Graduated from college, now what?
It is safe to say that after college there are two kinds of people:
- Those who already know what they are going to do next.
- Those who have no idea whatsoever of what their next step is supposed to be.
In my case, I used to be part of the second category. For some reason, I have never really thought that one day I would ever stop going to a classroom. That was the only thing that I have ever known and that was the only thing that I thought I wanted to keep doing.
If you're part of the first category, then congratulations, you have postponed this process for at least one year.
In order to be part of the first category, you need to be preparing for this way in advance:
Going to Grad School:
I. Do Your Research:
All the information that you need is available online. Every school has a user-friendly website in which you can find all the material related to the programs they offer. If you want to get into the best-ranked universities in the world, every year there is a list you can find online. Also, there are rankings based solely on programs colleges offer. Whether it's the school's ranking or the program's ranking that most grasps your attention, every detail is out there and accessible for free.
For every program that you are interested in, the school would share the requirements in terms of documents you need to provide, minimum scores you need to have, and tuition fees. Generally, they ask for your undergraduate transcripts, GMAT/GRE scores, TOEFL or IELTS if your first language is not English, letter of motivation, and letters of recommendation.
II. Test Preparation:
During your last year of undergrad, prepare for tests that will get you into your schools of interest:
GMAT: For those who want to pursue graduate studies in business.
GRE: A test generally accepted by different graduate programs.
LSAT: If you want to get into a law school.
MCAT: In case you were interested in pursuing medical studies.
IELTS/TOEFL: For those whose first language is not English.
Please remember that there are deadlines for your score submissions depending on the university you want to apply to.
III. Tuition Fees and Living Expenses:
In the case where you have a decent amount of money already stacked up at the bank, you do not have to worry about your tuition fees and living expenses.
If you want to go to the United States for education and you don't have a problem spending at least $50,000 in tuition fees + $ 1,500 minimum monthly living expenses, then money shouldn't be a concern. The same thing applies to a majority of business schools in Europe.
However, if you feel like this is out of your budget range, then you can still apply for scholarships or financial aid. Depending on the country you want to pursue your education in, there are cheaper options; especially if you want to go to the Scandinavian countries. You just need to cover your living expenses.
You can study in countries like Norway, Germany, Finland, Sweden for a small portion of the price especially if you want to study engineering.
Do not omit the plane ticket expense as well as the cost of insurance. In some cases, students also have to take into account the student visa application expense.
Applying to Jobs:
If you start applying to job offers during your last semester of college, you may find yourself directly in an entry-level job position right after graduation. Or, if you have conducted an internship with a company before for at least 6 months, they might consider you for a full-time position directly after you finish your degree.
You can also utilize your school's alumni network and get in touch with people who work at the companies of your interest to discuss the possibility of having an interview.
Keep in mind that you can also get a part-time or full-time job position at your university as well. Some professors are always in need of research assistants so do not disregard the possibility of being able to work with them.
If you're part of the second category and do not have a plan or do not know what you want to do right after, there is no reason to panic or stress/torture yourself. One thing you have that the others don't is TIME. You have time to figure out who you really are and who you want to be. Once you get into grad school or get a job, you don't have as much liberty to try new things or experience new things. Especially when you work at least 40 hours a week. Your whole time is spent doing a task that maybe you have no interest in and at the end of the day you are probably tired with nothing in mind but resting.
So take advantage of this free time that you have and do what excites you most. Travel, try a new hobby, start a hustle, read books, start practicing some sports; discover who you really are and what you want to become.
If you think that you are short of money then there is always still time to apply for jobs. The job market is huge, and even if you get rejected by thousands of companies, there will undoubtedly be at least one that would want to hire you. Do not get discouraged. This is the game of life and you have to fight tooth and nail to get what you truly want.
You can also use this time to prepare for the tests that you want to take in order to get into a school of your choice the year after. You do not have to be doing the same things as everybody else. Just because something works for someone doesn't mean that it's going to work for everyone.
Utilize this time to come up with a plan that you think best suits your desires and needs, and then spend the rest of your life pursuing it.
Slow down, take some time to breathe, love yourself, be yourself, everything is going to be okay. Sometimes things have to be bad before they get to be good. Live your life one day at a time.
I believe in you!