Student to Alumnus: How Do I Give Back Right Out of School?

Written by: Katie Fox

Every year, colleges graduate thousands of qualified individuals in hundreds of majors, not to mention the graduate, professional and doctoral degrees. Universities depend on their alumni network to get their graduates prepared enough for the real world and help them network for good jobs and strong connections in new cities.

So as a student, you have been reaping the benefits of your school’s alumni network (even if you didn’t know it) and it’s about time to become part of that group. What do you do? Everyone’s first thought is, “Oh, now they’re going to ask for my hard earned money. I just gave you four years worth of tuition!” Well that’s just not true. Your alumni association wants very diverse things from the alumni network and giving back doesn’t have to be a financial endeavor.

You’re probably wondering how your school can benefit from your “alumni-ship,” if you will. Just to prove to you that it’s true, here’s a list of a few ways you can help your school, future graduates and other alumni.

  1. Give Your Time

There aren’t enough hours in the day, right? Wrong. Many graduates struggle to make the adjustment to working life right after college, but once you’re set, it’s time to take a chunk of spare time and show your alma mater some love. Great ways to do this are emailing your old professors, chairpersons, administrators or even the alumni association and offering time. Many students are looking to connect with graduates to ask questions about their field or career and that quick email could turn a student’s life around. If you’re around campus, there are always networking events and career fairs or individual visits to attend as well. Eventually, you could find yourself helping your major’s college or the alumni association on campus initiatives!

  1. Give Your Advice

This goes hand in hand with time. Students want to know what it’s like out there. They want to know their sweat and tears and hardcore studying will pay off. They want to know that people are going to be successful in their desired field. Things like job shadowing and helpful phone calls are great steps in becoming an active alum.

  1. Spread the Word

Be proud of your degree and tell people about it! The more your school’s name is out there in a positive way, the better. It’s like a brand name; you want people to recognize it. A great way to show off your school and education is to be a fantastic worker! Employers want educated a dedicated workers, and they will look to your school to find them if you exemplify that. Prospective students will then want to go to your school because employers are recruiting there and great alumni (like yourself) are helping out.

There are a lot of ways to be a great alumnus/a, but being active and staying in touch are the two best things you can do. By the way, congratulations on finishing your degree!

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