Graduation is almost here! It is time to celebrate your accomplishments and all the hard work that went into your education. It should be easy to take that next step, right? You have everything ready for your graduation:
Date and time of the graduation ceremony? Check ✔
Graduation cap and gown? Check ✔
Commencement tickets for the family? Check ✔
But there are some things maybe you haven’t fully considered. Have you organized your educational and professional experience in preparation for the jobs that you will be applying for? Have you figured out a repayment system for your loans? Have you connected with any instructors or staff and let them know about your updated contact information?
There are lots of things to keep in mind as graduation approaches. Here are 10 things every college student should do before graduating:
1. Get that resume ready.
While the end of your educational career can be incredibly busy, you still need to create or revise your resume. Make sure to include educational experiences, clinicals, internships, certifications, and other professional experience. The Career Development Office can help if you need ideas on how to describe your experience or if you just need a review.
2. Practice and prep for interviews.
The school’s career coaches can help prepare you for the common and not-so-common questions that employers will ask during interviews. It’s always good to review your credentials and be prepared to talk about your accomplishments.
3. Update your LinkedIn/Handshake/professional social media accounts.
During the job search and hiring process, these digital platforms and others can help you land a job, but might also hurt you if you’re not careful. For LinkedIn and other professional digital accounts, make sure to include a professional headshot or a picture in which you are dressed up and look professional. If you are looking to get into a career that requires some type of uniform such as in healthcare, you may decide to include a picture in your scrubs. Also, use these accounts to their full potential by adding coworkers, employers and anyone relevant for your career goals. And be careful – if you are posting controversial content on public-facing social media accounts, you might turn off potential employers.
4. Connect with professors, instructors, and staff.
A letter of recommendation from a previous instructor could help a potential employer understand how hard-working you are and why you would be a good employee. Make sure that you keep in touch with instructors before and after you graduate, to make sure they know what your career goals are.
5. Update contact information.
Be sure to talk with admissions, student services, career development, maybe even the front desk, and make sure that you let them know any changes in your contact info. After you graduate, the school only has the information that you provided, so if you changed addresses but didn’t let any staff know, your mail or emails will get sent to a previous address. Make sure to update phone, emails, address changes and any other forms of contact before you graduate.
6. Review with financial aid.
Talk with your financial aid office and review information about loan amounts and repayment. Advisors are there to answer any questions that you might have. Your payments might need to begin soon after you graduate and you want to be ready.
Being a part of the alumni group is a great resource, and you can look into starting to make connections before you graduate. School alumni networks can help with job leads, career support, and opportunities for social and professional events.
8. Commit to staying in touch with the university.
There are a few advantages to staying in touch with your university, such as help with passing a certification exam, getting connections for a potential job or assistance with financial aid questions. The school might want to reach out to you as well, such as to check on your success in finding a job or letting you know about alumni and/or industry-related events. Keep in touch!
9. Connect with university social media.
Become a superfan! You can keep up with school and industry news by following your college’s various social media platforms. Maybe you’ll be able to win some prizes, learn about updates on campus, or simply be entertained with the day-to-day events. The university uses these social media platforms to connect with students and alumni, so make sure to like and subscribe.
Even though you may have other things to do, it shouldn’t take away from the fact that you are rocking your education as well as tackling a variety of other aspects of life such as family, work, navigating a pandemic and more. It doesn’t matter if it’s a big or small celebration but be sure to take some time and celebrate the successes in your education. Pass an exam? Celebrate! Got through a series of difficult classes? Celebrate! Going to graduate? Celebrate!!!
Again, make sure that you enjoy your time as a student, but also prepare for post-school life. You’ll be happy that you did!