Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What Resources Should I Look for on Campus?

By: Justine D’Souza
Contributing Author

Selecting the best university requires significant research. While it’s important to consider whether a given school has a strong reputation and affordable tuition, it’s equally important to consider what campus resources the school offers because those resources can make a difference in both your academic success and future career.

When looking into schools, make sure the following resources are active and accessible:

Career Services: This resource can help you find internships, choose a major, learn about job applications, practice for interviews, and navigate career fairs. Your school’s career office should offer one-on-one coaching sessions, group events, and print materials for you to take and/or borrow at any point in your program’s duration. 

Alumni Networks: Networking is crucial to remaining competitive in any job market. Schools with strong alumni connections give students advantages in the job-seeking process because they provide an automatic network of people who want to help them advance professionally. You can use your school’s alumni network to find a job or even just to learn more about a field.

Strong Department for Your Chosen Major: While a university may have a prestigious name, it should also have a strong department for your given program. Strong departments offer practical courses, career programming, research opportunities, experienced professors, and helpful advisors.

Academic Support Center: Supplemental assistance can help you reach optimal success. For that reason, it’s important to ensure that your school supplies academic support centers among its free resources. Well-equipped academic support centers offer tutoring, technological materials, English language learning initiatives, and extra resources for students with disabilities.

Financial Aid Office: Studying in the United States is expensive. Even if you have scholarships, an office with responsive personnel can help if you have questions or issues with your bills and payment plans. Employees of this office can also explain university policies and work-study options.

International Student Services: Studying abroad is an exciting but potentially challenging experience. An office or center dedicated to international students typically advises on academic and legal issues. It also hosts cultural events, workshops, and a new student orientation to build community among international students and help them with common difficulties.

Public Safety Officers: Your school should foster a safe atmosphere. Public safety officers keep the campus secure, alert the community in case of emergency, respond to complaints, lead relevant trainings, and can even accompany students home if they don’t feel safe walking alone. If you get the chance to visit schools, see if they have blue light systems to dispatch the police with the touch of a button.

How have campus resources helped you during your education? What other services have helped you?

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