More than 3/4 of college graduates report that they wish they had done something different in college to have increased their success in the real world. Following are three simple things you can do that a lot of college students overlook while they are at college.
1) Find 1-2 Mentors: Mentors are great for lots of reasons, which I've outlined in other posts. As you approach college, it's quality over quantity. After you graduate, you probably aren't going to need 99% of the actual information you studied in college nor 99% of the teachers to support. What you will likely need, is 1 campus professor to write you a recommendation, or connect you to their own and the school's networks sometime after college. Rather than spending time trying to cultivate 100 relationships with professors and winding up with none of much depth, work to build 2 deep, meaningful relationships with professors at your school. While you will likely only need one at any given time, the world's a crazy place and it's always good to have a backup.
2) Choose a Major with a Purpose: The number one thing college students report wishing they had done differently was to have chosen a major that better translated to success in the real world. They didn't say what majore they were disappointed with or which one they would have chosen, and I think there is merit in pretty much all the options - depending on your goals. As you choose your academic major, make sure to ask what those majors end up doing, who they compete with, and how they usually size up.
3) Intern Somewhere: College graduates who completed a summer internships of any sort report nearly twice the preparedness for their careers as college graduates who did not. Even though the vast majority of internships only allow you to do the simple, low-level things an intern can do, being around the real system of a working company gives you an understanding you can't get from reading a book or taking a class.
And have a hell of a lot of fun. But I didn't have to tell you that - you're in college.
- John Murdock, The Young Professional