50 Best Colleges for African Americans

A solid education, matched with the right opportunities, creates successful collegians. Here are some strategies students should employ as they move from the college campus to the corner office and beyond.

a formal intern program, but if you’re pleased with my work, maybe I could stay through the summer and you could create a formal internship,’” says Smith.

“You’ll get a chance to see what these people’s lives are like in these organizations. You’ll see what it takes to be a Fortune 500 executive, and you’ll start to identify different types of competencies that you need,” says Wells. If your company is big on presentations, for example, and you need the practice, consider joining an organization like Toastmasters International (www.toastmasters.org) to improve your public speaking skills. At the very least, you can put that experience on your resumé.

Once you land the internship, Smith recommends looking at it not as a summer job, but as the beginning of a career.
He also offers this advice:

  • Show up on time.
  • Continue to do well academically.
  • Network and get to know your peers.
  • Dress appropriately.
  • Give others a chance to see your skills.

Join organizations that you care about. The purpose of joining organizations is twofold: (1) to make contacts in your field of interest, especially if it’s career-related and (2) to show your leadership skills and volunteer for a cause you believe in. For some, it means pledging a sorority or fraternity. For others, it’s joining a business or leadership organization such as the student government. By joining these organizations and taking an active role, you will be able to articulate how you handled problem-solving scenarios, how you managed a team, met deadlines, and achieved the overall goal of a particular project.

Reapply for scholarships. Many scholarships last a year. Review your papers to see if your scholarship renews annually or if it’s a one-time opportunity. If it’s a one-time scholarship, see if you are eligible to reapply and look for other scholarships and financial aid resources.

Smith recommends avoiding the following:

  • Discussing personal issues or having inappropriate conversations
  • Consistently arriving late or missing too many days
  • Missing deadlines
  • Using company equipment or e-mail for personalbusiness

College isn’t just for 18-year-olds.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, 68% of college students over age 24 work full time and are enrolled part time. They are also more likely to be married and have children. Consider these tips as you plan your continuing education:

BE PREPARED. Before applying to college, consult an adviser. Margaret Stumpf, adviser to nontraditional students at the Friday Center for Continuing Education at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, encourages prospective adult students to review the school’s catalog, which contains academic major requirements and descriptions of classes. “Weigh the major you might love against the one that will get you a job,” she advises. Stumpf emphasizes the importance of keeping a copy of your high school and college transcripts for your own records.

TAKE YOUR TIME. “Adults feel they are behind and often take on too much to make up for lost time,” says Pauline Drake, president of Spelman University’s Continuing Education Program. Don’t pressure yourself into trying to finish school as soon as possible because you didn’t attend college sooner. Drake advises students to take

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