed. Well, not really.

6. Do some extra reading.

Putting away one extra title a month is a great way of expanding your knowledge and your world — even beyond the classes you're enrolled in.

7. Start thinking about your finances.

It's never too early to start thinking about your finances or learning how to file your taxes.

8. Call your parents more.

College definitely changes your relationship with your parents. That means it's time to focus on those transitioning relationships.

9. Don't let well-meaning people get in the way of your interests.

Sometimes your family, friends, and mentor may think they're being helpful by giving you advice. But in some cases you'll just end up wasting time that you could have spent discovering what you truly want to do.

10. Realize that mentorship isn't everything.

Most people look for the most influential, highly-placed executives to help them learn and grow. But it's unreasonable to expect your mentor to act as your fairy job-mother — or father.

11. Get your ego — or lack thereof — under control.

If you feel ham-strung by self-doubt, try to adopt a mentality of acting on your goals instead of dwelling upon them. The more you put yourself out there and take risks, the less scary it will be.

12. Learn the rules — and then bend them.

In a formal, structured setting like college, it can be easy to fall into the mindset that always playing by the rules will get you ahead. But the world outside of college doesn't always reward rule-followers.

13. Remember that intelligence doesn't matter as much as you think it does.

Definitely spend your undergraduate years beefing up your brain but don't neglect your emotional intelligence.

14. Make some time to freelance.

Freelancing can help bolster your professional skills and build a network, leaving you in good shape for the inevitable post-college job hunt.

15. Connect with your professors.

Professors aren't just there to hand out grades. They can be valuable additions to your network, too.

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