When you graduate from college, it can feel like that chapter in your life is closing. Hopefully you're moving on to a new job in your field, with new friends, new coworkers, and new responsibilities. It can be difficult to close such a fun-filled chapter, however, just because you've graduated doesn't mean that you need to cut all ties with your college. In fact, there are several alumni HBCU organizations that you can join, depending on which school you attended.
A relatively low percentage of alumni usually take advantage of the programs offered to them through their alma maters. It's surprising because alumni HBCU organizations can be beneficial to a young adult and young professional trying to get out in the world and start their new career. In many cases, you'll hear graduates speak fondly of the good memories they had during undergrad, and the different connections they made, but still do not join the alumni associations. Not only do alumni associations offer a great way for graduates to stay connected to their school after graduation, but there are many other benefits to joining as well.
A way to give back
In many cases, your alumni association will use its dues to pay for different events, but it will also give grants and scholarships to future students who need financial assistance to attend college. Without those who pay the dues and are fully committed to the association, those programs just don't exist.
Networking and mentoring opportunities
You never know who you will meet at an association meeting, and you may just meet someone who happens to be with a company that you've wanted to work for. In that case, networking is a great way to get your foot in the door and meet someone new who has a connection to your dream company. You could meet someone who is willing to help mentor you in a certain career field, and this is valuable information and experience that you simply can't get elsewhere. You could also become a mentor to other recent graduates and help them along with their journey.
When you belong to an organization that is solely designed for networking and helping to support interests and prosperity of the institution and its graduates, you can really get a feeling of belonging. You can also continue friendships more easily that may have fallen to the wayside in the hustle and bustle of life if not for the organization.
That's right, depending on the organization, you may be able to get discounts on home and auto insurance, better interest rates on credit cards, and so much more.
Just keep in mind, with these organizations, they are only as good as those willing to put the effort into them. If the alumni that make up the organization are not devoted, then the organization itself will be much less effective than if the members are highly active and working towards the goals of the organization each day. Also keep in mind, these meetings are about giving back, as well as getting a group together for a fun event. Oftentimes, alumni associations will meet for happy hour meetings or different fundraising galas, and while these can be fun, make sure to be ready to help out, whether it be in the planning or financially by bidding on different auction items, as well as bringing guests to bid on the different items. Many times these association events are open to guests or even to the public to help bring in as much financial assistance to it as possible.
Finding alumni HBCU organizations is simple. Just reach out to your school and do some research. The official organizations are through the school, but you may also find some unofficial groups on social media that often meet up for networking events. Even if you choose not to join the official one, these unofficial groups can be wonderful for helping to broaden horizons and offer you networking opportunities that you didn't have before.