7 Things to Take Advantage of that’s FREE in College

MIT | college library

Is anything truly free in college with all that tuition? I don’t know. But what I do know is there are plenty of “no additional cost” resources, events, and opportunities offered at colleges that many don’t take advantage of.

“Either you take advantage of college or your college takes advantage of you.”


Disclaimer: your college may or may not offer these resources for free. This is more here to ensure you’re not missing out on resources that could be given to you at no cost.

1. Access to News Articles

You know when you find an article and there’s constantly a popup blocking you from reading it where they require you to subscribe for a cost? Well, you most likely have free access to a good amount of these news sources (at least common ones) through your college. The specific ones may be visible on your school’s library website or elsewhere. 

It’s important to get into the habit of reading the news if you haven’t already. You’ll learn terms, and become more familiar with how what you may be learning in college applies to the real world. It’s especially important to read articles/new sources related to your major.

For instance, if you’re a business student, read the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), The Economist, etc. As a natural science-related student, check out National Geographic. Scientific American is perfect for science majors in general. And for technology-related majors, MIT Technology Review, WSJ, etc. are great depending on what your university offers for free.

2. Mental Health Resources

College can be strenuous, overwhelming, stressful, and different, and sometimes you just need someone to help walk through what’s holding you back mentally.

Some colleges offer free mental health counseling, perhaps even walk-ins. Take advantage! This may be offered by the health services on campus or even by other organizations in your college.

Tip: In fact, check the departments in your college – career, health, etc. – and see what they offer free of charge. For example, workshops, resources, mentoring, etc.

Need more motivation? 11 Ways to Get Motivated

3. Student Organizations

One of the best ways to get involved on campus…

Whether it’s networking events, learning skills relevant to future careers, completing projects, or simply building a community, student organizations have so many beneficial aspects.

Are you wondering which way you should take advantage of these?

  • Seeking a community with students that have similar identities? Join a cultural club you resonate with.
  • Want to network? Go to mixers and other related networking events – the majority of them you can attend even if you aren’t truly a member of that club.
  • Want to simply make friends? That’s possible at pretty much every student organization.
  • Hoping to build projects and gain experience in your field in some way? Join the professional organizations that work with real clients. There’s probably one that relates to your major.
  • Seeking advice from someone who went through what you are? Many student organizations offer mentorship programs.
  • And so much more – obtain advice from upperclassmen, learn skills,…

4. Research Opportunities

A lot of universities are considered research institutions. Take advantage of that. Dig through the websites and see if there are any labs to apply to. If not, reach out to professors with your interest and resume.

Related to the bullet above, join research student organizations. Or take a research-based class.

There are many different ways to get involved and college may be one of the best times to get started. The result of this may not even only be free but sometimes you get a stipend!

5. Auditing Classes

Want to take a class simply to learnno credit, no costs? Consider auditing that class. Review your specific institution’s auditing policy to see how you can register.

The coursework to be completed may depend on the university or be at the discretion of the professor. Either way, it’s a great way to learn something you may be interested in but are unsure if it’s right for you yet are curious about it.

Love to learn? Check out 9 Random Things Worth Taking The Time to Learn

6. Museums

Searching for something to do on the weekend that doesn’t chip into your college budget? You may have free local museum access.

Do a little research to see if your college offers you free entrance to a nearby museum. And if so, you and your friends could visit for free and have a little educational and/or cultural adventure.

7. Check Your Emails

Check all your emails (but, of course, be wary of any scams). There may be free tickets to places, raffles, or a form to fill out for something free. Emails also often contain opportunities, events, and programs you may be interested in. 

Tip: The best way to figure out more things to take advantage of is by speaking with other students – peers and upperclassmen.

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