It is the spring semester, and you may have begun to notice a common trend. Seniors across campus are beginning to talk about
what their plans are when the unthinkable moment comes to leave this place after graduation. For most, this is an exciting period that comes with a sigh of relief after years of stress, but others surely sense the bittersweet note that comes with it. As a senior myself, I believe I’m somewhere in between.
This also means that it is time for juniors and those forward-thinking underclassmen to begin looking towards their future. Sometimes it is difficult to know when the right time is to take the first step in your applications, whether they be for graduate schools or jobs. My aim is to show you how important it is to start early and get ahead on the next chapter of your life with these essential tips:
- Research your options: Take some time to look into the career you see yourself in and what kind of education or experience it requires. From there, you can use the internet to look for programs, internships, or jobs that will suit your purpose the best. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors for suggestions, too! Pay attention to the fine details of finances, deadlines, and benefits in your search. Making a table can help you compare and contrast different opportunities.
Standardized testing: If applying to a graduate program, it may require examinations such as the GRE, MCAT, etc. Schedule an appointment six months in advance to give yourself time to study. You may also want to allot time between your test date and application deadline in order to retake it, if necessary. On a side note, these examinations can be expensive, so it is a great idea to start saving up for them and the application fees that will come along with them.
- Use campus resources: Begin to prepare yourself for the steps in the process by utilizing the many ways UConn offers to help its students. Mock interviews, resume and personal statement critiques, and workshops are available throughout the semester through the Center for Career Development. Paul Gagnon, the Career Consultant specifically for CAHNR/RHSA, is available to answer any questions you may have on career preparation.
- Begin applications early: Whether you are job seeking or applying to graduate school, it is important to give yourself plenty of time to fill out applications. Ask friends, family, and/or faculty to read over important documents, such as your personal statement and resume, in order to gain feedback. Take a moment to get started by reading over the application requirements to ensure that you are adequately prepared.
- Network: Utilize every chance you can to further yourself by connecting with fellow professionals and colleagues through venues such as LinkedIn and Career Night. These can open doors for you in the future and help you figure out who you may want to ask for letters of recommendation
Although graduation may seem far away now, it is always a good idea to get a head start on what is beyond it. By preparing yourself, you will be able to achieve success at UConn and in your future endeavors. Good luck!