By Steven Mehler
When college students step onto campus to attend their first day of classes, they are full of hope. Even if they face difficult challenges, there is something about kicking off a college career that makes almost anything seem possible.
Unfortunately, stress and other issues can chip away at these dreams over time. The result is that students compromise too much, or they give up on their dreams entirely. If you are a college student, or if you have a college student in your life keep reading. Here are 10 ways to support college students dreams, and help them turn their dream into reality.
Support Their Choice in Majors
There’s no money in that! You’ll never make a name for yourself if you want to be an artist. You are a fool if you don’t pick a major that will help you make money! It seems that if anytime a student wants to pursue a degree that focuses on academics or arts, they are told that they are being impractical.
Yes, it is understandable that parents and friends worry about the potential for a college student to make a good living. On the other hand, what is the alternative? Do we really want to live in a world where students don’t pursue art or academic careers because they don’t pay enough? Think about that. No artists, no journalists, no social workers, no research scientists, and no musicians.
- Back Politicians Who Care About Making Education Accessible
One would think that all politicians would be supportive of higher education. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. Many are beholden to lobbyists and special interest groups that are in favor of maintaining the status quo of high tuition costs, for-profit colleges operating with little or no regulation, and astronomical student loan debt. Because of this, many students are unable to pursue their college dreams, or struggle for years after they graduate. Help students reach their dreams by supporting politicians who are pro student.
- Encourage Local Businesses to Invest in College Students
If you have connections in your local business community, use those connections to help college students. Businesses can help by hiring students seeking part-time work, creating internship programs, and partnering with schools in other ways. One option is to sponsor fundraisers or to help students run organizations.
- Promote Alternative Ways to Pay For School
Help the students in your life by educating them on all of the ways they can pay for school. Many students are unaware that there are many organizations offering scholarships to students meeting a variety of criteria. Then there are options such as Fema Corps or Americorps in order to earn money towards tuition or student loan repayment. Finally, college students going into certain careers such as nursing or teaching often qualify for student loan forgiveness.
- Become a Mentor
There are many college students who have very little in the way of emotional, academic, or career-related support. Many colleges have mentorship programs where business and other professionals can spend time with students mentoring them. Doing this can help ensure that students are able to pursue their dreams because of the advice and resources they receive thanks to your mentorship.
- Encourage Students to Write Great Essays Until it Becomes Natural
Developing great writing skills is something that will serve students well for their entire lives. Encourage them to write great essays, and to practice their writing until it becomes natural for them. If they struggle, be sure to let them know that they can receive help with their writing assignments until they get up to speed. In order to get some inspiration or topic ideas, students can search for reviews on the Internet that will give them the information they need to find the help they need.
- Stop Complaining About This Generation And Praise Them Instead
Students entering college today face challenges that previous generations never did. They will pay much more for college than their parents or grandparents, they will earn comparably less money, and face uncertain futures. In spite of all of this, many college students are active in charitable organizations, care about social issues, and are politically aware.
- Encourage Young Women to Entering STEM Fields
In spite of the fact that women are just as capable of pursuing careers in STEM, the number of women entering these fields is disturbingly low. In many cases, girls begin their academic careers interested in math and science. Unfortunately, as they get older, they are often discouraged from pursuing these fields. Do what you can to encourage women who are interested in working in technical careers.
- Start an on Campus Food Bank
Hunger is a hidden issue on many college campuses. After students pay their expenses, they often don’t have enough money for food. In some cases, this is an ongoing problem for a student. In other instances, a temporary crisis leaves a student unable to purchase food for a period of time. Because of this, many schools can benefit from a small on-campus food pantry for students in need.
- Check in With a College Student You Love
Sometimes, all a student needs to turn their dreams into reality is to know that their loved ones are there for them. Call them. Send them gift baskets with their favorite foods and magazines. Provide them with a non-judgmental ear when they speak to you about their problems and experiences. If they are homesick, depressed, or struggling in other ways, encourage them to seek support on or off campus
With just a little bit of effort, you can make a big difference in the life of a college student. The work that you do can be just what a student needs to turn their dream into reality.
Steven Mehler is an experienced writer, SEO expert and social psychologist that works as a freelance writer and an editor at a local newspaper