Congratulations! You’ve made it to the final stretch of your higher education! Senioritis is probably settling in, but now is not the time to lose focus. We’ve outlined seven things to do before you graduate that will help set you up for success post-college.
This one might seem obvious, but you should meet with your advisor at the start of your final year and make sure you’re on track to actually graduate. Make sure there are no outstanding credits and know the expectations for what you need to complete in order to graduate as scheduled.
Your next step is to determine whether to seek employment after graduating or to enter a graduate studies program.
If you’re going the job route, begin your search by visiting the career services office at your college or university. They offer resume and interview prep, you can talk to a career counselor, access online and in-person career tools, and more.
If grad school is in your future, in addition to identifying the schools and programs you’re interested in, you’ll need to ensure you take any tests or prepare any official documents required for application/admission.
This is really something you should have been doing for years, but it’s never too late to start! Taking the time to develop a professional relationship with a professor can help you network, learn more about your chosen career path, and connect you to resources. Additionally, they can assist with writing recommendations or giving a professional reference when needed.
If you have been taking out student loans during your journey in higher education, you will have a six-month deferment period after graduation before your first loan payments will come due.
Now is the time to begin exploring options for consolidation and potentially reducing your interest rates. Contact your student loan vendor(s) and find out what your monthly payment will be. Make a plan to ensure that you‘re able to afford those payments each month once your deferment period ends.
If you are attending grad school, discuss with your lender how that will affect your deferment and repayment periods.
Focus on developing your resume or your curriculum vitae (CV). A resume will be used for the job market, whereas a CV is likely to be required when applying for graduate programs. Some positions might require both!
Your college/university’s career services office should be able to help you get started with this process. Or you can branch out on your own to tackle the task! There are lots of templates on various platforms and computer programs that can help you develop a custom resume/CV that is clear, concise, and stands out.
Regardless of if you’re applying for jobs or grad school, it’s likely that someone will be checking out your background online. Your social media profiles are likely to be some of the first results that pop up in a search.
Also, what happens on social media, stays on social media, forever. Take an inventory of your social profiles to make sure you remove or edit any content that could be considered offensive. Make sure the new content you’re sharing would be appropriate for a potential employer to view. That doesn’t mean you can’t have fun or exhibit your personality, just be thoughtful about what you’re sharing and mindful of who might see it.
This part is two-fold. If you’ve been banking at the same place as your parents for your entire life, it might be time to take stock of your options. Do you like the financial institution you currently use? Do they offer checking and savings account options that best fit your needs? If not, shop around for one that does. Additionally, if you’ve been making use of a bank’s student account option, you may want to check into any triggers for those account benefits that might be expiring upon graduation. If you’re a PSECU member, your account type won’t change, and with our digital banking model, you’ll have access to our member perks wherever life takes you.
The next thing you want to do is begin to establish some credit. Before you get nervous, there IS a responsible and sensible way to do this. Find a low-balance credit card and use it to make occasional purchases. Be sure to pay off your full balance at the end of each month so you don’t accrue interest. Also, don’t miss any payments, or it will negatively impact your credit score and history. For an in-depth explanation of establishing credit, read our blog post on How to Build Credit Using a Credit Card.
In addition to student banking and student loan options, PSECU members achieve more with our full range of banking products and services to last a lifetime. Visit our website to learn more about membership and to join PA’s largest credit union.