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A Return to Being Strategic in College

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As you begin learning how to take control of your college education, you might notice a few themes are starting to rise to the surface. The first theme that you will need to pay attention to is the theme of strategy. Indeed, you will need to be strategic in college, now more than ever. It’s easy to think that you really don’t have the power on your side in college, since everyone tells you that you have to be able to go along to get along if you want to get where you want to go. However, is that really the case?

Think about it — colleges are a business, and that business can’t go anywhere profitable without your help. You can dance around the issue all you like, but at the end of the day, colleges serve students. It’s time that they learn that in a big way, and you can help the process by being more strategic.

College is really set up as a winner-take-all system where the strongest grades survive. So why not set it up to your favor by making sure that you get the best start on your college career?

You will need to stop and do some due diligence about your college professors. For example, do you really want to take the professor that seems to delight in failing students? No. By the same token, do you really want to take all easy classes of professors that are known to be a little soft? While it sounds good in theory, you have to think about how your academic record will be perceived by people that are reading it — like future employers. If you don’t package yourself in the best light possible, you could end up really missing out on some great career opportunities.

When you’re trying to be strategic, you really can’t overlook how important a college major is. You want to go where the scholarships are, and that’s something that’s hard for students to hear. When we’re in high school, we get told that you should do what you’re passionate about, and the money will follow. However, reality doesn’t really work that way at all. You will need to go where the money is, and then explore your passion when you’re at a point in your life that you can afford it. This is completely against the advice that other career sites will advocate, but that’s neither here nor there.

Yet, where do you pull the best salary data from? You don’t want to go to the career counselor on campus, because those numbers are skewed. Think about it — if you didn’t get a great starting salary, would you really want to report it to your college recruiter? Definitely not. You have to think about these things if you’re truly trying to be strategic. By the same token, if a career pays really well, someone might not want to disclose it in fear that everyone will rush in and dilute the salary pool further.

The best thing that you can do is your own homework. Talk to actual people that do the profession that you ultimately want to join. Ask tough questions and get good answers. If you take this tactic, there’s really no limit to what you can achieve in college!

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