Senior-Year Checklist

Your impending graduation might fill you with a mixture of excitement and dread. You’re excited because all of your hard work is about to pay off, but you might feel a little trepidation because you’re not sure how to prepare for what happens next. Use this checklist to ease your stress so you can focus on the joys of reaching graduation.

Network Like Crazy

Whether you want to take a summer to travel after graduation or dive right into the job market, now is the time to put out career feelers. Collect as much contact information as you can from your fellow students — particularly older students who already have job experience — as well as your professors and any professionals you know who work in your chosen field.

Build Your Professional Wardrobe

Yoga pants and basketball shorts are comfortable fallbacks for long study sessions, but if your wardrobe is all casual, it’s time to go shopping. Start your search now for clothing that you can wear to job interviews. If you have the money, you might even want to get a suit tailored to fit so you can really impress.

Polish Your Resume

Often, your resume is how you make a first impression on potential employers. Research what makes an effective resume, and think carefully about skills you can include. Past summer jobs as well as volunteer experience can enhance your resume. You may want to stop by the campus career center for help with refining this all-important document.

Research Places to Live

You might already have a favorite city in mind, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore your options. Research the job market and cost of living in cities across the nation, or across the world if you’re feeling adventurous. Be sure to also look at other opportunities in places where you’re thinking about moving. Perhaps there is a well-reputed volunteer program that could help you gain the experience you need to get into graduate school.

Prepare a Budget

You likely already have an idea of how much you’ll be making when you land your first job, and it might feel like you’ll be rich compared to your current budget. However, be careful not to overestimate what you can afford. Just because you’ll eke out enough money for that awesome downtown apartment doesn’t mean you should. Plan to have enough money to comfortably make all your payments each month and still have some left over for savings.

Manage Your Reputation

Companies often look at a job candidate’s social media accounts. If you have posts that show embarrassing moments from parties or otherwise portray you as unprofessional, delete those posts before you start sending out resumes. If your friends have posted unflattering information about you, ask them to delete it or, at the very least, untag you.

Enjoy Yourself

Senior year should be a time of celebration. You’re close to achieving a long-term goal! Forge deeper bonds with your classmates, go on weekend road trips, and attend parties. The memories will stay with you for a lifetime.

Don’t let the stress of graduation get to you. Start preparing now for post-college life so you can truly savor your accomplishments.

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