MW University // August 18, 2014
Sixteen years of sitting in a classroom, and you’re almost there. College is almost over, and soon every friendly face will ask you about your future plans. Some of us can answer the “what are your plans after college” question with grace, charm, and confidence. Others will stumble through our answer, desperately trying to finagle our way around their judgements and our own confusion. This necessary life transition can seem intimidating and it is easy to be fearful of the unknown. But as you hang on to the last days of student life, there are a few things you should do to ensure the easiest transition into “real world adult life” when all of the college fun is over.
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Check out our “Surviving Senior Year Checklist”!
- First and foremost, senior year requires a highly organized calendar. Whether you use your phone, an organizer, or Google calendar, it is important to have easy access to your calendar so it may be constantly updated. During the year you will have classes, numerous meetings with mentors and counselors, career fairs, interviews, deadlines, etc., and it is important to stay organized.
- Perfect your resume. Now is the time to take a look at all of the jobs, activities and accomplishments you have had while in school, and connect the dots. You want to show employers and admissions personnel how your overall experience as a student allows you to contribute to their organization. Your resume should be tailored for each position that you apply to, but it is good to start off with an exceptional skeleton.
- Meet with your academic counselor. You should confirm with your counselor that you will complete all of your required classes before graduation. This meeting is also a good time to review your transcript and resume with your counselor, in case you require a recommendation at a later date.
- Meet with mentors, professors, and past employers that you may want to list as a reference or ask to write a recommendation on your behalf at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters. During your first meeting of the year, you should ask any questions you may have regarding your specific industry, go over your resume, and ask if there is anything additional you can do during your last year. In the beginning of the spring semester, you should update these individuals on your progress and request anything you may need for your job quest or graduate school applications (unless you are submitting your applications in the fall).
- If you are considering graduate school after college, take your standardized tests and complete your graduate school applications, aiming to submit in the first round of applications, which is usually in November or December.
- Take some time to do a thorough search through your social media accounts, and delete any media that may be interpreted as “unprofessional.” That means the albums “beach day with babes” and “red cup function” must disappear. Personal branding is incredibly important at this time. Make sure your brand reflects the person on your resume.
- Develop your LinkedIn profile, and add your connections from college and internships. Your peers will be beneficial for your job search now and in the future, and although you want to create new connections, don’t forget about the ones that you already have!
- Visit the Career Services and Alumni Office on campus. Believe it or not, it’s their job to keep you connected, and they want to see you succeed! Take the time while you are on campus to introduce yourself. Career Services is also a great place to get feedback on resumes and cover letters--take advantage!
- NETWORK! Attend job fairs, resume workshops, panel discussions, profession-related events, and anywhere else that you may make a valuable connection. You may not see the value in some connections now, but all connections may benefit you down the line. Build professional relationships now, and you will be glad you did later.
- SPEND QUALITY TIME WITH YOUR FRIENDS. After graduation, things will change. Some friends will move across the country; some friends will be unemployed; some friends will be so employed that they disappear off the face of the earth; and, some friends will get married and start families. All in all, you will never have the opportunity to hang out like you do now. Go on vacation with your BFF! Take advantage of your last spring break! Party like a rockstar with your gals! Because pretty soon responsibility will take precedent over friendship--that’s just adult life.
- HAVE FUN! You have the rest of your life to be an adult, and only one year left of college. Take advantage of the events, free food, and resources! You might as well go out with a BANG!
Feeling nervous about your senior year or plans after? Watch these TED Talks.