Networking Tips for College Students

Networking in College

How to Network in College,

Networking is an important activity for college students as it helps them to gain more acceptability in their academic circle. Networking also builds up confidence of such young students, making their current and future academic life easier. Hence, it is important that college students are able to network to groom themselves properly in the available academic environment. Various networking opportunities and avenues are available to students who look for them.

However, it has to be noted that networking should be considered as an integral part of a student’s grooming by the college administrations to fully take advantage of the available opportunities. A student alone, especially the younger batches, cannot take all initiatives to find networking opportunities. Colleges should support healthy networking opportunities to provide a conducive environment to the students for grooming.

There are several ways for college students to begin improving their networking skills; these will be discussed in the next section in detail. So, here are the best tips gathered by

Networking Tips for College Students

Firstly, ice-breaking activities should be arranged for the students. These can be planned by college professors to engage students in more active participation and discussion with their peers. Ice-breaking sessions and activities would serve as a fresh start for the students and tend to remove their hesitation when talking to strangers and building new relationships with them.

Secondly, besides building a network with students of their age and similar backgrounds, students should be encouraged to get in touch with the college alumni. This level of networking with the college alumni will be a useful activity for the students to feel motivated about their college premises and serve as a catalyst for improvement. Networking with the alumni is essential to learn more about campus life, discuss future prospects, and certainly to build connections with the corporate sector for graduating students. The alumni can serve as a great networking source for the current students.

Moreover, colleges should have an industrial linkages department which would connect the students with the practical world. If the college has signed some Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) with business organizations, they can certainly train their students and get them connected to business organizations for summer internships and any research projects. This will be a great source of networking for a student to get a flavor of the practical world before stepping into the jobs or business markets. Some colleges do not have strong industrial ties which they need to work upon for the students’ best interests.

Besides the college management making networking efforts, the students can themselves take some initiatives for better networking. For example, networking nights, gala dinners, seminars, exhibitions, and conferences all contribute to bringing in more people together and providing a networking platform. Such events bring in more ideas and diverse people on one platform where linkages can be developed by the college students. Even if the college is not heavily investing on such events, the students can arrange such sessions and activities on their own, pooling their own small funds or asking others for contributing to such fruitful events and activities.

Moreover, college students can network by traveling extensively. As part of college life, traveling would be a form of participating in business planning and case-study competitions in different colleges. This will provide a working environment to the students where they will be able to develop contacts with other students and professors. The bond shall become stronger if the students take part in various competitions in different colleges where they will meet similar students from various other colleges.

The broad domain of research also provides a networking window to the college students. For example, research endeavors would require the students to work with supervisors who are college professors and well versed in their fields. Working with esteemed supervisors on research projects shall itself be a tremendous networking opportunity for the students. While learning the research skills, they will also be able to work with research mentors and leaders in this field.

Finally, the college should itself encourage networking opportunities for students. Since many students would be young and new to college life, it becomes important that colleges make effort to increase networking sessions and opportunities. This can be done by, for example, developing skill-based courses and requiring individual presentations for each course. This is where students shall be able to develop self-confidence and be able to conduct and deliver themselves more effectively in front of an audience. With excessive sessions of orientations and pieces of training, the students shall find themselves capable of communicating productively and with confidence.

Such training and orientations may also include role plays and group activities to develop a stronger bond between the participants from different colleges or different business organizations. Role plays help to portray and project the students in certain societal roles so that they can put themselves in others’ shoes to learn things from their perspective. Such activities help to develop tolerance and an understanding of diverse cultures and backgrounds for the student community.

To conclude, it can be said that networking should be a key activity during a student’s college life. It is not just the student who has to play his/her part in developing a strong network; it is the college administration and management who need to play their due role. This is because, amongst the learning opportunities available, networking can serve to provide the most valuable learning lessons once a student is able to successfully interact and communicate with others in his circle. While networking sessions have been lacking in some colleges, it would be a good exercise for all colleges to arrange for such sessions to groom the students. Such grooming is especially likely if the networking is conducted by the administration of the college while involving the alumni network. Industrial linkages shall bring in the desired results for the students’ grooming and networking opportunities. Colleges need to work on their industrial linkages department or the one that is labeled as career office in some colleges. The purpose remains the same regardless of the title: provide a networking opportunity and platform to our students so that they can be properly groomed for the business and the corporate world.

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