TEN TIPS FOR COLLEGE SENIORS

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1. Exploit your status. Many internships and scholarships are aimed exclusively at graduating seniors. Seek these out, since you're eligible only once and the competition is narrower than awards aimed at the general college population. Look to the resources available on your campus and Fraternity service center.

2. Take academic risks. If you've fulfilled most of your requirements, choose electives that you're curious about but haven't explored. Education should challenge you; it should take you beyond the familiar. Do you like to take pictures? Sign up for a photography class. You might try that film-making course you've had your eye on, or beginning Russian. But check with your advisor on remaining credits and requirements. Many of these events or activities would fit nicely as a life skill in your portfolio.

3. Set priorities. It's easy to feel like you have to cram everything into your last year. You'll end up miserable if you do. Try to strike a balance between making the most of your remaining time and recognizing your limits. You can't sign up for every course in the catalog while directing the annual musical and running for student council (although people have tried). Set academic and personal goals in your portfolio. Then, follow-up.

For your academic schedule, opt for a lighter, though more adventurous, academic load if possible. If you take a lighter load, you’ll probably be happy because you’ll have more time to focus on your senior thesis, extracurricular interests and just relaxing. Accept that you’re not going to accomplish everything before you graduate; instead, concentrate on what you can do. Such as...
4. Spend time with friends goofing off. Besides being more fun than literary theory, they’re crucial to your mental well-being. No matter how good your school’s counseling facilities, friends and Fraternity brothers are probably your best support system, especially during this pivotal time. Your peers may also be your best teachers. Remember: Your classes end in May; your friendships and Fraternity experiences do not. Get in as much time as you can with friends and Fraternity brothers now, before everyone scatters. (Then get a good long-distance phone plan.)

5. Take advantage of your school’s non-academic resources while you still can. If you’re interested in radio, deejay for the college station. Consider this a last-ditch effort to beef up your résumé or simply an opportunity to explore possibilities that might not come up after graduation. Look at your portfolio and fill in the gaps. How can you be become a more well-rounded individual? Take a chance and try something new. After you graduate, the chance may no longer be available.

6. Visit your school’s career center — in the fall. You may hate the idea, but flipping through a few job guides won’t kill you, and it could save you a lot of time come June. Keep in mind that application due dates for graduate studies, internships and jobs often come up several months before the actual programs begin. Even if you don’t know what you want to do, you’ll get an idea of what’s out there, what interests you and how you can prepare. Identify the deadlines and jot them down in your planner.

7. Ask for recommendations from professors and alumni. You may not be applying to graduate schools now, but if you change your mind later, you’ll have your recommendation letters ready to go. Find out if your school will keep a file for you, which you can dig into after graduation — this can potentially save you a ton of time. Additionally, the work that you’ll do to provide detail in your portfolio will help you with the applications that you’ll fill out later.

8. Consider teaching abroad after graduation. Many international English-speaking schools all over the globe hire recent graduates. For those even slightly interested in teaching, this is a great way to gain some experience and see the world. The pay is often minimal, so don’t expect to turn a profit.

9. Consider the less trodden path. If the idea of an office job makes you queasy, don’t do it! There are alternatives. Work as a Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, be a berry-picker on an organic farm or an outdoor tour leader. Counter academic burnout with fresh scenery, away from the paper shuffle. Check out the “alternative work” guides in your bookstore’s career section.

10. Don’t underestimate the task ahead — to graduate. If you slide too much on your classes, you may end up with two senior years. Though, in the scheme of life, that might not be such a bad thing.
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    Adapted from Lambda Chi Alpha - Fraternity Manuals (2008) From the World Wide Web: http://www.fraternitymanuals.com/index.php?titleLambda_Chi_Alpha