Become a Writer Advertise With Us

Many people look back at their college years as the best years of their life. For teenage students, going to college marks their first years of independence and a move away from home. Nonetheless, college is also a time when much is expected from you.

As a student, you may need to negotiate funding for your studies through student loans and grants. You will also likely need to negotiate with other students to collaborate on projects.

To stand out as a student and live your college years to the max, here are the three top strategies to employ to help reach graduation day happy, fulfilled, and successful.

ways to stand out

Compromise Exchanges for the Win

Imagine having an urgent group project which may have an impact on your GPA. However, some group members are shirking their responsibilities in completing their parts of the project.

Another common scenario is finding a work opportunity which can help pay for college life. You may also find yourself in lease talks with a landlord for an apartment close to campus.

Such scenarios may regularly occur during your college years. You will likely need to adopt a give-and-take approach to negotiate positive outcomes. Negotiation simulation training can provide a pressure-free environment to prepare students for handling college negotiations. Even without formal negotiation simulation training, students can work on their ability to find value exchanges which result in win-win outcomes.

When negotiating with others, you can consider offering some compromises. However, keep in mind that your compromise shouldn’t be handed out with no expectation of a return. For instance, it wouldn’t be fair for you to have to handle the group project on your own just because your classmates want to go club-hopping.

Ensure that you claim equal and corresponding value to each concession you make. You could negotiate with one classmate to take over research while you take the lead in presenting the project. This may mean more preparation work for you. However, being the face and voice of the group can help you stand out and impress your professor. 

For work, you can negotiate a higher hourly wage if you work during the peak or busiest hours. For instance, a job as an on-campus janitor means the busiest hours are usually in the evening. Working a 3 pm to 11 pm shift may slow down your social life. However, if the job is bringing you more money, then missing out on a busy social life some nights a week might be worth the sacrifice.

ways to stand out

Make Timely Negotiations

Getting a classmate to complete their part in a project an hour before the deadline is not the best strategy. By rushing the assignment at the last minute, your classmate might present shoddy work. You might even miss your deadline.

Negotiate with your group members early to come up with an effective work plan. Allow enough time to simulate how the presentation will go by completing a practice run-through. When the simulation is complete, negotiate any final adjustments in roles.

Agree with your classmates on a revision process to compile individual efforts. Coming together to finalize plans means you can stand out as a group with a well-prepared assignment.

Try to time your negotiations appropriately. Early negotiations mean you have options if you don’t reach an agreement. For instance, when you are applying for scholarships, financial aid, and grants, fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as soon as possible. Filling out the form in October rather than waiting until the January deadline means you can explore your options if the outcome isn’t favorable.

Similarly, if you’re renting an apartment, don’t leave it until the first day of college to talk to the landlord. Reserve your living space weeks in advance and pay the rent or deposit to confirm the agreement.

By coming to an agreement early, you can rest easier knowing your plans are secured. You could even negotiate a better deal such as discounts on rent. When you’re in a rush to obtain an agreement, the landlord can pressure you into a take-it-or-leave-it situation where you have limited options.

Find Options

When you have to negotiate, it pays to find alternative solutions to your problem. You can also train yourself using simulation by asking a friend or family member to roleplay with you.

For example, if you’re stuck on your college application or funding request, running through these documents with someone you know can be a useful way to find inspiration. You can even go on to simulate the interview process for colleges and funding.

An important point to consider is that, after you have filled out your FAFSA, the federal government uses your information to determine your expected family contribution (EFC). The college may then use the EFC to determine your demonstrated need.

Different colleges award different percentages according to the demonstrated need of each student. Most colleges are unable to meet your every financial need. Therefore, it pays to check past records of what each college typically awards students to find a college that best fits your needs.

Compare the costs and award systems for different colleges to determine which college offers the best award. Depending on your Preliminary SAT (PSAT)/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (NMSQT), you can use the awards system information to negotiate with the financial office for a bigger merit scholarship.

Many new students don’t know that most colleges have merit scholarships to incentivize high school graduates to enroll. Highly academic students and students with sporting achievements may get multiple college offers.

Use your previous record to highlight your achievements and training to stand out. If you have multiple acceptance offers from different colleges, it pays to compare the merit scholarships of different colleges before you decide on enrolling.