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3 Ways to Get the Most Out of College

For the price of a college education, you could buy a house in many parts of the country -- sometimes, with enough left over to put a car in the driveway and boat in the yard. Of course, without a college education, it's hard to find enough money for any of those things. But the fact remains that just going to college is no longer enough to set you on the path to success, however you define it. Here's how to get the most out of your (hundreds of thousands of) tuition dollars.

graduation 

(Photo Credit: St. Louis University Madrid/Flickr)

1. Build relationships.

"The friendships you make now will get you a job later," writes Eric Ravenscraft at Lifehacker. "The people you meet and the relationships you build are your best networking tool. Handing out business cards and going to cocktail parties doesn't compare to having a college buddy that went on to a high profile company. When one person in your group 'makes it', they'll bring everyone else with them."

2. Do internships.

Theory is one thing; practice is another. Employers like to see real-world work experience on your resume when you graduate. It shows them that you know the ropes, promising a smaller investment on their part to get you started in your new job. Plus, it helps you determine what kind of work environment suits you best, before you go to work for real.

3. Take STEM classes.

In PayScale's College ROI report, many of the top-ranking schools focused on STEM disciplines, and that's no mistake: a hefty percentage of in-demand occupations right now are in technical fields.

That doesn't mean that you need to force yourself to love math and science if arts and humanities are more your speed, but even if you're an English major, learning to code can help your career. It gives you a marketable skill, helps you think in a new way, and allows you to connect with folks who have more technical jobs.

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What do you hope to get out of college? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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