8 Fantastic Podcasts that Help Students Navigate College and the World

Students are constantly confronted with choices and often don’t know how to make the best decisions.

Everything from where to apply and how, the intricacies of funding, and figuring out how to do well on the SAT — there are so many decisions to be made before even starting any higher education journey. Then, once enrolled, students have to navigate campus bureaucracy, pass their courses, get involved in organizations, make friends, find an internship, and figure out what you’re doing with their life after graduation. It can be overwhelming.

But, thankfully, there are many great podcasts that can help student affairs professionals help students navigate all of these areas. Podcasts can be great as on-demand content that students can listen to whenever and wherever. Plus, you can process the lessons learned with your students to help them reflect on their learning. 

As a podcast host myself and an advocate for the medium, it’s great to see other folks producing so much wonderful content. In the midst of an increasing prevalence of remote learning, it will be helpful to have these various libraries of content to pull from to help support your students’ learning. 

8 Podcasts

1. Collegehood Advice

Hosted by college success strategist Katy Oliveira, this podcast has over 100 episodes that cover a broad array of topics including r life skills, career success, and personal development. 

The focus of the show is always around how listeners can make the most of their college years. The episodes are 30-45 minutes long so they can be perfect for a workout or lunch break.

Episodes to start with:

2. The College Prep Podcast

Hosted by Megan Dorsey and Gretchen Wegner, this podcast has over 300 episodes focusing on helping with test prep, study skills, and a diverse range of helpful advice for students before they even put in their applications. 

The show reflects the backgrounds of the hosts; Megan is a freelance college admissions advisor and Gretchen is an academic coach. The episodes tend to be around 30 minutes long so they’re perfect for a commute or a bus ride for prospective college students.

Episodes to start with:

3. Declassified College

Hosted by Justin Nguyen, this podcast premiered earlier this year and already has over 50 episodes! Each episode is around just 15 minutes or less, making them perfect for those awkward in-between times between classes or other campus activities. 

The podcast’s tagline is “Unlocking the Cheat Codes to College” and it has wonderfully geeky branding. The show brings in entrepreneurs, higher ed professionals, and other experts — as well as anecdotes from Justin’s own recent college experience. The episodes highlight topics like fine-tuning your resume, finding internship opportunities, and networking with alumni.

Episodes to start with:

4. The College Info Geek

Hosted by productivity experts Thomas Frank and Martin Boehme, this podcast has nearly 300 episodes featuring in-depth tips on daily productivity, personal branding, and managing student loan debt. 

It’s a fun, authentic show wherein the hosts bring in their personal experiences and resources they’ve gathered to help their listeners. This show doesn’t often feature guests which makes it unique to this list. The episodes tend to be longer, around an hour usually, so it can be better suited for road trips or doing chores.

Episodes to start with:

5. The College Life Podcast

Hosted by academic coach Alicia Sepulveda, this podcast has almost 100 episodes, ranging from quick bites to full interviews focusing on all the nuances of college life. Alicia features current college students, recent graduates, and current college professionals as guests, all offering a comprehensive view of how to succeed at college. Alicia’s background in higher ed and as an academic coach serves her well in being able to synthesize relevant topics for students.

Episodes to start with:

6. The Daily

Hosted by New York Times journalist Michael Barbaro, this podcast is a daily deep dive into current events impacting our country and the world at large. Episodes often feature members of the Times’s extensive network of reporters who are exploring these new stories firsthand. 

Each episode is around 30 minutes so it is a great way for students to start their day and become more informed about the world around them.

Episodes to start with:

7. Code Switch

Hosted by Gene Demby and Shereen Marisol Meraji, Code Switch is a weekly race and culture podcast launched in 2016 by NPR. Whether the hosts are discussing the ongoing social unrest in America, undocumented Americans, or the inequity manifesting in the impact of the pandemic, they always make the topic accessible and relevant. 

This is an incredible resource to share with students to help them to understand each other’s stories better. This show is perfect for a quiet Sunday morning at a coffee shop, where your students can sit, listen, and learn.

Episodes to start with:

8. The Hilarious World of Depression

Hosted by writer John Moe, this podcast explores the genuine stories of comedians, authors, and other entertainers through a compassionate, yet comedic, lens. Unfortunately, the show was canceled recently, but it has a robust library of episodes that are great to engage with to get more tangible insights into how people cope with their mental health challenges. It shares awesome resources and can be relevant to students to help them better understand the burdens we all bear.

Episodes to start with:

Be on the lookout for even more great episodes from these shows (and start seeing what else is out there) to share with your students!

What are some of your favorite podcasts that students might also adore? We’d love to hear your recs! Connect with us @HelloPresence and @HigherEd_Geek.

And P.S. Presence has its own podcast! Each episode features an amazing student affairs professional, offering advice for how YOU too can better navigate your job and support students.

Dustin Ramsdell

About the author: Dustin is a graduate of the Rutgers University College Student Affairs Ed.M Program. He is a proud nerd and self-affirmed "Higher Ed Geek" who is excited to connect with folks who share his love of deep conversations! Learn how we can help get your students involved.

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