Right about now, you’re probably crawling out from underneath a pile of library books, term papers, and exam notes, feeling like you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And you’re right, the school year is almost over, which means that if you’re a senior, you’ll be graduating soon. Congratulations!
While you should reward yourself for completing your degree program, don’t take a break for too long. There are many other details that need your attention now that school is winding down. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a College Graduate checklist that will help make the transition in the “real world” a little bit easier.
5 Things Every College Grad Needs After Graduation
Job Search Tools
You might have already started your job search, but if not, now’s the time. For a successful job search, you’ll need a polished resume, 3-4 professional references, and a strong professional network. If you’ve never compiled a resume, you should be able to get some free guidance at your school’s career center. Professors, former employers, and student organization supervisors all make great references, so check in with those individuals now to see if they’ll speak on your behalf. As for networking, start with references, colleagues, coaches, and anyone else you’ve collaborated with in the past four years. Contact them about your job search, connect with them on LinkedIn, and pick their brain for any tips or job opportunities they know of.
If you’ve been living in the dorms the past four years, one of the first things you need to do before graduation is line up a place to live. Finding an apartment that fits your needs and price range can take a few weeks, so get started now. Make a list of what you want, what you don’t want, and start contacting apartment companies. Don’t forget that you’ll need money for a security deposit (anywhere from a month to two month’s rent), basic furniture (this is where futons come in handy) and to get the utilities (electricity, water, gas and cable) turned on in your name.
While you were in college, chances are that you were on your parent’s health insurance. The good news is that you can stay on you’re their plan for a few more years, until you’re 26, so if the internship or job you’re starting after graduation doesn’t offer a plan, you’re covered. If you do decide to switch insurance plans to what you’re employer is offering, make sure there are no gaps in your coverage, as that can currently affect your ability to receive treatment for pre-existing conditions.
A Work Wardrobe
Even if you luck out and land a job at a company with a relaxed dress code, you’ll still need a good suit or two for client meetings, corporate events, and business trips. Business clothes are expensive, so maximize your dollars by buying one or two suits in neutral colors, like black or gray, and variety of dress shirts in a different colors.
I know retirement probably seems very far away. But now is actually a crucial time in your retirement planning. Putting away a set amount each month, no matter how small, can have a huge impact on how much you’ll have when that golden day arrives. If you’re employer offers a 401(k) or similar plan, getting started should be pretty easy. If not, you can meet with a financial advisor and get started on your own.
I know the items on this checklist might seem overwhelming, but with the help of those who have gone before you (parents, an older sibling, an aunt or uncle) it’s all very doable, and the sooner you start, the easier your transition will be. Good luck!
Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. Visit myFootpath.com to find the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD program that’s right for you.
In all of my six years in college (be nice I am working on my third degree) I have never lived in a dorm. I never saw the appeal of living in the dorms. I just saw them as small, generally smelly spaces that hundreds of people have slept in prior to me arriving. So I always chose to live off campus.
Sure there were some drawbacks including parking passes and paying rent, but there were also a lot of perks. I have my own space, my own room, and my own bathroom. I had a roommate in my first apartment, but at least I got to choose who they were. I believe that the biggest perk of living off campus was that it taught me how to be responsibile. I had to work to pay my rent and bills, so I quickly learned how to multi-task. This also taught me about the art of money management and budgeting. Trust me, living in Florida and having your electric shut off in the middle of summer will really teach you to pay your bills on time! Here are some of the reasons that I think it is better to live off-campus while in college:
Reason #1 – You are in charge of every aspect of your living situation. If you want to leave dishes in the sink and come home drunk at 3am you can.
Reason #2 – It teaches you economic responsibility. You are in charge of paying rent, bills and all the other expenses.
Reason #3 – You get to have pets (If your landlord allows it).
Reason #4 – If you need to, or choose to, have roommates you are the one selecting them not a college admission counselor.
Reason #5 – You get your own kitchen and bathroom.
Reason #6 – If you have odd living tendencies (like needing to mop your floors three times a day) then you are free to do it without judgment in your own space.
Reason #7 – You are always accountable, again teaching you even more responsibility. It is your job to get up and head to class, there is not a friend down the hall who will bang on your door to make sure you are awake.
Reason #8 – FREEDOM! There is no RA overseeing your behavior and there is no need to sign in or out.
Reason #9 – You learn the reality of how much things cost. Buying dishes, towels, curtains, etc. gets SUPER expensive quickly and it is better to learn that lesson sooner than later.
Reason #10 – You get to have a car that you don’t have to walk a mile to get to.
Can you think of any other benefits of living off campus? Sound off in the comments below!
I’m reading Human Resource Management
Many high school seniors are finalizing their college decisions and getting their living arrangements settled. College comes with many ups and downs. Sometimes your new roommate will cause ups, downs, or both! Living with a new person or a stranger is not always easy but we have some tricks to keep the peace in the dorm room.
- Try communicating via email, phone, or Facebook. Sometimes it can be hard to reach people but it is not impossible. Your university should provide you with at least one form of contact information for your new roommate. Trust me, you will want to talk to your roommate before you first meet them.
- Be open. This experience could be really great for you and your roommate! You may even walk away great friends! Be ready to find out somethings you never thought you would know about a person, like their snoring patterns or their sleeptalk habits!
- It is important to remember that your roommate is in the same situation you are! You are new to each other. Take some time to meet and know your new roomie. You may have more in common than you think! Don’t act like you are the only one going through the drama. You can look down your hall and find a handful of girls who are going through the same thing!
- Discuss your dorm room rules and how you would like the room to be. If you need to be in bed at a specific time, kindly tell your roommate that you would appreciate it quiet at a certain time. Lay down the law before it’s too late, or you will be fighting in no time. Don’t expect your new roommate to think the same way you do.
- Understand that your roomie might not have all the same beliefs and opinions you do. Be flexible with your roommate. They cannot read your mind, so don’t expect them to! They might think that it is acceptable to stay up until 3 a.m. every night. If you think differently make sure you discuss it!
- Establish who is bringing what for the room. If you are not willing to share your refrigerator space make sure your roommate knows that. The need for two TVs seems ridiculous, but if you aren’t willing to share that is something your new roommate will need to know beforehand.
I had a good experience with my roommate but know some people whose experience was different. It is important to get along with your roommate because at the end of the day you still have to live with them! Communication is key!
I’m reading The Living World