College is an exciting time, but it can be hectic. Between classes, working, and spending time with friends, you may just miss out on great opportunities that are only available to you while you’re in school. Here are ten not to miss:
Photo by: Sean MacEntee
Free Things for College Students
- Career Center:
From the moment you step on campus, you should be visiting the career center if available to you. From the start, they can help you start building a portfolio or guide you towards actions you should be taking now to help find a job after graduation. They can recommend courses to take, skills you may need based on your intended profession, and other tips like pursuing volunteering or a certain extracurricular activity to make you more marketable upon graduation. Some centers may offer career guidance and help you choose the right career path if you’re unsure and explore possible majors and career options. And once it comes time to start that job search after graduation, college career centers can offer assistance with writing a resume, interviewing, share valuable advice, host job fairs, and even help you set up interviews and find jobs.
- Student Discounts:
Simply showing your student ID card can get you reduced admission to movie theatres, museums, dining places, amusement parks, sporting events, concerts, other ticketed events, and many other places. You can also score discounts at bars, restaurants, and local businesses around your school including salons, car shops, and more. Being a student also means you’ll probably qualify for a reduced membership to professional organizations that can offer you access to networking opportunities, a variety of events, professional journals, scholarship opportunities, and an added credential on your resume. Even retail stores offer discounts just for students like Apple and J. Crew.
- Health Center:
An on-campus health clinic can offer affordable medical treatment, various screenings, and even reduced prescriptions. Health centers may also offer free or reduced vaccinations, health talks, free or reduced contraceptives, or free medical advice.
- Free Entertainment:
Theatres, concerts, book signings, and dance performances are just a few of the entertaining events you can find at your school. Throw on your school gear, and check out various sporting events. Chances are there are also speakers, presentations, art exhibits, and all types of different events sponsored by clubs and the college. Each department may offer its own type of entertainment – the fashion department can offer shows and demonstrations, a culinary arts major may offer cooking demonstrations, and a broadcast journalism department can offer a free news show or newspapers. Check out any community boards where items may be posted. You can also check out your school’s event calendar to see what is going on and when.
Teachers have a lot more to offer than just the ability to lecture their class and to pass or fail you. They can offer you advice on what courses you should take and your future career. They can help you get the most out of the class and your education by recommending certain experiences, recommended reading, or more. If you have a good relationship with them, they can write you a letter of recommendation, and it can even lead to future networking, internship, and career opportunities. Your teacher is a great person to recommend a tutor if you’re struggling with a subject as well.
- Free Food:
There is always something going on around campus that offers free food or drink for students. Events and meetings sponsored by clubs or organizations generally offer snacks since they are trying to tempt hungry college students to attend. If you live in the dorms, many times there are sponsored events where food is included. To find out more about club meetings, stop by any student activities office or browse through the school’s paper.
- Athletic Center:
Many colleges offer a gym or recreation center that has workout equipment, courts to play team sports, and can even offer different exercise classes. Some of these facilities offer free sports teams, host competitions of a variety of sporting events, have health and nutrition talks, and more. If your college gym hires students majoring in health related fields, it may a good place to get tips on how to work out properly or other great advice.
- Services for Students:
The types of services vary in each college, but you can find care for your children while you’re in class, free bus services around campus, and free counseling for you and your family. One common service at most schools is having access to computer labs on campus. Instead of buying a computer and paying for internet use every month, use these computers instead. If your college campus is in a city or somewhere near public transportation, you may get a reduced rate on a bus pass.
- The Library:
Instead of spending way too much on buying all of your textbooks, check to see if they are available at the library first. Besides thousands of books, magazines, and newspapers, your library has access to medical, law, and other databases that you usually would have to pay for. You may also be able to borrow movies at no cost. Just like other departments, the library may host book signings, speakers, or other entertainment.
- Finance Office:
They aren’t just there to drain your wallet. Schedule an appointment with a finance advisor. The student finance department at your school can help you find grants, search for scholarships, find the best payment options for you, and help you understand your student loans. It’s a great resource for asking tips for lowering costs and reducing debt. They can also offer valuable information on filling out taxes and help you find on campus employment. Some college finance departments may offer presentations and programs on budgeting, saving money, and other financial topics.
What are some other services, places, and things to take advantage of while you are a college student? What are some restaurants, stores, or other places that offer discounts for students?