How to Prepare Yourself for College

Senior year can be a a lot of things: exciting, sad, tedious, terrifying. It can be all of this and a lot more, senior year is both tough and liberating.

But as summer winds down and you find yourself staring down the barrel of your last year at school, there’s a lot you can do to prepare yourself for college once you get that diploma you’ve worked so hard for. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but they simply don’t hand you a sweet job along with that diploma once you graduate. I wish it were the case, but that’s the reality.

So what can you do to make the most of your last year, how can you prepare yourself for college, and put yourself in a position to get to where you want to be?

Internships

If you haven’t had one by now, it’s high time you did. Paid or unpaid, internships are a great way to get ready to hit the job market running. They’re great for boosting your resumé, getting hands-on experience, and giving you a small sample of what life is like beyond academia.

A lot of programs in college facilitate internships for students in their field, so finding them can be quite easy. If not, check with your student adviser to see what’s available.

Speaking of a Resumé…

These are important. It may seem ridiculous to you (it still does to me) but the better polished and better written these things are, the further they can take you in terms of finding a great career. There’s a reason people obsess over them and over every tiny detail from word choice to text placement on the page.

If you don’t have one, start putting one together. If you’re unsure how to go about creating one, there’s countless websites and tutorials out there designed to point you in the right direction. I also think an even better source would be your school’s writing center, if it has one. A lot of universities have free writing labs to help you with just about anything, from papers to resumés.

If you do have one, make sure it’s updated, polished, and proofread.

Clean Up your Social Media  

This one is perhaps almost always overlooked, but it is one of the most important things you should be thinking about when considering how to prepare yourself for college. Believe it or not, and unfortunately in some cases, potential employers can and will try to get a sense of job candidates by scouring their web footprint. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., all of the places you have a presence online can be found and to some extent, seen.

Make sure your privacy settings are air-tight, or even better, start shedding some of the embarrassing photos or posts to present a more professional face to the world. Unfortunately, college is over, so those pictures at wild parties or bar crawls need not apply.

Lastly, create a Linkedin account. It’s an online portfolio/resume/business card that carries a lot of professional weight and is highly respected.

Line up Recommendations

There’s a reason you want your professors to love you come senior year. They hold the key to providing an essential part of the next step of life: letters of recommendation.

What professors or instructors have to say about you can go a long way in convincing potential employers of your value to their organization. It can also be a deciding factor in getting into the graduate school of your choice.

Most times professors don’t mind providing a letter if they know you’ve put in the work and will reflect well on them. And if they do give you one, say thank you!

Learning how to prepare yourself for college and beyond can be daunting. But with a little planning and foresight, you can put yourself in a position to succeed no matter what that chapter holds.

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Jared Gerling

Jared Gerling

Jared Gerling earned his BA from Michigan State University. Jared has been writing since he was eleven when all his characters had swords and magic spells and bad attitudes. When not writing or studying, he can be found watching Spartan football and basketball games, reading, or working out. Jared currently lives in Chicago pursuing his MA in Writing in Publishing from DePaul University.
Jared Gerling

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