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Beyond the Books: Exploring Extracurricular Learning for College Students

Beyond the Books: Exploring Extracurricular Learning for College Students

If you want to learn about a specific field and achieve a level of mastery that will help you excel in the professional world, going to college is a great idea. However, it’s essential to remember that all industries can change, and the standard learning course may only get you so far, which is why extracurricular learning is such a great idea.

The good news is that many educational tools are at your disposal that can allow you to keep learning before and after graduation. Here are a few ways to look beyond the books and find new certifications and opportunities to expand your mind.

Always Be Learning

Even if you are still in school, it’s wise to set goals and think about where you plan to be many years later so your eventual career never becomes stagnant. Much of your success will depend on how much you learn today and down the road.

There are many perks to continued education throughout your life. One of them is to stay ahead when you’re going into a field with a lot of competition. Knowing a bit more than the next person could put you in a good place with potential employers. The more knowledge you have about several subjects, the better your chances of making more money. Plus, expanded knowledge can also provide a pathway to better job opportunities.

When you’re checking out job listings and internships while still in college, make it a point to look for companies that support your extracurricular efforts. You’ll find many do because they see the benefits of continued learning, such as the ability to fill skill gaps in their current operations and to encourage innovation in their workforce. If you search for opportunities to go beyond your learning in college, then you’re already showing that you can look beyond the obvious to fix a problem, and that skill can carry over into your future career.

Companies also like to engage in continued learning because they can keep up with industry trends. If those trends aren’t currently taught in your classes or you’re learning only the basic information, start looking at them now in your free time and you can use that information when you get a job.

Get Certified In Something In Your Own Time

Whether you’re still in college or you’re out and starting your job search, there are opportunities to widen your skill set. Good approaches to extracurricular learning include attending workshops and retreats or traveling to other countries to understand their culture and expand your perspective.

If you have time between your classes at school and want to add more meat to your resume, consider getting an official certificate in one or several topics or disciplines. Essentially, a certificate program is a short training that helps you to learn a new skill. The certificate shows that you’re proficient in what you learned, and you can add it to your resume so you can be more attractive to potential employers. The more areas you’re certified in, the more you can improve your job security and potentially earn higher pay.

You could also consider certifications, many of which are relatively easy to obtain. For instance, you can show a potential employer that you understand company culture by getting a certification in human resources. Doing so involves learning essential HR material, such as operations, compensation, and benefits. Then, you take a test to prove your understanding. You can follow a similar path to get certified in many other topics, including administration, software, and foreign languages.

You may have many interests, but consider first getting certified in topics related to your chosen profession, so you have a better chance of getting in the door. You can obtain many of these certifications while you’re still in college.

Learn About Upcoming Trends

To continue to be successful, always strive to learn about some potential trends that may become a reality in your desired field.

If you’re going into the nursing field, for example, you could spend time while you’re at college researching upcoming and promising pharmaceuticals and medical technology. Learning everything you can about the future of nursing can give you great talking points during your interviews. Plus, your further study and increased knowledge can help you prove yourself on the job, which can result in a higher salary and positive attention from your superiors.

If you’re in a tech field, it can help to learn about how emerging fields, like AI and machine learning, may affect your industry. College can be hectic, but at least try to learn the basics.

By researching online about machine learning, for instance, you’ll learn that it’s a technology programmed by computer scientists who are creating models that can automatically understand and improve on existing data. It’s a tech currently used in the development of self-driving vehicles and image recognition, but it’s quickly evolving. It’s a great technology that’s already creating improved automation and efficiency in many different industries. Learning about topics like machine learning during its infancy is a great way to complement your current college classes so you’ll be more well-rounded when you graduate.


College will provide you with the knowledge and tools you need to get started in your chosen field, but there’s much more to learn once you leave campus. Be aware of upcoming trends and find ways to improve yourself as you enter the working world, and you’ll set yourself up for great success.

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