College Checklist: Tips for Every Year

By Lauren Abraham

group of students studying

Being in college is an exciting time, as you are preparing for a successful future. However, between attending classes, keeping up with assignments and taking part in other various activities, it can also be a very busy time. Leading up to graduation, it is important to ensure you are getting the most out of your experience as a student and are prepared to enter the workforce.

This might sound scary, but there are things you can do during your time as a student to make this transition smoothly. Below is a college checklist to take into consideration each year you are in college that will prepare you to find success wherever you go after graduation.

Freshman Year Checklist

Going to new classes, making new friends and possibly being in a different living situation are just some of the things to adjust to during this time. While it may seem like you are just starting out, steps can be taken during your freshman year toward a successful future. First, it is important to ensure you are on the right path. Is your major right for you, and does it lead to a career you are interested in? Do you enjoy what you are learning in your classes? These are all questions to address during this time. Career Services also offers helpful tools that may help guide you in choosing the right major for you.

In addition, this is the time to build your resume and take advantage of the campus experience your school has to offer. Having someone who is knowledgeable review your resume and make suggestions can be extremely helpful in boosting your chances for employment while you are a student or after graduation. If you are interested in working as a student, explore job opportunities on campus, as this is a convenient way to gain valuable work experience.

Sophomore Year Checklist

As a sophomore, it is important to confirm whether or not you are in the right major. Do research about different degrees and what kinds of job opportunities they lead to so that you can determine the right path for you. As most of your classes moving forward will count toward your degree rather than prerequisites, it is important to ensure you are pursuing something you are passionate about.

Additionally, it is important to continue building your resume. A great way to do this is by getting involved on campus and participating in activities that will be of interest to future employers. For example, is there a club you can join on campus? Not only will these activities look great on your resume, but they will also give you networking opportunities.

Junior Year Checklist

During your junior year, it is important to practice your interview skills so that you can put your best self out there when seeking opportunities. Continue building and updating your resume, and when it comes to mastering your interview skills, practice makes perfect!

You should also consider what your next step after graduation will be and whether or not you are prepared. For example, if you are wanting to apply for graduate school, it is important to make sure you meet the guidelines, such as having a certain grade point average. This is also a great time to seek internships, which will give you a feel for what working in a certain field is like.

Senior Year Checklist

Your last year in college is a critical time to finalize your career plan. Take advantage of your university’s resources by meeting with a career advisor to discuss your plans and receive valuable advice about how to achieve your goals. Take steps such as ordering personalized business cards in order to network in your field, and when it comes to the job hunt, do plenty of research about what you are looking for and how to apply. Online websites such as LinkedIn are a great way to network and seek opportunities.

Finally, as a graduate, join your school’s alumni group in order to keep the connections you made during your time as a student. You never know what opportunities may arise!

College is a time in life to discover yourself and find what you are passionate about. It is important to be proactive by taking advantage of available resources and looking ahead. By following this college checklist, you may be better equipped to transition into a purposeful career and find satisfying employment.

Grand Canyon University’s Career Services provides students with the resources, professional knowledge and support needed to be successful after graduation. To learn more about receiving a degree from GCU, visit the GCU website.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.