Graduating from college is a big deal—it’s one of the first big steps you take into the adult world. It’s exciting, a little scary, and a little sad, all at the same time. Maybe you know what you will do after graduation, or maybe you’re like me who is graduating in May and is still figuring it out. Whatever your plan is, here are some steps to take to prepare to (sadly) say goodbye to WSU and hello to your next chapter.
Step 1: Check Your DARS
I can’t express the importance of this first step enough. You should not only check your DARS but understand what it’s telling you about your degree completion. I didn’t fully understand my DARS until the first week of my last semester began.
Although I completed all the requirements for my major and minor, I still had 13 unfulfilled credits for my general education. What I thought was going to be a light last semester of only 4 credits turned into a workload of 18 to fulfill those extra credits!
Don’t make the same mistake I made—be confident that you understand your DARS. And if you have questions about it, ask your advisor.
Long story short, there shouldn’t be a red slice on your DARS pie chart. And if there is, a requirement is not met. The tell-tale sign that you are ready to graduate is if your DARS says “All requirements are completed – in progress courses used.” If you see this message, you are on the right track!
You will also want to make sure you are meeting all of the other graduation requirements, which you can view in the WSU catalog.
Step 2: Apply for Graduation
Once you know you’re ready to graduate, you would ideally want to fill out a graduation application once you register for your last semester. Otherwise, be sure to apply for graduation before the deadline in March.
The application will not take long—5 minutes, tops! So don’t think you need to set aside a large chunk of time to complete it. You are also able to go back and edit any information you need to or even withdraw the application if something comes up. So just like a lot of things in life, your graduation application is not set in stone.
Step 3: Explore Post-Graduation Options
If you know what you are going to do after you graduate, I applaud you! However, not everyone does—and that’s ok! People often go their entire lives asking themselves what they want to do when they “grow up,” and people often change their plans multiple times. While the future is uncertain, one thing to be aware of are your post-grad options.
If you haven’t already, I would recommend setting up a LinkedIn account or navigating job search sites like Handshake to get an idea of the kind of jobs out there for new graduates. Career Services also offers many helpful resources to check out that can help you find internships, full-time employment, or even help you prepare for graduate school—if that’s something you could see yourself doing.
While my post-graduation plan is still a mystery, I have taken some time to put myself out there in the professional world by creating a LinkedIn account. Although currently no employers have begged me for an interview, I feel that it is still important to be aware of the types of people companies are looking for, and one way for you to get noticed is to put your skills and accomplishments out there. It’s also important to take time and search around on these types of networking sites. You never know who or what you will discover.
Career Services will also be my next stop. I plan on searching through some of their online resources, and maybe even getting into contact with them to get some advice on companies I could explore.
Step 4: Enjoy Your Last Few Months of College
This fourth step is bittersweet. You’ve likely made some great memories and have met some really great people during your time at WSU, but now you need to prepare to take a separate path. This can be hard, and even transitioning from the student lifestyle can be difficult. But this shouldn’t stop you from making the most of your last few months as an undergrad.
My advice would be to try and do something that you never did all four years. Maybe participate in a small campus project or be a participant in a student or faulty-led study. You’ll get the chance to make one last impact on campus before you go!
If you are graduating this spring—or any time soon when you are reading this—I hope these four steps will help prepare you for your graduation from WSU. Whatever your post-graduation plan is, enjoy the last leg of your undergrad journey!
Authored by Anjuli Harris
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