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Navigating the Final Semester of Undergrad

Are you in your final semester of your undergraduate degree and unsure about the future? Are you having a hard time finding that “perfect” career to start upon graduation? Are you trying to decide whether you want to go back to school before starting a career? Use these tips to clarify your goals as you wrap up your final semester of college.

Tip #1: Sit down and write / document one goal you’d like to accomplish by the end of the semester. It can be easy to get lost and forget that college is a vehicle for your future while you’re still a student. Setting a goal and working at it will allow you to focus on the most important thing – that is, school — and set boundaries for what you can and cannot do.

Tip #2: If you’re looking for a job in corporate America, leverage the resources around you. Most schools have a career center that helps students get a post-graduation job. If you’ve never set foot in their office, now is the best time to do it. Set an appointment, write down your goal from Tip #1, and print a copy of your resume so they can help you identify career paths and areas for improvement that match your interests. In addition, Chicago Scholars is a great resource  — we have people at every level of the organization who are ready to help you. Contact us any time to see how we can help!

Tip #3: If you’re looking for a role in research, talk to someone who is already in the field. Depending on your major and the kind of research you want to do, you may want to search for opportunities around some target fields of interest. In addition, you will also want to identify people within your immediate network (alumni of your university, peers in your class, or members of a similar organization) that are doing what you want and ask them how they did it. The answer could be as simple as a pipeline program or a mutual connection that you regularly engage with.

Tip #4: Thinking about graduate school? Map out a plan of attack. Graduate school can be a daunting idea if you’re the first in your family to pursue it. Nevertheless, it is important when going after a higher degree to have a plan. Start by writing down your top five to ten schools you would go to if money wasn’t an issue. Then, research and list the program you would enroll in at each of those schools. Next, you’ll want to look on the school websites to see if they have university or program specific events coming up that you can attend. Make time to learn about the school and whether it is a good fit for you. Make sure you keep a calendar of application deadlines and begin to gather the materials you’ll need to submit.

Tip #5: Your path is yours! Do not compare it to someone else’s. Everyone that exists can achieve their purpose and make an impact on the lives of others. If things do not work out exactly as you planned them, do not worry. Take one step at a time, one day at a time, and you’ll find a path that makes sense for you.

Kevin Banks, Jr.

Manager of Corporate Partnerships