How to Make the Most of Your Senior Year at College

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With the fall semester more than halfway over, college students planning to graduate next May have just six months of school left before they must move on to a job or prepare for graduate school. Most students will be looking for work, but in any case if you’re planning to graduate on schedule there are some things you should do first to ensure that you’ll be wearing a cap and grown at commencement exercises next spring.

Meet with your adviser — Assume nothing! You may be 12 credits shy from graduating, but there could be one course you must take to graduate on time. Make an appointment with your college adviser now to confirm that your transcripts are in order and that the courses you plan to take next spring satisfies your college’s requirements.

Head over to your career center — Once you confirm that you are on track to graduate, meet with a representative at your college career center to review your resume, job options and to discuss your plan of attack for looking for work. Be prepared to spend some time over winter break sending out resumes, making phone calls and networking.

Get online — Ha, you’re already online! Seriously, head over to Facebook and other social media websites and remove potentially damaging information or stupid photos you have posted. You’re a savvy web user, but so are many companies who have teams of people scouring the web looking for information about you. Google your name too!

Get LinkedIn — Facebook is fun and by far the largest network of its kind on the Internet. However, when it comes to connecting with other business people, LinkedIn rocks. Set up or update your LinkedIn account to explain to the world who you are, what you’re doing and what you’re looking for. Companies may still want a hard copy of your resume, but your LinkedIn account may be what they find first. Build some good connections too!

Go shopping — Ah, shopping! Unless you’re planning to work in a totally casual environment you’ll be expected to arrive for your interview dressed for the part. For men, that means a suit, shirt and tie. For women, a dress or business suit will do. Consider purchasing your “interview suit” and at least one other outfit. You never know: you may be hired on the spot and have little time to shop later. Yes, don’t forget a comfortable pair of matching shoes.

Have some fun — Your final year of college can be stressful, but it should also be fun and memorable. You’ll be graduating soon enough with a whole host of other responsibilities in front of you, so make the best of the next few months and enjoy the ride. Joins clubs, take in some basketball games or do something not academically oriented.

Be flexible — That dream job may not show up, at least right now. But, do not be disheartened: your first job can be a good learning experience, offering a stepping stone to what you really want to do. Treat people you meet kindly, be helpful, show yourself friendly and soak up as much information as possible. Life is a journey — use your humble beginnings to further your career.

Consider some contingencies — What if the market is absolutely the pits when you graduate? Well, you still have some options available to you. If you’re currently working part-time, consider going full-time while still looking for work. Also, an internship can be beneficial especially if it helps you gain some much needed experience. Finally, if you were thinking about going to grad school later on, why not move those plans up? You’ll get the additional schooling you want and delay the job search until things have gotten better.

Make the most of your senior year — you’ll be an alumni before you know it.

Adv. – Are you looking for financial assistance to pay for college? A private student loan from Sallie Mae is an option available to you.

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Categories: Academics