The short answer is “YES!” However, it might be a bit more helpful if I explain why you should join the alumni association as soon as you graduate—or maybe even before.
Every school is going to be a bit different, but here are some reasons you should investigate membership in your school’s alumni association.
- You will gain access to an alumni directory. This is a crucially important benefit as it allows you to expand your network to people currently working in organizations or career fields that are of interest to you. And most people will happily connect with other alumni through social media, email, or even the old-fashioned telephone.
- Many schools have career counselors who specialize in working with alumni. Although they may limit the number of career sessions they offer, this is an exceptional benefit that too few alumni use.
- Some type of newsletter or magazine will probably be produced on a regular basis that lets you know about the accomplishments of other alumni and provides articles about current events or trends on campus.
- Even small schools often have regional branches of the alumni association that give you an opportunity to meet with other alumni wherever you live.
- An alumni association may offer you
- The opportunity to buy advance or season tickets to sporting events.
- Discounts on clothing or gifts with your school’s logo.
- Group travel discounts and worldwide tours.
- Various types of insurance plans.
- Credit cards, car loans, or other financial services.
- Discounts at local restaurants, arenas, movie theaters, amusement parks, and other entertainment venues.
- The ability to maintain the email address you established while a student.
- Your school may also have an alumni clubhouse, which includes a variety of amenities such as restaurants or golf course.
Some schools, including the university where I teach, have a membership option for current students. The membership fee is usually pretty minimal (at my school it’s currently $25 per year), and you don’t get all the benefits of the alumni, but you do get invited to special networking events with alumni and lots of discounts all over town. Plus, a free t-shirt. Who doesn’t want a free t-shirt?