So You’re a Senior…Now What?

By: Amelia Rose Zimlich | Editor in Chief |

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Senior year is…a lot. At times, it can be exhilarating, and then there are days where seniors think, “What in the world am I doing?!”

To make this final year a little easier, here is a list of things seniors should do their last semester:

  1. Visit Career Services

Career Services helps students prepare for the professional world. From interview guidance to resume tips, students can take advantage of the office’s many resources to maximize the chances of getting hired after graduation.

“As a senior, it is not uncommon to still have questions about your career path and how you will use your degree in your future,” said Career Services Director Bevley Green. “Career Services is available to speak to students wherever they might be in their career development process, and we are able to provide guidance in clarifying their interests, goals and in identifying career or graduate and professional school options.”

Career Peer Champions are staples of the office. They are undergraduate students ready to assist their peers with career questions, give advice and help them prepare for interviews.

“Mock interviews can help students identify what they need to work on before their interview and will help them answer common interview questions that they might be worried about,” said Career Peer Champion Olivia Phillips. “This will help them during their real interviews for jobs following graduation or any post-graduate schools.”

“It can be overwhelming to prepare for graduation and start applying for full-time careers in your major,” said Adam Barnes, coordinator of Career Services. “Let Career Services help you get ready by meeting with a career advisor often to discuss your job search action plan.”

2. Start job hunting

Job hunting is a significant task many students undertake during senior year. Setting up a Handshake account and making connections on LinkedIn can help students expand their circle of professional contacts. Attending networking events and career fairs lets employers meet and get to know students in person.

Career Services recommends students start their job hunt six months before graduation.

“Rarely will you apply and immediately have a call back saying you’re hired,” said Barnes. “You will need to apply, wait to hear back, interview – possibly multiple times – and wait to hear back again before finding out if you are being brought on, which can all take weeks to complete.”

The office also advises students to create an action plan for their job search to get the best results and avoid burnout.

“Finding positions and applying for them can feel like a full-time job,” said Barnes. “Consider having job search days and job application days to help you maximize your time and only apply for positions you are really interested in.”

3. Order regalia

If participating in the 2022 Commencement ceremony, seniors need to order regalia for graduation by March 31. Students will need to place an order and keep an eye on their email for their pickup time at the Campus Bookstore.

Feeling lucky (and maybe a little broke)? The Student Government Association (SGA) is hosting a drawing to win free regalia! Enter the drawing by Feb. 14 to potentially win free regalia!

“Becoming a USA alumni and walking the stage to get your diploma is a celebratory time highlighting what all one has accomplished as a Jaguar,” said SGA President Grace Sekaya. “The costs associated with applying for graduation and purchasing regalia may be a burden for some students, so the undergraduate regalia drawing is a way to help lighten the load for students.”

4. Apply to graduate school

Not every senior goes straight into a career after undergrad. Students considering graduate school should consider applying as a senior.

Checking the application deadlines for each department will ensure that students submit an application on time. If students are interested in graduate school but aren’t positive if it’s the right choice, submit an inquiry form and take a look at the program listing or email questions to to learn more about graduate school and different programs.

5. Stay focused on classes

With job hunting, graduation excitement and a little senioritis along the way, classes seem to be the last thing on seniors’ minds. But students should try to stay motivated to finish their last semester strong.

There are several reasons to pay attention during class, including keeping a good GPA, learning skills to help you after graduation and finishing your required courses. And it could potentially make a direct impact on your future. Besides being knowledgeable about the courses they teach, professors often have unique insights into the professional world – and can help students with career goals.

“Ensure that you have solidified relationships with your instructors,” said Green. “Faculty members are instrumental in providing advice on graduate school, providing letters of recommendation and serving as employment references.”