Make the Most of Your College Resources

I often tell people that by the time I was a senior in college, I had finally figured out the system. That's right, it took me three whole years to understand the amazing resources available on a campus. But by that time, it was almost over. I even asked my mom, "Can I please stay one more year??" Guess what she said. So let me share some of the things that you should be doing as a college student to make the most of your experience. 

1) Check to see if your college has a fellowships adviser or fellowships office. My college had an amazing program in which students had to apply to work with the fellowships office. You had to show that you were serious about doing the work involved to get an award. Most campuses have at least a fellowship adviser available to consult with students. 

2) Meet with as many faculty about your field of interest as possible. Say you want to apply for a scholarship or even just do an independent project, start asking faculty if they can meet with you to brainstorm ideas. Even if you've never met them before, check through the directory and feel free to contact them. Who knows, they might even have some funding to spend on a student researcher. One of my best friends in grad school went to India on her faculty adviser's dime. 

3) Look through your school's list of awards. Oftentimes colleges and universities have awards and small scholarships for which students must either be nominated or apply themselves. If you can apply, go for it. If you need to be nominated, approach your best professor and ask them to do you a favor by suggesting you. Most students don't know these awards are available so they are low-handing fruit. In other words, the selection pool is usually small. 

4) Go to your career counseling office on campus and ask what kinds of scholarships they know about. If you school doesn't have a fellowships office (or even if they do), the career counselors might have some different advice about internship placement or scholarships for post-grads. 

5) Take advantage of sister campus programs. My college was in a consortium with four other colleges, so I could use any of the resources on ANY of these campuses. Amazing. That's 5x the faculty, 5x the libraries, 5x the possible reviewers for essays, 5x the specialists. Many schools have some kind of cross-campus exchange, check it out. Maybe they even have international connections that could help you when you're trying to find a contact for your Fulbright application. 

So many resources, makes me wish I were still in school!!