As a homeland security major in the beautiful state of Washington, you are already well on your way to a successful career in the field. Ideally, you have already gone through the hard work of researching the career field to set a career goal that is right for you, of choosing the degree level you wish to obtain, and of selecting a major.

You may now be wondering what else you can do to further improve your chances of success. Believe it or not, though, there is still lots of work that can be done as you make it through this long stretch to the home plate.

First and foremost, it should go without saying, but you need to be working as hard as humanly possible while in school, and your grades should reflect that work. Attend every single class unless there is a dire reason why you cannot. Something that should help you to do so is remembering that you are paying for each class, whether you attend it or not, so not going is just like throwing money away.

Study more than you think you need to, and ask for help whenever you start feeling even the slightest bit confused.

While your focus should stay on your grades, you should also try, if possible, to get involved in extracurricular activities. Just as a potential employer might inquire about your grade point average, he or she will want to get to know you and what you were involved in during your schooling.

Having good, preferably academic extracurricular activities and/or volunteer work to point to shows that you are an involved person who throws yourself fully into everything you do. Certain extracurricular activities or positions, like holding a student government office, can also help to showcase you as a leader and a real self-starter.

You should also be thinking about internships while you are in school, or perhaps even taking one on. Internships are a great way to build up your resume before you even land your first job in the field, and they can also lead to the establishment of important professional connections that could later be of use to you.

If you complete an internship while in school, you may even be able to earn school credit, which will be reflected in your transcripts and your grade point average. At the very least, some internships will pay you a small stipend for your time.

In addition to focusing on grades and on life after college, do remember that you are in school to learn. While you might think that good grades are an indication of real learning, this isn’t always the case. Lots of people can shirk by with good grades without really learning anything.

Learning is a decision that you make and involves really caring about what you are studying, applying it to your personal life, and allowing the knowledge that you gain to change you into a better, more well rounded individual.