Getting accepted into college is exciting and causes a wave of emotions for every future college student. There are so many things to learn before you get to college, so it’s wise to reach out to recent college grads and ask them about things they wish they knew before graduating college. Here are the top 10 things College Raptor wants you to know before graduating college!
10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Graduating College
1. Start Applying for Jobs Early
Applying for jobs early is super important for soon-to-be college grads. The job market is always changing so getting ahead will prevent you from stressing out about finding a job after you’ve already graduated. When you start applying for jobs early, you’ll learn how to interview better and be more comfortable throughout the whole process.
2. Network with More People
It is often said that your professional and personal network can be as valuable as your degree. When you interact with the same people all throughout college, you may miss your chance to meet people that can change the trajectory of your life. But how do you even network?
First, you need to join clubs at your school. There are academic clubs, recreational clubs, and more! Check out your school’s club directory to see what’s available for students like you. Second, you need to go to your professor’s office hours to introduce yourself and ask about opportunities they may know of for your future career. Even if they can’t help you themselves, they may refer you to someone else.
Networking doesn’t stop when you leave campus! Talk with people at your job, local coffee shop, and anywhere else you might frequent. Building meaningful relationships may benefit you later on in life!
3. Entry-Level Doesn’t Always Mean Entry Level
It’s sad to say, but when you’re on your job search you may see that a job is described as entry-level, but it’s not. Don’t be discouraged by this though! It’s common for people to apply for jobs they’re not completely qualified for and we encourage recent grads to do the same. A lot of jobs will say they require a few years of experience even though it says it’s an entry-level job (with entry-level pay).
“ I only had some work experience in high school, working at a local smoothie shop, so my resume wasn’t long. I began applying for jobs the semester before I was going to graduate and was very discouraged by the entry-level job descriptions. Entry-level doesn’t always mean entry-level is one of the things I wish I knew before graduating college.”
4. Learn to Embrace Rejection
Rejection in any area of your life is difficult to deal with. Learn to embrace rejection while you’re in this phase of life. Rejection isn’t always personal, but one way to look at it is you’re one “no” closer to a “yes” that could change your career! Every job and scholarship you apply to isn’t going to be yours and that’s okay. When you learn to embrace rejection early, you’ll stop getting disappointed when you don’t get what you wanted.
5. Get a Hobby
Academics are so important to focus on while you’re in college, but so is your personal development. Getting a hobby can help you destress and focus on something other than your schoolwork as a college student. It’s great to be able to relax and learn something new instead of always studying or going to class. Check out your local community center or join a fun club to find a hobby that is right for you. Whether you start tennis, crocheting, or yoga, there will be something that sparks your interest.
6. You Have to Pay Back Your Student Loans
When you take out student loans, you know that you have to pay them back, but the repayment date can creep up on you when you graduate college. Depending on which type of student loan (or loans) you took out, your repayment date can start while you’re in college or a few months afterward.
A lot of newly graduated students don’t account for their repayment when creating their “adult budget” and it can take a hit on your finances and credit score. Before you graduate, look at the actual number of loans you need to pay back and see what your monthly payments will be like so you can prepare yourself once you graduate.
“I took out student loans while I was in college to help pay for my tuition and rent. I didn’t fully understand how the interest accrued and was surprised by the balance I had on my account. I am the first person in my family to go to college so it was shocking to see that much debt under my name. I panicked after I graduated but was able to talk to a financial advisor about how to repay my loans in a smart way. My student loan journey was something I wish I knew before graduating college.”
7. Be Active on LinkedIn
Even if you’re not active on normal social media, creating a LinkedIn account can open a lot of doors for recent college graduates. Use it to your advantage to look for jobs and network with others online. You can find jobs ranging from all levels of experience, and you can connect with people from all over the world. It’s a great tool to have when you’re searching for jobs and internships. You can create one for free or use the premium version.
8. Learn How to Budget
Budgeting, while you’re in college, is important, but learning how to budget when you graduate is even more important! You need to learn how to use your money wisely, especially if you just started your job. Repaying your student loans and investing in your retirement will have better results when you start at an early age. If you aren’t financially literate, seek professional help from a financial advisor so you can create a budget that’s foolproof and tailored to you.
9. Your World Views Might Change
As you go through college, you may find yourself questioning a lot of things you thought you knew before. Something that college students wish they knew before graduating is how different they would see the world after spending a few years away from home and around so many different people. It can be difficult to challenge your current beliefs but very important for you to grow as a person.
10. Keep Up with Your Mental and Physical Health
Your college years can put your physical and mental health to the test. Once you graduate college, it’s important to keep your mental and physical health in check as you embark on the new journey of adulthood. Exercise frequently, eat fruits and vegetables, and have a healthy outlet for destressing. Everyone talks about your health while you’re in college but no one talks about the importance of it after you graduate!
Ask recent college graduates what they wish they knew before graduating college and we’re sure they’ll agree with ours! Show yourself some grace during this transition period and embrace becoming an adult. One day, you’ll be sharing the things you wish you knew before graduating college with incoming freshmen.