If you’re thinking about college-either because you’re a recent high school grad or an adult who hasn’t set foot in a school in twenty years-you’re probably focused on the curriculum. But there’s more to college than classrooms!
One advantage to attending a college or technical school, rather than taking a program online, is that you get to experience everything the campus has to offer. Most colleges offer a wide range of extracurricular activities for their students such as sports, worship, clubs, movies, publications, and more. They may also offer student services such as a health center, library, counseling, or a job center.
To get a preview of the activities offered by a college, university or technical school, go online to a reputable college directory website. Choose the schools that interest you. Click for more information and you’ll be contacted by an admissions representative. He or she will fill you in on all that the school has to offer. Remember that until you agree to enroll, there is no obligation for receiving information or even visiting the college campus.
Here are a few of the extracurricular activities and student services offered by colleges and career schools.
New Student Orientation: Many colleges make an effort to introduce new students to college life and make them feel comfortable. Often, the first activity that students participate in is orientation. This could be a simple meeting, an all-day seminar, or even an overnight event. Orientation programs are designed to encourage new students to meet and interact with academic deans, faculty advisors, student development staff, and fellow students. Students may also participate in placement testing and prepare for fall course selection. Often, there will be a social event such as a cookout or concert.
Student Counseling: College can be stressful, and many schools offer access to student counseling services. These services may include short-term counseling, crisis assistance, programming on issues relevant to college-aged students, and referrals to community support services.
Health Centers: Students often have access to a student health center, which may be staffed by a nurse or other healthcare professional. Typically, student health centers can assist with minor illnesses, reproductive issues, and general health questions. Services are often free for enrolled students.
Dining Services: Many colleges, especially those with residential facilities, offer a variety of dining opportunities. These may range from upscale dining halls for grad students to cafeterias and informal automated cafes. Some schools have “cyber cafes” where students can grab a snack and cruise the web. Generally, students can pay for meals and snacks using “points” from their prepaid student ID card.
Clubs and Social Groups: No, it doesn’t have to mean “Animal House”! Many schools have fraternities and sororities, and while some may be focused on partying, many are dedicated to creating a positive atmosphere of scholarship and community. There are also a huge variety of affinity groups-film clubs, gay and lesbian clubs, foreign culture clubs, religious groups, and clubs dedicated to sports and extracurricular activities. Many college students who participate in clubs form lifelong friendships.
College Government: Want to plunge into a leadership role? Run for student president! Members of student government often have regular input on college policy, and may oversee student clubs and organizations.
Athletics: No one needs to be reminded about the high visibility of college athletics. College athletes, especially basketball and football players, can be national stars on a par with professionals. But many colleges offer sports programs that are not as high-profile as basketball or football. Rewarding opportunities may include sports such as fencing, rowing (crew), volleyball, tennis, lacrosse, golf, or even kayaking.
Community Service: Many college students choose to spend some of their free time helping others in the community. Campus-based organizations might have connections to local soup kitchens or community groups. Some even send students to work in places that need assistance such as Haiti or post-Katrina New Orleans. Community service can be a great way to meet people and make a valuable contribution!
Externships: Many colleges and career schools offer externship opportunities. This simply means that while in school you work in a real-life job that relates to your major. For example, if you are enrolled in a bachelor of arts program in culinary arts, you may find yourself working for a semester in a restaurant in France. If you are in a film program, you may work in a film studio or a production facility with professional film crews.
How can you find out more about what colleges have to offer? The fastest way to get info is to go online to a reputable college directory. You can search for colleges using keywords like “liberal arts” or “New York,” and review the selections that meet your criteria. Compare programs, flexible schedules, financial aid, and career services. Then get free information from your top five or six choices. Visit the colleges that interest you, and then apply. You’ll discover that college life can be fun and rewarding as well as educational!