Your senior year in college is definitely not the time to slack off. Besides making sure that you satisfy all your degree requirements and earn passing grades in your final classes, you’ll need to apply to graduate school or prepare to enter the workforce.
To make sure you get the most out of your final year of college, here are some tips about what to consider before your senior year begins.
1. Review Graduation Requirements.
By the time you’re a senior, you should have a clear understanding of your remaining degree requirements. Even some of the most organized seniors have made mistakes in this area, so play it safe by meeting with an academic adviser to make sure you earn your degree on time.
2. Enroll in Difficult Courses Early.
Your final semester of college may be filled with job interviews and other time-consuming events, so taking the most difficult courses at the beginning of your senior year will help you use your time efficiently. Plus, if you happen to fail a course in the first semester, you’ll have time to take it again before graduation.
3. Visit Your School’s Career Services Office.
Make the career center your first stop on the road to post-graduation employment. Career centers often offer assistance and advice to help you put together a winning resume, find potential employers, and prepare for job interviews.
Depending on your major or career interests, your career center may also put you in touch with companies that are hiring and scheduling job interviews.
4. Graduate School Now or Later?
If your career goals require an advanced degree, decide if you want to go directly to graduate school or wait for a year or two. Some seniors decide they want a break after four years of college while others decide to maintain their momentum and head directly to grad school.
Take a good hard look at your finances and career goals, and decide what makes the most sense for you.
5. Get an Internship.
If you haven’t already gained some real-world experience in your chosen field, senior year is your last chance.
Apply for an internship or part-time job that will help you gain professional skills and build a potential network of industry contacts that may be able to help you land a job after graduation. This is another area where your school’s career center may be able to help.
6. Create an Ideal Company/Job Wish List.
Once you have a few ideas about where you’d like to work after graduation, you can begin to research potential employers. Use every resource possible to find contacts in the companies on your list, including company websites, conferences, job fairs and your network of friends, classmates, and instructors.
7. Select Potential References.
Think about the instructors and coaches who have contributed the most to your college experience and decide who would provide the most positive references for graduate school or employment.
Once you have your list of potential references, visit each of them personally to find out if they are willing to provide a recommendation. Get this done as soon as possible to avoid the end-of-senior-year rush for references.
8. Enjoy Local and Campus Offerings.
Take some time to enjoy your final year of college and to look back on your best college experiences. Once you’re out in the workforce, you’ll most likely realize that the freedom and excitement of your college days will be hard to match.
If there are any on-campus activities you’ve put off exploring, now is the time to get involved.