Joining a professional association or organization related to your student’s chosen career may seem something that he will consider as he begins his professional career. However, there are many benefits of joining professional associations early. Although both you and your student may initially feel that adding the cost of membership to the already expensive college years may not be worth it, membership may be a good idea.
Benefits of joining a professional organization
- If your student is not yet 100% sure what she wants to do, joining a professional association in a possible field will give her the opportunity to explore the realities of a career in that area. Your student will have the chance to read journals and follow trends, to attend conferences, to meet other students with similar interests, and to evaluate whether this field excites her interests.
- Most associations have periodic publications with information about the latest interests and developments in the field. Your student will be able to keep up with the newest information.
- Many professional associations sponsor annual conferences or periodic regional events. If your student is able to attend some of these events, she will have the opportunity to hear more about developments in the field as well as to network with some of the leaders in the field.
- Many associations offer seminars or webinars on important topics. Your student will have the opportunity to hear leaders in the field and learn about new developments.
- Your student may be able to take advantage of scholarships offered by the organization.
- Your student will be able to follow new trends and areas of growth in the field, which may lead her to specialize her studies in up and coming areas of importance.
- Your student will be able to learn about the professional attitude of her chosen field. She will see and learn about how professionals in this field behave.
- Many associations offer networking opportunities. Your student will make connections which will be helpful in looking for internships and job opportunities.
- Some associations may offer internship opportunities.
- Many associations sponsor job boards or placement services.
- Membership in an appropriate professional organization is a great resume builder.
Although your college student may not feel that he can afford membership in a professional organization while he is a student, encourage him to investigate the possibilities. Many associations offer student memberships at greatly reduced rates. This will definitely be an investment that may pay great dividends in the future.