Take one look around any university and it becomes abundantly clear just how much university life has to offer. It's more than late nights of studying and lugging around heavy textbooks. There is a whole culture to be explored – clubs to be joined, countries to be seen and friends to be made.
While the foundation of uni is obviously learning, getting involved beyond the classroom is an important part of any uni experience. It helps new students form essential connections. It can be a valuable way to explore interests and passions and it has the potential to make uni more fun.
More than just a good time
But the benefits extend beyond pleasure. There is tons of research that suggests students that get involved outside of the classroom have better career prospects overall. One study, by the Chronicle of Higher Education, set out to examine the importance of certain attributes when employers evaluate recent graduates for hire.
They found that internships were high on the priority list for companies followed by employment during tertiary study and degree major. However, even more interesting was the fact that volunteer experience and extracurricular activities were more important to employers than both relevance of coursework and class marks.
Students that get involved outside of the classroom have better career prospects overall.
This is not to say that these things hold no weight; rather that employers do pay attention to more than just grades and performance. They like to see that a potential employee was involved with beyond the classroom – it shows drive and in some cases leadership potential.
So, what types of activities show the most promise?
Getting involved in athletics
Most universities offer some kind of athletic program for their students. Whether it be an intramural league for football lovers or the uni's official rugby team – employers like to see candidates that have some sports background.
Part of this has to do with the attributes attached to most athletes. For starters, employers know you work well as a part of a team and that you have the ability to work towards a mutual goal (winning).
In fact, studies have shown that professionals with an athletic background tend to be more motivated than their non-athletic counterparts. A Gallup report found that 42 percent of full-time professionals with a sports history are happy at work and driven to achieve their goals compared to 38 per cent of all other professionals.
Getting involved with sports is more than just fun – it can showcase some important business skills to potential employers when you head out on the job hunt.
Travelling the world
Students everywhere have more opportunities to travel than ever before. That's because more and more universities are offering travel as a part of certain courses. Whether it is travelling to South Asia to explore the culture first-hand or making a trip to New Zealand to learn more about environmental policies – the possibilities are virtually endless.
Turns out, getting involved with travel during uni does more than broaden your horizons. A recent study by IES Abroad found that a whopping 97 per cent of students that studied abroad secured a job within 12 months of graduating. A different study by the European Commission found that internationally mobile students had 23 per cent lower unemployment rates than students that did not travel during uni.
Overall, travelling while studying is something that clearly draws employers in. Whether it is because travel expands your worldview or because it showcases your willingness to take risk, it is not only an amazing way to get involved outside the classroom but a CV booster to boot.
Volunteering is a rewarding and meaningful experience for any uni student – and there are plenty of clubs and organisations on campus that facilitate trips or missions. Students have a chance to meet new people on campus while doing something good for the world – a real win-win.
According to a recent study by SEEK, employers see volunteering as more than just a good deed. They think it is an extremely credible way of gaining real work experience. In fact, 85 per cent of hiring managers think it's equally as credible as paid work when it is relevant to the industry you plan to work in.
Students looking to get involved while still improving their job prospects in the long term can seek out different volunteer options on campus.
At Avondale we love when our students get involved.
Getting involved at Avondale
At Avondale we love when our students get involved – whether it is showing off their skills on the court or sharing their travel experiences on our Snapchat. There is so much value in a campus community and we work hard to foster a welcoming and exciting environment for all our students.
Learn more about how you can get involved.