Utilizing College for a Successful Career and Financial Freedom

Charles O’Keefe

Student debt is a troubling topic for university students. Around 66% of students in the United Kingdom will walk away from higher education having to pay back borrowed debt. In fact, the total amount of debt accumulated by a single university student on average is around £35,000. As college debt becomes a long-term financial burden, it’s time for students to view education at a university as:

  • A way to attain career success
  • A way to attain financial freedom
  • Ultimately a long-term investment.

Here are the various ways to utilise your university experience to make the most of your money.

Choose a university that Is tailored to your field of study
Universities present themselves with various specialised fields of study. Many are recognised for holding stellar pre-professional programs, highly invested research, and renowned alumni networks. What ever your interests may be, it’s important to choose a university that will provide you with the most resources to succeed. Additionally, it is integral that you choose a field of study that has a high growth rate and fills demand in society. These career paths, generally in medicine and technology, lead to high paying jobs in the future.


Educate yourself on the available resources
Now that you have decided on your field of study, it’s time to utilise your campus resources. These career resources are major specific and will provide you with services such as career counselling, coursework advising, resume tutoring, and a vast database of job openings. The university staff are being paid for a reason, and that’s to ensure your success.


Keep track of career fairs
Universities host career fairs, which give students the opportunity to introduce themselves to a handful of company representatives. Career fairs are very useful for making an established presents, which may enable a recruiter to remember you by name. This will be helpful when applying for roles in the future. Additionally, for students that don’t have a direction, career fairs offer the chance to explore the various ways you can utilise the skills obtained in university in the professional workspace.


Network, Network, Network
On top of meeting recruiters at career fairs, it is vital to network beyond. Connect with professionals via LinkedIn that have relevant experiences and are at companies that you are seeking to be hired from. Set up phone calls with these professionals to get a glimpse of a day in their life, their organisational culture, and to learn more about the individual on a personal level. Your network serves to provide you with professional growth and lucrative job opportunities.

Learn how to get hired

Whatever field of study you are in, it’s vital to understand the key deciding factors for placement after university. Are you a finance student? Large banks seek students that have stellar GPAs, relevant work experiences, and an understanding of financial markets. Are you a computer science student? Tech companies look for students who have excelled in mathematical and computational course work, know various computing languages, and have created unique side projects. No matter the industry, it’s important to know the qualifications that employers seek in their potential candidates.


Join professional societies
Professional societies bring together a group of like minded individuals that are passionate about a particular field of study. They can provide significant value with respect to professional development and resourceful student networks that may be beneficial for the future. Maybe there is an older member that secured an internship at your dream company. Being affiliated with this individual through the professional organisation, you would have the chance to reach out and ask for interview, resume, or career advice. If you are lucky, this member may put you in contact with an employee at this dream company.


Gain tangible experience on campus
Whether you are a microbiology, pre-law, or business student, I cannot stress the importance of gaining experiences that add to your skill set. Students who have aspirations to join the world of academia after college should be gaining experiences in university research. Pre-law students should be gaining tangible experiences within the realm of law, which may include interning at a law firm or competing in mock trial cases. Additionally, business student studying finance may want to join a student run investment fund at their university. Gaining tangible experiences will provide you with the skillsets to separate yourself from the rest of the competition.

Charles O’Keefe is a summer intern on the HYBR team from the United States. He is a full time finance and economics student in the Warrington College of Business at the University of Florida, one of the nation’s leading public schools. Charles joined the team because he wanted to be a part of a unique business model that truly cares about the students they work with.