The start of senior year comes loaded with pressure; even if you’re planning to go to grad school, senior year still may be your last chance to spend time with your college friends, get involved on campus and enjoy all of the advantages that come with being an undergraduate student. Whether you’re reluctant to leave the campus bubble or counting down the days, make sure you don’t allow the opportunities at your university pass you by.
In addition to enjoying time with your friends and potentially reveling in the freedom of your schedule before you commit yourself to a full-time job, your senior year is also prime time to take advantage of all those resources that your school boasts, but that you may have taken for granted or ignored during your first three years. To make the most of your senior year, be sure to pay attention to some of the following benefits that you have as a student.
Once you graduate, you’ll no longer be able to enjoy the benefit of the student discounts that you have access to now, both on-campus and elsewhere. Seize the opportunity to book cheap airfare with websites such as StudentUniverse by taking a last trip with your friends during spring break. Enjoy your Amazon Prime Student account, and shop at a discount on sites like UniDays, which offers students lower prices for a variety of brands. If there’s any possibility that you may go to grad school in the future and will want to take a class to prepare for your admissions test, take a prep class now so that you can receive a reduced rate; as prep courses are expensive, this can actually save you a lot of money.
College students also receive a lot of opportunities to attend events at reduced prices, or even for free, and it’s easy to become so accustomed to these discounts that you don’t even realize how much you benefit from them. This typically applies to sports games and guest lectures, and may extend to plays, concerts and other entertainment as well. Pay attention to the events that your university holds, as this is the last time that you’ll be able to attend them without paying full price; this is a great chance to form some end-of-college memories as well.
Once you graduate, you’ll no longer have easy access to groups of likeminded people who you can spend time with discussing certain issues or topics. For this reason, though you may be tempted, senior year is not the time to slack off in your extracurricular involvement. Make an effort to attend all of your club meetings and participate in as many extracurricular events as you can. If there’s a club that you’re interested in but never got around to joining, don’t be afraid to do so during your last year. You still have time to make new friends and have some valuable experiences before you graduate, and you’ll be better off making the most of your extracurriculars this year rather than not doing so and regretting it later.
Even though you’re in the homestretch of your educational career, senior year is your last opportunity to increase your GPA. Your GPA is going to prove especially important if you’re planning to apply to grad school at some point in the future, whether it’s immediately following graduation or a few years down the road. Attend office hours, go to free tutoring sessions and check out the on-campus writing center. Even if you’re not intending to go to grad school, sharpening your academic skills and finishing your last year strong will definitely help you in the professional world.
If you haven’t already formed a relationship for some of your professors, senior year is your last chance to do so. Your professors are great resources not just for help in your classes, but for general aid as well. They can give you career advice that might be more personalized that what you’d find in a career center, given they’ve hopefully gotten to know you more personally. If you have a specific professional goal in mind, or are thinking about a grad school program, and want to know more, your professors can also put you in contact with some prior students of theirs who have gone into that field or program.
Graduate School Info Sessions
Even if you’re not planning to go to grad school right after you graduate, if you’re even considering it, you’ll receive a huge benefit from attending any information sessions that your university holds concerning these programs. In addition to learning about how to apply, you can also find out some useful information about what graduate programs are actually like; this, in turn, will help you solidify your decision whether or not to go in the future. If you’re able to obtain this information now, you’ll be more motivated and prepared to apply for grad school once you’re ready.
If you don’t already have plans for what you’re going to be doing after graduation, now is the time to be making them. This will be your last chance to attend some of those extremely convenient career fairs that your college hosts right on campus. While you may be able to attend other career fairs in the future, they’ll never be as accessible as they are right now. Take the time to network in between classes, and hand out as many résumés as you can. Hopefully, this will bring you one step closer to ensuring that you actually do have a job to look forward to following your graduation.
Similarly, if your university has a career center, become a regular visitor. Have an advisor read over your résumé before you send it out to ensure that it’s in top shape as you enter the career world, and try to get all of your questions answered concerning the job application process. You can also pick up some interview tips, and may even be able to have a mock interview with an advisor so you can get some practice and feedback early on; this way, you’ll know exactly what to expect as you enter your job search.