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10 Steps Every Student Should Take to Prepare for Graduation

10 Steps Every Student Should Take to Prepare for Graduation

Kizzy knows what she's talking about -- check out her 10 tips for upcoming college grads.

By Kizzy Preston

April 05, 2012

Graduation is a time for celebration, but graduation can also be a time of confusion. Many students leave college without the slightest clue of what to do next. Here are some things that you can do before your graduation date arrives to put you one step ahead.

1. Get familiar with your school’s career services office. This office helps you to find part-time work, internships and volunteer opportunities while you are a student. They also help you to prepare your resume, cover letter, and portfolio for your first full-time job.

2. With the help of the career services office at your school, prepare a new resume. Gather together all of your work history, the skills you have obtained whether on a job or through a class, and compile it into a resume.

Also you can work on your cover letter. While you should tailor each cover letter to the job you are applying for, you can get a good basic cover letter written. Then you can add and take away from that cover letter based on a specific job.

3. Gather 3-5 strong references that you can easily give to potential employers when asked. Sometimes having a good reference can mean the difference between getting the job or not. You will need the name, job title, telephone number, and email address of each reference.

If you completed an internship, ask your internship supervisor to be a reference. If you’ve worked a part-time job, or volunteered, those supervisors will make solid references. Even an instructor whose class you did particularly well in could make a good reference.

4. Become familiar with the mistakes that first time job seekers often make, and be sure to avoid them.

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5. Buy an interview outfit. You must dress professionally for interviews. Even if the job you are applying for is a relaxed one, you want to make a good first impression.

Practice interviewing techniques with a career services representative, or someone who is familiar with the types of questions you may be asked at an interview and proper responses.

6. Are you planning to go directly into graduate school, rather than begin work? If so have you applied to the school of your choice? Does the school require that you take the GRE, GMAT or any other graduate level exam? It is best to find out ahead of time because there are deadlines to take the exams in order to have the scores reported to the college of your choice by the application deadline. Visit the testing websites well ahead of your application deadline to find out when you can take your exam.

7. Figure out how much you owe in student loans. Most student loans begin repayment six months after graduation. You want to be prepared to begin making payments when they are due. Never ignore correspondence from your student loan servicer because you could miss important information and payment deadlines. Defaulting on student loans is not a great way to begin the next chapter of your life, so be sure to be informed.

8. Figure out where you are going to live after graduation. Will you be moving back into the home of your parent or guardian? Will you rent your own apartment? How much can you afford to pay for rent and utilities? Do you need to find a roommate? Create a realistic budget.

9. Find a mentor. Mentors can be so very instrumental in assisting you in your post college life.

10. Study, study, study for those final exams. Cross every t and dot every i. Make sure that all balances due are paid to your student accounts office so that there will be no issues with receiving your diploma and transcripts.

And finally, CELEBRATE! You’ve worked hard, you should be proud of all of your accomplishments.


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