May 2007 Graduation: Steps to Start Planning Now

Julie Shenkman
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Even though senior year is just beginning, it may be the best time to spend a few hours here and there preparing for the road ahead. The rude awakening brought on by the real world won’t feel so harsh with a little pre-graduation planning. Last minute preparation may hurt you financially and could postpone the hard earned success you’ve been anticipating. Here are some tips to help make your post-grad transition smoother.

Senior year for some is catch-up time, the final attempt to squeeze in an 18 credit semester for the anticipated on schedule graduation can be quite stressful. But for some, a less strenuous 12 credit semester may bring on some new bad habits, thanks to all the freedom. Either way, it’s important to spend some time reading and researching. Granted, text books and homework seem to fulfill the reading requirement, but it’s important to read some post-grad advice books, even if you only have minimal time.

Nicole Williams wrote Wildly Sophisticated, an easy read that offers insight into the real world and stories of career women. How to Survive the Real World by Andrea Syrtash and Twentysomething: Surviving and Thriving in the Real World by Margaret Feinberg also offer advice and insight into the new adventure post-grads are about to embark on. Resume and cover letter writing books aren’t necessary while you are at college.

It’s important that you start writing your resume early in the year. You are going to write multiple copies, so while you still have all the campus resources available to you, use them. Write a first draft and take it to your campus career center or have a professor review it. Use the suggestions and feedback you are provided with to revise your resume in your spare time. Look at some of your friends’ resumes. Without previous experience writing resumes, you may not realize your resume isn’t as efficient as it should be, seeing the resumes of your peers might clear up some confusion.

Unless you understand your career objective (what you want to do in life, what you look for in a job) you should wait to write a cover letter. If you plan on doing some practice cover letters, try writing in a few tones. Write a cover letter that sells you (without being too sales-pitchy) but is also humorous or tells a story. Writing a variety of cover letters may help you define your writing style.

Now is a good time to start planning your future financial situation. A post-college emergency fund is beneficial for anyone graduating. Set up a savings account that you can deposit some extra cash into (if you have a job), or that you can put some of your summer funds into. This savings account can house your graduation gifts in May and will get you through the upcoming summer. It may be a rough few months in your initial job hunt and the extra cash will help you through it. Once you find your first job you can use this savings account to hold money for your “move out of home” fund or for new furniture if you already have a place.

If you are paying for college with student loans, this is a good time to look into loan consolidation. The actual process of consolidating loans takes a few weeks, so it’s a good idea to look around at interest rates. Start saving the information and compare interest rates of competing loan consolidation companies. This will help you get an idea of the monthly payments you can expect once you graduate.

It is impossible to be completely ready for the post-college journey that is in front of you. But, planning ahead and giving yourself an extra semester to know what is coming may help ease some of the anxiety you expect to face in May. Reading a few books, working on your resume and knowing what to expect financially are three good ways to prepare for your May arrival into the real world. by Paige Sullivan (lifestyle author)

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  • Makendra
    Your answer was just what I needed.
  • Raynoch
    Your answer was just what I needed. It made my day!
  • Jetson
    Good point. I hadn't tuhoght about it quite that way. :)

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