Four Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your College Education by Craig Middleton

Apple and Books

Four Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your College Education by Craig Middleton offers advice that all high school students should consider. It’s also good for people wishing to change to a career that requires some college. I would add that you should also realize that learning doesn’t end with graduation. In a sense, learning just starts then so do your best to see yourself as a life-long learner.


  • Some people think that you have to go to one of the best universities to get a good education or that your success depends on starting college right out of high school. Neither of these perceptions is accurate. No matter where you go or when you start, you get out of your college education what you put into it. (Doug: That’s true for life in general.) Your college years are yours to do with what you will, but here are some ideas of how you can make the most of the time, energy, and money that you invest in your education.

1. Set Your Own Timetable

  • College degrees are often categorized by the estimated time that it takes to complete them, e.g., two-year degrees or four-year degrees. Do not let this intimidate you or pressure you to finish within a particular time frame. It’s actually a rarity for most students to finish a bachelor’s degree in four years, and there are people who take the better part of a decade to finish. This occurs for a number of reasons. Some are nontraditional students who already work a full-time job and have to fit classes around their current work schedule. Others have trouble obtaining financial aid so they can only take a few classes per semester, or else they change majors and have to take all new prerequisites. What works for most students does not necessarily work for everyone. You should set a timetable that works for you. For example, work at your own pace online college courses may fit better work at your own pace online college courses may fit better into your existing lifestyle.

2. Make Connections With Professors and Other Students

  • The professors that teach your classes schedule time specifically to make themselves available to help students who are struggling with the course material. If you are having difficulty, you should take advantage of this opportunity for some one-on-one instruction. However, it is not only students who are struggling who should make an effort to connect with professors. Finding a mentor, that is, someone who can help guide you along your chosen path is important not only as a student but once you embark on a career. A professor can be an excellent mentor, so you should make some effort to get to know them and decide who would most benefit you with professional knowledge, wisdom, and guidance.
  • The friends you make in college may be the closest and most faithful you will ever make in your entire life. Although it can be difficult, especially if you are an introvert, put in the effort to get to know some of your classmates. Not only will this benefit you socially, but the friends you make now may later be part of your network that helps you find the job of your dreams. (Doug: While Greek life may not be right for some, it can be a big benefit in terms of forming a network of friends who can add value to your life. It worked for me. Just avoid the houses that feature a regular binge drinking and treating women as objects.)

3. Do Not Overthink Your Choice of Major

  • Most people choose a major that they think will provide them with the necessary skills for their chosen career path. However, this may be less important than you think. Most career opportunities, including those that involve post-graduate studies, only require a bachelor’s degree as a prerequisite. The specific field of study is often a secondary consideration.
  • Therefore, when you’re choosing your major, think less about your future career prospects and more about playing to your strengths. In other words, choose a field of study that excites and energizes you. This will provide the intrinsic motivation you require to complete your degree. Above all else, choose the major that you want to study. Do not give in to pressure from parents to pursue a major you’re not interested in because they think it will lead to a higher paying job.

4. Take Advantage of Unique Opportunities

  • There are opportunities that are generally only available to college students, such as research assistantships, internships, and study abroad. Take advantage of these while you can. Not only can they help you on your career path, but they also broaden your horizons in immeasurable ways. (Doug: Keep in mind that internships and the like are more abundant and diverse in large urban areas. My daughter went to college in New York City and had two high-quality internships.) Most of all, remember that the more you put into your college education, the more you get out of it. Therefore, try to arrange your program so that you can put in as much as you can without burning out.

Craig Middleton

  • Craig is a New York City-based retired business consultant, who is an expert in education and cultural trends. He has a Masters of Business Administration and a Masters in Education from St. Johns and loves sharing his knowledge on the side through his writing. If you have any questions or comments you can direct them to Craig at
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