One of the truly beneficial aspects of being a Jaycee is the interaction and friendships you develop with all different types of individuals. As the premier organization for the professional and personal development of young people between 18 and 40, many Jaycees may be active students or going back to school after a break of some length. The experience can be intimidating, especially for those students who are starting a new program of study, or returning to what will be a different-looking classroom after being away from the school atmosphere for even just a few years. Whether you’re in a traditional academic setting, earning your Bachelors, Masters, or Ph.D., enrolled in a vocational-style training program, or completing continuous education credits for your current work assignment, there’s a few easy ideas to keep in mind that will help you start the semester on a positive note, and let you focus on getting the most out of your education.
Utilize new technology. From the classrooms to student services to available resources, technology plays a huge role in allowing students to access information and assistance that can be crucial in tasks from researching a paper to registering for classes. Almost all educational institutions will have an online account for every student. If you’ve never used one before, spend some time checking it out. You will most likely be able to view all aspects of your account (financial, registration, classes, etc.), and have the opportunity to learn more about how technology has changed for both the student and the administration in the education field.
Be pro-active regarding funding. According to FinAid.org, the average masters degree will cost between $30,000 – $120,000, depending on the program and university. While most post-secondary institutions do offer some type of scholarship, the competition is very high for limited resources. There are loans and grants available from State and Federal programs, but the cost of repayment can be significant, especially for individuals with children and significant expenses such as homes. The best strategy is to find a mix of resources that concentrates the majority of your efforts on grants and scholarships, with loans as a last resort. Use online resources to quickly narrow your searches – there’s a lot of junk out there. Try this link from U.S. News and World Report for some good strategies.
Get involved in school activities. Find at least one club, organization, group, or team that you would like to be a part of. Universities and other educational institutions are a great place to be exposed to politicians, journalists, economists, doctors, and subject matter experts from almost every field possible. By getting involved beyond the classroom setting, you gain insight and knowledge into new areas and individuals that will help you in your personal and professional lives. As you probably learned from your local Jaycee chapter (and yes, you can certainly recruit new members from class!), networking has tremendous benefits, in this case, most probably inside and outside of class.
The fall semester will be here quicker than you realize. As you close your summer with some great memories, be prepared as a student to make some new ones. Whether coming back to school for a new program or moving towards completion of your current one, make this semester the one where you get involved and make the most out of your educational investment. Then tell us what you’re doing. We love suggestions. Share yours on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Your fellow students will appreciate your suggestions and words of encouragement.