You spent countless years of life in school, and now you’re finally out. But are you really?
The moment you graduate (even a little before, actually), your name pops up on the alumni list of your university or college.
But your affiliation with the school can get you more than a degree or diploma (which are, of course, the more important things)—they come along with numerous and exciting perks that benefit both your social life and your career.
“Alumni should consider their university and fellow alumni as a resource for life.”
—Melanie McLean, Manager of Alumni Affinity and Business Services, York University
What are the benefits of staying involved with my school?
The reasons are three-fold, according to Melanie McLean, manager of alumni affinity and business services at York University in Toronto. Alumni services provide access to career advancement tools: workshops, networking opportunities, career resources online. McLean says alumni members not only gain benefits for themselves, but they can help current students as well by passing along their wisdom and experience.
Finally, alumni have ample opportunity to save money. “Most memberships are free,” says Krista Newton, alumni administrative co-ordinator of the Centennial College Alumni Association, “and grant you access to many events, discount tickets, on campus services (e.g., computer labs, fitness facility, library).” Most alumni services provide students with opportunities to acquire discount tickets to sporting events, shows and other venues.
Career and networking opportunities
Looking for a job after graduation? Just because you’re no longer a student at your school doesn’t mean you don’t still have access to campus services. Newton points out that Centennial College alumni retain access to the co-op and employment resource centre, which offers clinics on resumés, interview preparation and assistance with job searches.
Most alumni programs offer additional networking and career events where you can learn more about the job search process, meet employers in your industry and bond with fellow alumni who may share your interests.
Discounts and savings
Maybe you already have a job you’re happy with, or perhaps you graduated years ago and school is but a distant memory. You can still benefit from alumni perks.
York University, for instance, offers “privileged access and savings on a variety of products and services on everything from sports and entertainment, tickets, car rentals, and investment services and insurance,” says McLean. These advantages are offered through the alumni perks program, which is able to garner these discounts thanks to its strong alumni community of more than 220,000 students.
Last year, more than 65,000 transactions were made, benefiting not only the alumni, but current and future students, as a portion of the revenue is advanced toward student support.
Most of these discounts and deals apply to events or services you use anyway, so why not use them for less?
Why should you stay involved?
It follows that by not staying involved with your school, you miss out on the opportunity to attend a networking event that could advance your career, meet someone in your field who can get your foot in the door, or vamp up your free time with discount tickets so you can save money and still go out and have fun.
“Alumni should consider their university and fellow alumni as a resource for life,” McLean says. “One mistake I think some grads make is feeling that they have nothing to contribute if they are not working in their field of study, but this is not true. Representing your school and being proud of what you have learned is involvement in itself.”
How to get involved
Visit your school alumni website, or contact your school’s alumni services. I’m sure the alumni staff will be more than happy to help. After all, that’s what they want: to help you stay connected.