Don’t get me wrong, getting good grades in college can go a long way to helping to get a job or further a career.  However, there are certain things that can come with a college education that might be as important — or even more important — to success in the real world than the information you take away from your classes or the grades you get.

Here are a few of the items that I gained during my college experience that were immensely valuable to my success once out of school.

Financial Independence

College is where I began to develop the skills that allowed me to successfully make the transition into adulthood without too much in the way of student loan debt.  It was also where I learned valuable personal finance skills like budgeting, expense tracking, and fiscal restraint when it came to purchases.

While my parents certainly helped me with the costs of college, this was the time during which I began to break away from that dependence upon them and started managing my own financial affairs.  I look at it as one of the “make or break” periods, in which young adults either begin to buckle down and learn financial responsibility or start upon the path to heavy debt and an inability to deny themselves any sort of immediate gratification.

Time Management

At one point in my college career, I was vice president of an 80-person fraternity house, managing the concessions department of the university golf course, and taking a full course load at one of the best undergraduate business schools in the nation…all at the same time.  I’m not tooting my own horn here, but it certainly took the development of some quality time management skills to balance all the different responsibilities I had on my plate.


A large part of my time management success was due to the ability to multi-task.  I learned that during downtimes when working at the golf course, I could study.  During slow periods when at class or during downtimes between classes, I could work on the golf course schedule or make to-do lists for my fraternity or work-related duties.

It was this ability to manage time and multi-task that turned out to be much more valuable to me in the workplace than many of the courses I took while at school.


While the college experience can come with a ton of fun, there can also be a lot of responsibility involved.  And without parents around, most, if not all of that responsibility can fall upon you.

From just waking up in the morning, to getting to class on time, scheduling classes each semester, buying books, paying tuition or rent, ensuring that you get to sleep on time or hit the student health center or doctor when you’re sick, there are all sorts of items that may be placed squarely upon your shoulders.

I’ll admit, it can take a little getting used to, but I found that the earlier I could get used to relying upon myself, the sooner I was able to feel like a true adult and the more confident I was moving into those situations I mentioned like becoming our fraternity VP or concessions manager, and thus able to carry that confidence with me out into the working world.

Disclaimer: The author is not a licensed educational professional or academic advisor.  This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or educational advice.  Any action taken by the reader due to the information provided in this article is solely at the reader’s discretion.