You’ve worked hard through college. You’ve grown to love the community, the teachers and the setting. Now that you are moving toward a professional career, you can’t help but wonder what steps you can take to help give back to your school. As a college graduate, it’s important to realize there are plenty of small and larger steps you can take to help support and build your college — even if you do not have deep pockets to make it happen.
The Benefits of Mentoring
Perhaps the best way to give back to your college is through the process of mentoring. Many colleges offer these programs already, but even if a formal mentorship program among students and alumni isn’t present, you can still get involved in this manner. Mentorship and guidance to younger students from a graduate can be invaluable. Imagine those late nights, difficult projects and instances when you almost gave up. As Youth.gov notes, mentoring can help to increase graduation rates, improve interpersonal skills and enhance self-esteem. While the organization focuses on high school mentoring programs, the same applies at the college level.
Build Internship Opportunities
Many of today’s colleges have moved away from internships — often times due to a loss of funding or a lack of interest from linked businesses. As you step into the world of business, you may have wished you had the opportunity to intern. In one study conducted at Southwestern University, those students who participated in an internship were 13 percent more likely to find full-time employment out of college. How can you help?
Now that you are working within the business world, collaborate with your employer to establish an intern program with your school. You may already have the connections with your school’s department head to make such a relationship possible. This is perhaps one of the most impactful ways you can give back to both your school and to your new employer.
Donate Your Time
While you may not have a great deal of money on hand to put into a scholarship fund or to support an annual drive, you may have time. Often, college professors need students who are in the working world to step back and offer insight and guidance to them. For example, you’ve been involved in the working world for the last year after graduating college. You’ve learned what your industry’s needs are from new hires. Perhaps there are areas you lacked education and training, and that could have helped you secure a position.
In our rapidly changing world, it is growing in importance that schools offer the highest level of communication and skill training. However, this is also a fast-paced, ever-changing world. That means curriculum often lags real-world needs. By donating your time, even via Skype, to your college professors, you can provide them with more industry knowledge and insight. This is invaluable to many schools.
Be a Vocal Supporter
Chances are good you will come upon more than one student wondering where to go to school in your lifetime. Believe it or not, simply offering recommendations about your school can make all of the difference. Stay in touch with your school’s professors and discuss the following:
What students are looking for in a school today
- What the program needs to lure new students
- New opportunities and curriculum components that could enhance a student’s education
- What hold-ups or limitations students have about the school
At the same time, be vocal enough to offer insight to students as well. Can you help students find a professor to speak to about the career path they hope to take? Is it possible to offer some insight to a local high school guidance counselor who may not be recommending the college?
You want to give back and you should. While donations of funds can help, often times these vocal communications are far more valuable. What steps are you taking to interact with the school that gave you the basis of your career and future
Alison Blankenship works at TextbookRush. TextbookRush offers students the option to rent and sell textbooks online.