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Secret to success in college, life is to get involved

POSTED: November 17, 2011 1:00 a.m.

There are some modern misconceptions surrounding one attending university that I would like to address.

First, if one desires to attend college, they only need to do as well on the ACT or SAT as possible. This is an urban legend when concerning oneself with many top universities around the country. It would be wise of any high school student to become as involved in as many extracurricular activities as possible. This could range from clubs, sports, volunteer service or even community involvement. The younger a student starts, the easier it will be to become reconnected after attending a university.

Second, attending a university does not guarantee you a spot in the real world. That is about the largest misconception surrounding being granted a degree in any field. While one is attending a university, it would behoove them to become involved in the same aspect as in high school. Get involved in whatever possible.

At every major university, you will find an almost endless possibility of extracurricular activities to join. This could range from a Greek system, student government associations, volunteering as part of on-campus liaisons to new students, etc.

The most important aspect of any university student is to enjoy one's self, and one of the most efficient ways to do this is to become part of any organization connected through any university. It will help identify ways to network with individuals in and out of the university, through the community and beyond.

Third, the real world is full of surprises for individuals of all degrees. Many entry-level positions out there will simply not hire individuals who have no relevant experience. However, involvement in nonpaid internships, positions held through organizations, community involvement and especially volunteer service are held very highly in the selection process. This shows recruiters that the candidate has proven their self as a worthy hire based off of their chosen responsibilities outside of attending university.

Lastly, sometimes university graduates will find that the ideal job is simply out of reach based on requirements for the position. It is always beneficial to both enter the job market for two years and return for a master's degree, or to find a company willing to pay for more schooling for the same purpose.

Fairly soon we might all see that every desirable job out there is filled by those having nothing less than a masters degree. In turn, this will make it more competitive for the university graduate to acquire work without either proper training prior to graduating or having acquired a masters first.

I hope that this has been helpful to those either seeking entry into university, or those currently seeking their first bachelor's degree. In hindsight, I could only wish to become more involved as I was. However, for those reading this, there is still time to help your family or friends to benefit from this knowledge.

Steven Ellis
Gainesville



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