What’s Next? A To-Do List for College Graduates
Once your post-graduation rush subsides, it’s time to start thinking about how to get the most out of your new degree. Even if you’re a college graduate with a job already lined up, there are still decisions to make, and there’s a lot you can do to organize and prepare for the next chapter of your life.
There’s a reason it’s called a Master’s degree. Graduate school can make you an expert in your chosen field, and if your dream job requires a Master’s you may want to get started right away. If you’re a lifelong learner, an advanced degree can be hard to resist. But it’s important to do your homework. Research the ways graduate school can help your career, and ask yourself if this is the right time to pursue your Master’s.
If your goal has been to earn a promotion or put your recently acquired skills to work in a new career, then you’ll need a strategy to conquer the job market. College graduates know all about goal-setting, so sit down and map out your personal action plan. Once you know where you want to go, take advantage of your alma mater’s career services department. This service can be a great help if you’re struggling with your resume or if you’re just looking for some coaching and interview practice.
Sometimes getting the job you want is all about who you know, so it’s important to build up a strong network of contacts. Make connections on LinkedIn and look for groups that you can join – preferably groups within your chosen career field. Again, your alma mater may become your best resource, as many schools host alumni events or work with companies to get resumes in the hands of hiring managers. Ashford University’s Hire A Champ program is an example of the latter.
Managing your Loans
This item is something you don’t want to slip through the cracks. Just as you’re making plans for your career, you should make a plan for repaying your student loans. Everyone’s financial situation is different, but here are some resources that can help you manage:
- How to Repay Your Loans: The U.S. Department of Education website can walk you through the process, and help you choose the right repayment plan.
- The College Graduate’s Guide to Managing Money and Debt: This Forbes article has advice to help you get started, along with tips for tax season and becoming financially literate.
- How to Stay on Top of Your Federal Loans: This Forward Thinking article explains how a student loan can be a form of “good” debt and offers tips to help you keep track of your loans.
Looking for more post-graduation advice? Here are eight tips on keeping your budget under control once you finish school.
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Written by Jason R. Latham, Content Manager for Bridgepoint Education.