May is quickly approaching and that means if you’re a college senior, graduation is right around the corner! Once you are finished with college and have your degree, you should seriously consider joining your school’s alumni association. They’re a great way to keep in touch with your friends and classmates, and an excellent way to network with other alumni. Your school probably has an alumni relations office or an alumni association website. You may even receive information from your alumni association in the mail soon after you’ve graduated.
Alumni associations are groups comprised of former students that attended a particular school. Alumni associations often hold organized parties or events, as well as class reunions. These events often take place around Homecoming season. These events will give you a great excuse to visit your school, possibly attend Homecoming events, and see your old friends and professors.
Alumni association meetings will also provide you with the opportunity to network with other alumni, which may be a great benefit to you as a new graduate trying to climb up the career ladder. Meeting other professionals that work in your new field – particularly ones that also earned their degree from the same school that you did – never hurt anyone!
Being a member of your alumni association may also benefit you professionally in other ways. If you are going on job interviews after graduation, you never know when you may wind up being interviewed by an alumnus of your school. That feeling of camaraderie often helps people get jobs.
You may be wondering why you should bother to join your alumni association if you are moving to another state after graduation. That’s a good question! Alumni associations are often organized into smaller local or regional chapters scattered around the country or around the world. Just because you went to school in New York, there may be a chapter of your alumni association located in other states. These local chapters are a great way to get together with other alumni more frequently than waiting to attend the big events on campus. I went to college in Florida, and every time I get an alumni magazine in the mail I see pictures that were taken at meetings held by the local chapters in New England, Texas, California, and just about any other area you can think of.
Other smaller chapters may be created by various groups of students, such as those that were in a particular fraternity or sorority, or a group of students that all earned marketing degrees, or students that all became teachers, for example. If something like that doesn’t exist, you may be able to start up your own group. Most colleges and universities have some sort of alumni association website, although if yours does not you will probably be able to find other former students online thanks to social media websites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
Speaking of Facebook and LinkedIn and similar sites, you may feel that those sites alone will be enough to help you keep in touch with others. If you’re still hesitant to participate in your alumni association, there are plenty of other benefits to keep in mind!
There are plenty of other benefits that to joining your school’s alumni association after your graduation. They may vary from school to school, so check with yours to learn the specifics, but staying in touch with old friends and helping others should be enough to get most people involved!
Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.
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