Rising Above Your School’s Bad Reputation

Ohio University

Yesterday I wrote about the newest ranking that Ohio University was able to top–#1 Party School. In my post I attempted to convey a message of hope for anyone looking to move past the bricks here and on to something greater. What I failed to do yesterday, however, was provide any sort of plan on achieving something, knowing the opposition that is down the road. Knowing that you may be asked, “your resume looks great, but isn’t OU just another party school?” I don’t claim to be an expert on the subject of after college greatness but through my experience and studies, here are five things to consider during your undergraduate career that will help you to rise above any school’s bad reputation.

Take a Leadership Role

Seems straightforward enough. First step to this is finding a student organization that you are interested in and that captures your passion. At a university of any size there are going to be organizations that you can join and they will absolutely consume your life–I mean that in a good way. Work your way up through and take on a formal, defined leadership role. This will automatically separate you from about 95% of the rest of the university. The final step, and the most difficult, is making change. Don’t settle for the “status quo.” Implement a new event, find a corporate sponsor. Something that you, at the end of your tenure, can claim “that was mine, I did that.”

Get a Minor in Something

There is true intrinsic value in a liberal arts education. This does not mean, however, that something more “vocational” like a business or journalism does not carry its own weight. I am a business major therefor I understand the value of a BBA. Studying the humanities, however, fosters certain analytical and writing skills that are just not taught anywhere else. I myself picked up a minor in history and noticed immediate benefits over some of my other cohorts in my formal writing skill and ability to think analytically.

Get to Know Your Professors

We all know it. We have heard it since day one. But how many people actually do it? Very few. Professors and advisors are resources just waiting for us to use them. They are a wealth of knowledge and truly enjoy working with students–at least most of them. This is my challenge to you then. Pick one professor each term and really spend time getting to know them. Go to their office hours. Talk about their career. Talk about assignments. Show them your resume. I guarantee you will see immediate benefits as well as long term gains.


It may seem out of place in this post but working out has extreme benefits and gives you an edge over the competition. While not necessarily important to employers, working out helps you to clear your mind and stay focused. It also increases your energy so as to best take on the tasks on your “to-do list.” And, who wouldn’t mind being in better shape?

Start Something of Your Own

This is the big one. It may seem entirely too intimidating for some but that is what makes it so important. Take your time in undergrad and start something of your own. A business, magazine, web site, student organization, charity event. It doesn’t matter. Your passion is going to lead you somewhere and help you to create something that you are going to enjoy doing. This is, in my opinion, the biggest way to separate yourself. Very few people take advantage of their own entrepreneurial nature and thus those that do, are miles ahead. Don’t be afraid of failure either. Often a failed venture can teach you more about who you are than a successful one.

As I said in the beginning, I am not claiming to be an expert. From my experience, what I read, and what I have heard though, these make sense. If you take the time to fit these into your undergrad career, I guarantee you will be more successful than someone who doesn’t.