Graduating? Be an Entrepreneur!

With graduation just days or weeks away, now is a great time to think about pursuing entrepreneurship in college.
4 min read

This story appears in the May 2003 issue of Teen Startups. Subscribe »

Q: I'm going to be graduating from high school in a few weeks and attending college in the fall. How can I pursue my entrepreneurial goals while I'm in college?

A: As graduation approaches, a flurry of thoughts run through the heads of millions of teens across the country just like you, all trying to figure out exactly what they are going to do with their lives. Depending on your outlook, this time can either be exciting or petrifying. It should be exciting! Change is the natural order of life, and it will never cease. Do not fear what lies ahead in the next few days, months or years. At this time in your life, you have unmatched potential! Never again will you have so few responsibilities and so many opportunities.

If you are going on to college, an entirely new world of fun and personal growth awaits you. College is an experience unlike any other. You can actually take classes that you want to take. Many people discover that college is the first time in their lives that they can actively pursue their passion.

If you are interested in entrepreneurship, then college will be a very rewarding experience. Colleges and universities are excellent incubators! Apple, Dell and Yahoo! were all started by students in college dorm rooms. The business resources that are available to college students are amazing. Nowhere else can you find so much free advice from successful business professionals and programs that will help you develop the skills necessary to run a successful business. All you have to do is take advantage of these opportunities. Seek out individuals in your area of interest. You will find that professional networking will make all the difference. College is a melting pot of innovation, and you will be amazed at the brilliant people you will encounter.

If you plan on pursuing entrepreneurship, your major will vary depending on your interests. If you plan on creating a new medical device one day or eventually owning your own law firm, then you obviously have to take set tracks in biology, medicine, law, etc. If this is the case, be sure to pick up some business courses along the way as electives. Many schools now offer entrepreneurial tracks for non-business majors. For a list of the top entrepreneurial colleges in the country, click here.

Some specific courses that will help you with entrepreneurship are finance, marketing, human resources, general management and IT. These courses will give you a good understanding of the basic business principles necessary to manage cash, personnel and business communications.

There will be hundreds of extracurricular opportunities for you to take advantage of in college, and you will no doubt be involved in one or more of them. If you are looking to get involved with organizations that focus on entrepreneurship, then The Collegiate Entrepreneurs' Organization, or CEO, and Students in Free Enterprise, or SIFE, are both groups that you should look into. Both groups promote hands-on learning and offer conferences that you can attend throughout your college career.

If the college or university that you attend does not have a local chapter for one of these organizations, then be an entrepreneur and create one!

In the end, college will be the most exciting four years of your life so far. You will have ample opportunities to grow intellectually and develop into the person you always envisioned yourself as being. The time will undoubtedly go fast, just as high school has, so cherish every moment. At the same time, be sure to enjoy your final few weeks of high school!

Brian O'Rourke is the CEO and publisher of EnTrends, an online publication devoted to exploring how entrepreneurs work and live.


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