Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Preparing for Your First Year at College in Pursuit of Your Future Career Path

Now that it’s the end of April and most college-bound high school seniors know where they’re going next year, it’s a good time to start planning for what you’re going to do once you reach the campus.

Of course you’re going to register for and attend classes, check out the parties, find the best places for off-campus food, maybe even meet with your college course advisor. Yet what are you going to do about working on your path through life?

Now don’t groan. I know you’ve just finished the hassle of applying to colleges and you deserve some downtime. Yet if you do a little pre-planning before you arrive on campus, your next four years and beyond in the job market could be easier.

First, have you updated by email everyone who helped you in your college application process, especially people outside your school who wrote recommendation letters for you? These people would probably like to know where you’ll be going next year. And in the case where it’s to a school to which they wrote a recommendation letter, be sure to thank them for their part in your acceptance. This is both a polite thing to do and a good strategic move in case you want another recommendation letter from them in the future.

Second, check online to find out the location of your college’s career center. Read online what’s listed as available for freshmen. (I’m not talking about deciding your major or your career path now, I’m talking about knowing what resources are available.) And then plan to stop by the career center during freshman orientation or the first weeks of school to pick up pamphlets and other information about possible opportunities.

Third, consider in your summer plans whether you have time to explore a possible new passion or interest – something that you might want to pursue while at college and beyond. For example, your passion up to now has been music, and you’ve done a great deal in the music field. Yet you’re also interested in the subject of biology. Why not try for a short summer internship or work experience in the vast field of biology? This way, when you visit your college’s career center in the fall, you’ll have two possible areas of interest to explore.

As with many things in life, the better prepared you are the more you can expect to achieve.

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