Joining Your College Alumni
Sometimes you can go directly to the college to inquire
about internship programs. The University of Virginia
Alumni Association offers more than 100 internships
that help students earn experience in marketing, accounting,
even event planning. No wonder more than a third of
all University of Virginia students are members.
At North Carolina State University, students can join
the Student Ambassador Program, which allows them to
serve as liaisons between alumni, administrators, and
the student body. This is sort of mentorship in reverse,
where the students get to inform the graduates about
the school's activities.
Networking and mentorship programs will take very little
of your time, so you'll still have plenty of time to
devote to your family, friends, and other interests.
Need financial assistance with your degree program?
Your alumni association can help with that too.
Thousands of college alumni associations offer scholarships
to students, and you don't have to be a member to apply.
Generally, the larger the school, the greater the number
of scholarships. For example, the University of Virginia
Alumni Association offers current students more than
100 scholarships, most of them named after the alumni
who created them.
Scholarships are either merit- or need-based, so you
will need to meet the specific guidelines offered by
each scholarship you're seeking. To apply for a scholarship
offered by your school's alumni association, go to the
school's website to download an application for the
scholarship you want or call the school's financial
aid office to find out what's available.
to prospective and current BGSU students
One of the most helpful benefits of alumni associations
is that they allow you to get steep discounts on products
and services. Here's just a sampling of the variety
of discounts and free stuff that some schools offer
only to their alumni association members.
- At the University of Florida, members can get discounts
on school merchandise and auto insurance, participate
in national and international travel opportunities,
get special invitations to University events, get game
ticket purchasing priority, and get a free annual subscription
to the alumni magazine.
- The University of Virginia offers discounts on moving
fees, car rentals, the school's art museum, insurance,
hotels, KAPLAN Test Preparation, and local shopping.
- At the University of California, San Diego, students
can get discounts on books, free admittance to the senior
barbecue, buy-one-get-one-free tickets to university
events, and savings on southern California attractions,
hotels, and restaurants.
- In addition to many of these discounts, the University
of Georgia offers an Alumni Student Loan Consolidation
Program, which allows members to take advantage of low
loan interest rates.
As an adult student, you might be especially interested
in some of the more adult discounts some schools offer,
including lower-cost AAA memberships, mortgage rebates,
gym memberships, and golf green fees.
Campus and community activities
One of the greatest benefits of joining an alumni association
while you're still a student is the opportunity to make
a difference and have fun at the same time. Many alumni
associations meet frequently to plan school activities
and to take part in community events. The time commitment
is generally minimal, which is a plus for busy adult
students who may also work full-time.
The Boise State Alumni Association promotes school
spirit by participating on both school and community
service projects. At Kansas State University, student
alumni members can help plan fun events throughout the
year, including coffee breaks and snacks during finals,
pre-game events, Watch Parties, and other fun opportunities.
Best of all, while working special events, you can
make great contacts that will be of both personal and
professional benefit to you in the future.
How to join your student alumni association
For a nominal fee of about $15 to $25 a year - some
schools even offer membership to students for free -you
can make your college experience so much more rewarding,
and get a head start on your career path after college.
Of course, not all colleges and universities offer
alumni association membership to current students. Some
require you to be elected by someone else. For example,
at the University of Evansville (Indiana), freshmen,
sophomores, and juniors must be nominated by faculty,
administrators, or current alumni association members
to join the alumni association. But, if your school
offers the opportunity, look into it.
To find out if your school offers this service, contact
your school's office of alumni relations.
Gregory Lloyd is a financial writer who has completed
three college degrees while working full-time. He can
be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.