College Seniors: Life Beyond Academia
College students approaching their final year of undergraduate studies have much to consider. A year from now and you may be looking for work, gainfully employed or turning your attention to graduate school. No matter what direction you choose, life beyond academia will be here before you know it. To reach your goals the following matters should be kept in mind.
Meet With Your Academic Advisor
It is critically important for rising college seniors to meet with their academic advisor before the start of their final year. That meeting can reveal two things:
1. You’re on the right path to obtain your degree, and
2. You meet all the requirements for graduating.
If you are short a class, you may still be able to take it before you graduate. But, if you do not discover that shortfall until you are well into your senior year, you may find yourself delaying your graduation.
Just Stay Focused
With your graduation within sight, now is not the time for you to slacken the pace. Quite easily, with your eyes on the prize, you might forget that it still will take much effort to finish college with a flourish.
Students that do not keep their hands to the plow may fail their classes. And even if students to not fail, lower grades can harm their GPA. You may not place great weigh on your grades, but employers and grad schools do. Enjoy your last year, but not to the point where you neglect your work.
Finalize Your Grad School
It is during your junior year when your grad school options should be considered. Indeed, many grad school programs want you to apply by September of your senior year. Late applicants may be out of luck, wait listed or forced to apply for the following academic year.
If you plan to attend grad school, you will need to make your decision by Dec. 1, if not earlier. This means setting aside some time to weigh your options, to look for financing and to consider your other choices while keeping up your grades. Yes, you will also have to submit your testing scores and recommendations too.
Step Up Your Networking
College seniors that are not planning to attend graduate school will soon be looking for work. This means you should make an appointment with your college’s career office to update your resume, polish your interviewing techniques and learning about career fairs. Your college isn’t your only source for finding work, but it is an important avenue just the same.
Consider how you will approach finding a new job. Likely, you will be relying on networking to meet people and that means cleaning up your online presence. Visit your Facebook account and remove incriminating photos or posts — employers will be looking for information about you and negative information can be held against you. If you are a participant on a controversial site such as Reddit, consider how your presence will be viewed there. Update your LinkedIn profile and obtain recommendations from professors, employers and others that can vouch for your experience and character.
Enjoy Your Senior Year
With so many options and considerations to weigh, your senior year of college can seem like a heavy load. It need not be that way.
Make a point to enjoy your final year, spending time with your friends, making memories, enjoying sporting events and club activities, and building relationships that can last a lifetime. Four years of college life go by quickly and it won’t be something that you will be able to capture again. Enjoy the ride!
See Also — College Freshman: Off to College Prep