Insuring Your Tuition Investment
Whether you’re paying out of pocket for college or your tuition is covered through grants or scholarships, college is still a huge personal investment. Just like with most bills, we cringe and pay them when they are due. We never really spend time reading the fine print. But, have you ever looked at your tuition and fee bill to see what things you are paying for? No matter the campus, you’d be surprised about where those little fees go. Even if they are not itemized on the bill, your tuition funds more than just the classes you attend. College tuition pays for resources that are specifically created to support your academic, emotional, financial, physical and professional needs and designed to make college less difficult. If you go to class and go home and never take advantage of other resources– that you pay for–you are wasting your tuition dollars.
Impact on Employment
Not only are you wasting money, you are negatively impacting job potential and salary. You see employers are more eager to hire individuals that have top grades, quality communication, leadership and collaboration skills. Employers also want to see that entry level applicants have a record of dedication to the profession. Many ways to gain this type of experiences are outside of the classroom. Academic experience is important, but engaging in co-curricular activities is the key to competing for jobs and promotions in the real world. Here are 4 ways to make your tuition dollars work for you.
Use the tutorial center.
Repeating a course is like throwing money out of the window. It adds time to your degree. College courses are difficult. That’s why institutions have academic support programs and your tuition supports this service. The average cost of a private tutor is $30 per hour. Imagine what it would cost to get tutoring for all of your classes a few times a week for 4 years.
Tutoring is proven to help increase grades and decrease the likelihood that you would fail a class. Getting a tutor isn’t an indicator of intelligence or ability, but a true desire to be better and to compete. Tutoring can help you get better grades in less time with less stress. Graduates with a 2.5 or higher or more likely to catch the eye of potential employers. A 2.5 GPA means maintaining a C or higher in your courses. Academic support is a way to achieve that goal.
Get involved in clubs and organizations.
Beside GPA, employers look for evidence that you have several soft skills that are critical to workplace success. According to Business Insider, the top skills are leadership, collaboration, communication and time-management. Although it is not impossible to acquire these skills in the classroom, it is more effective to gain them by extra-curricular participation.
When you are in a club or organization, you are essentially running a mini-business, in which you have to utilize every “soft-skill” necessary. You have to work together with your fellow members to carry out goals. You have to organize programs, secure resources, manage a budget, market, recruit, and follow policies and procedures. These are similar things that you would do on the job. Employers understand new graduates won’t have much work experience, so they rely on evidence that you have proven your skills in a real way. Mastering soft skills help you to land jobs qualify for promotions, which boosts your earning power. Not using out of class experience to enhance your resume is like watching your dollars fly out of the window.
Utilize Career Services.
As a mid-career professional, I still need the services of a career coach. While they are valuable, it stings a little to pay their fees. Lucky for college students, you have a whole staff dedicated to your career success. Career services is included in your tuition, so don’t have to pay out of pocket for a coach if you don’t want to. You institution’s career center can help you with your resume, find internships and prepare for job interviews. It’s definitely a valuable service in which you should take advantage. Having your resume and interview polished can make a difference between you and another candidate.
Take Advantage of Counseling Services.
Another service that is not fully appreciated is counseling services. College is tough. It is the most confusing time of your life. Not only are you challenged with academics, you are challenged with the new weight of being an adult and finding your identity. The price of a therapy can average $75 or more per hour. Many institutions provide free counseling services to students. Depression, addictions, and anxiety can have a huge impact on your in class performance. Not using this free service can make the difference of you passing your class or you being placed on academic suspension because of poor grades due to lack of focus and attendance.
Moral of the Story
Many college grads regret never fully utilizing the suite of services our campuses have available. It usually hits us when we have to pay for things like gym memberships, event tickets and trips that were once free and didn’t appreciate while we were students. Always stay abreast of what is offered on your campus and take advantage of your resources. You’ve paid for them and as long as you are a student you have a full right to use them.
Wanna hear more about maximizing your tuition dollars? Listen to Episode 5 of our podcast Woke Wise College Kids!