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Preparing for Senior Year

The fastest summer ever. Studying for graduate exams, visiting graduate schools, updating resumes and securing letters of recommendation-the list goes on and on.

The summer before senior year is so busy that students may wonder, "Am I really on break?" Nonetheless, it is the best time to prepare for senior year and beyond. To help your student get started, we've compiled a list of suggestions that address post-graduation plans.

  • Seek professional references by compiling a list of three to five professors, mentors, internship advisors and employers who would write strong, positive letters of recommendation. Ask permission first and then follow up by providing them with copies of your updated resume and curriculum vitae.

  • Visit the BW Career Center to utilize resources and meet with a career advisor. Summer months are less busy than the school year and resources are more accessible.

  • Update resume, curriculum vitae and other career profiles. Make sure these are up-to-date and that your Handshake online profile is 100 percent complete, as you are five times more likely to be contacted by an employer if it is. Contact the career center if you need help.

  • Hone interviewing skills by using the BW Career Center Big Interview, an online, simulated mock-interview program. Gain valuable feedback about your interview and additional strategies for success by meeting with a career advisor.

  • Network on and off campus by attending professional conferences, interning and volunteering. Use social media sites like LinkedIn. Expand contacts to include people whose fields directly and peripherally connect to your major or minor.

  • Intern or career shadow to gain multiple and diverse experiences.

Tips for students considering graduate school

  • Consider which degrees interest you.
  • Visit web sites to do a preliminary search of universities offering these degrees.
  • Develop a list of schools that interest you and do further research.
  • Determine tuition, living and other costs associated with the schools you are considering.
  • Learn about each school's assistantship/fellowship opportunities.
  • Investigate financial aid for graduate school.
  • Talk to BW professors about your selection to get their input.
  • Determine which standardized exams are needed then prepare for them.
  • Learn what is a competitive exam score by talking with BW professors or contact each school directly.
  • Register for the exam early because spaces can fill up and to allow time for possible re-testing.
  • If possible, begin writing personal statements.
  • Create a to-do list and timeline for graduate school application and fellowship/assistantship deadlines. Some schools have both graduate school and individual department requirements and deadlines. Most deadlines range from December through February.