And so it begins. My son has accepted admission into a large state university, providing him with the first footstep towards adult life and, hopefully, a successful career path.

For him, like many others, college is an expectation—not an option. In fact, two years from now, 63 percent of all job openings will require workers with at least some college education, according to a study by Georgetown University. However, it’s not that piece of paper that secures a job after graduation—it’s the valuable experiences one gains in achieving that degree. I plan to share with my future collegiate this bit of advice from today’s issue of Promotional Consultant Today. If you have sons or daughters heading off to college, or if you or your co-workers are still working to earn that degree, check out these tips to supercharge your classroom experience.

1. Build relationships with professors. Stay after class to ask questions. Participate in class. Drop in during office hours. Attend on-campus events, such as lectures, that professors might attend. Ask them for more general advice, such as what they did as students to put themselves in a good position to get hired after graduation. Later, don’t be afraid to ask for employment help and reference letters.

2. Get a job that relates to your major in some way. The best way to start is to follow the tips above and start talking to professors. Ask them for suggestions for employment that will match your major and help you learn some basic skills. Work study jobs are often perfect for this. Yes, you’ll often find yourself doing repetitive, boring tasks, but if you keep in mind that mastering these skills will not only impress your boss but give you a great springboard toward your career, earn you some money, and create some impressive resume fodder and stories to tell during interviews, it’s a lot easier to focus.

3. Use electives to build transferable skills. When you have slots for classes that you’re unsure how to fill, look for courses that help you build transferable skills—the things you will be able to use at any job. Examples include public speaking, leadership, technical writing, time management, communication, information management and basic IT skills. Take these classes and focus on the skills you’ll build.

4. Participate in student activities. Seek out an activity or two that’s connected to what you’re studying. Get involved, build relationships with others who are involved and seek out leadership positions within those groups. This strategy will not only accentuate your knowledge, but it will build relationships with future professional peers and give you some great resume fodder.

5. Participate in activities that build transferable skills. Beyond activities related to your studies, seek out activities that will help you build skills that you can use after graduation. Public speaking is always good, as are organizations that focus on leadership and debate.

6. See the big picture on projects. When you have a class project, don’t just look at it as a path to a good grade. Look at it as a way to build the skills you’re going to use when you’re in the workplace. Look at the product of that project as something you might be able to hold on to for a portfolio, or to build into something bigger. Look at it as something you’ll want to show to people in a professional environment. Not only will the grade be easy to achieve, you’ll build some skills and potentially have some great examples for your portfolio.

7. Do something awesome. Spend a semester or two to study abroad. Take a key role in a major volunteer project. Anything you can do that will help you stand out from the pack in a positive way and contribute a deep personal value to your life will add solid value to your higher education.

Source: Trent Ham started The Simple Dollar in 2006 after going through a complete financial meltdown. Hamm decided to throw himself head first into fixing his financial situation and getting out of debt. Within eight months, he was able to pay off all of his credit card debt as well as his vehicle, and he also established an emergency fund. After that, he decided to share with the world what he learned and help those who were struggling with the same situation.