As you near your graduation day, an intimidating question looms – “So, what next?” your new life after graduation largely depends on how effectively you plan for your future. If you want to start your dream job or career, you should have a well thought out roadmap for transitioning from school to professional life.
Here’s a graduation checklist to help you plan for your graduation ceremony and ensure that you don’t forget important things you should do before you leave:
1. Register For The Graduation Day:
Most schools require you to fill certain forms and submit an application to graduate. The requirements may vary from school to school but largely there’s a basic graduation checklist of requirements to be filed along with your application including RSVPs, guest details and tickets, gown rental details etc.
2. Get Pending Documentation In Order:
Make sure you get all your accounts cleared in advance- from loan paperwork to student fees and outstanding dues and don’t forget to keep copies of all documents. Create a plan for repayment of your student loans- most loan repayments begin 6 months post graduation, so have a repayment schedule ready to ensure that you don’t miss payment deadlines.
3. Connect With The Career Center:
Career centers are a great channel for students to identify internship or volunteer opportunities and connect with potential employers. Maximise the opportunities you get in your university life. Keep in frequent touch with the Career Services center to stay updated on new jobs or vacancies. Career Centers can also be very resourceful for getting your job profile in order- ensuring that you have a great resume, cover letter and portfolio.
4. Create A Strong Job Profile:
Your immediate focus after graduation is probably going to be on your job. Most students kickoff their job search in the early years of their degree because crafting a strong professional profile- one that highlights your skills and achievements- is a gradual process that needs consistent work. Start early, while you’re still at school, so that you can leverage all the resources available to you. Seek guidance from mentors, career coaches or alumni and begin organizing your resume and portfolio. Go beyond a generic template and tailor your resumes according to the jobs you apply for in the future. You could also practice some standard interview questions and techniques.
5. Gather Strong References From Past Employers Or Instructors:
Strong references can do wonders and be the difference between getting the job or not. Request supervisors or employers from your past work experiences and gather contact information. Former employers are the best validation for your work ethic as they can share insights into your on-the-job responsibilities and competencies. You could also approach your professors or mentors for references to vouch for your personal character and speak about skills acquired through their class.
6. Get In Touch With Your Alumni:
Alumni from your school can be one of the most important sources for information regarding classes, internships and job search. Maximising your alumni network can expedite your job search process. Reaching out to alumni can help expand your professional network- not only will you directly connect with people working in the industries you’re pursuing, you might also connect with graduates several years your senior, who could be holding executive positions in the companies that you aspire to join. Tapping your alumni network can also give you access to job-boards and listings that are exclusive to alumni associations. They also open up many networking opportunities- career counselling, seminars, webinars and networking events- even a casual conversation with an alum can be greatly useful for your career.
7. Figure Out Your Living Situation:
Once you leave, there’s no going back to the dorm. Figure out where you will live after graduation- whether you will move in with your family, get a place of your own or find a rental. If you plan to live on your own, make sure to consider living costs, commuting costs, etc. and work that into your budget. In the meantime, while you finalize your accommodation, leave a forwarding address at school for your mails so you don’t lose anything.
8. Study Hard:
You’ve made it this far, so prepare well for your final exams. Take care of all formal requirements and proceedings in advance so that you can study peacefully for your last exams. You don’t want to be taking trips to the office or bank when you have a major paper due.
9. Be Prepared For The Convocation Ceremony:
Missing on the last minute details can be a big letdown on your big day. Book your graduation tickets and pay the graduation fee in advance. Most schools, after receiving the fee, give you your graduation ticket along with your guest tickets (usually 2 tickets per student). Coordinate with your friends and family and figure out if you need to buy or request extra tickets.
10. Enjoy The Moment:
Graduating from college is a major milestone for all of us- one that we want to remember for the rest of our lives. Have fun and enjoy your big day. With a little planning, you can get all the hassles out of the way and celebrate the day with friends and family without much stress.
Graduation is going to be a time for many lasts- last holidays, last exams, last time you study at the library and more. It is an emotional time with the transition into a new life and all that it entails. There will definitely be a lot of pressure on your mind with job search, accommodations and exams but – in the midst of all this remember to pause and enjoy the moment. Make a senior year bucket list of your own- volunteer for the organization you always wanted to, visit your favorite hangout places for the last time, participate in your senior year traditions. Above all, celebrate your achievements, you’ve worked hard to earn them.