Preparing For Next Year
Summer can be the perfect time for students to jump-start their junior year by organizing and prioritizing aspects of their college lives.
As coursework and co-curricular involvement demands intensify and the need to focus on resume-boosting initiatives increases, students can feel overwhelmed by juggling too many roles and responsibilities. Before junior and senior year overload sets in, students should do a quick inventory of their college lives—keep what is useful, discard what is expendable and add what is needed.
The following suggestions can help your student get started:
Stay on Track by Continuing to:
- Check your Academic Program Evaluation (the "eval" is a profile of a student's academic progress that includes courses taken, credits earned and grades) to be sure you are on track with your Graduation Plan.
- Update your resume, curriculum vitae and portfolio.
- Consider the importance of summer school as a way to ease next year's course load and fulfill credit hours towards the core.
- Seek experiential learning opportunities, such as internships, service learning, research initiatives, independent studies, Explorations/Study Abroad.
- Build leadership skills by assuming positions with greater responsibility in co-curricular and community activities.
Discard Practices that Include:
- Continuing to participate in on- and off-campus activities that don't interest you anymore or that don't offer you opportunities for growth, networking or other personal, professional or social benefits.
- Enrolling in courses for the sole purpose of being "schedule fillers." Carefully choose courses for career relevance, skill/insight building, interest or pleasure.
- Relying on friends for advice when picking courses and/or professors as a way to replicate their good or avoid their disappointing experiences. Recognize that perspectives can differ among individuals.
- Staying with familiarity when picking courses, Explorations/Study Abroad locations, co-curricular involvement and other opportunities. Stepping out of one's comfort zone can be a great learning experience.
- Viewing summer as a time away from college. Instead, consider these 15 weeks to be a third semester that allows you to further build your personal, professional and career-focused insights and skills.
- Avoiding campus. Summer is an excellent time to visit the Career Services Office to meet with an advisor as well as to do research through the CareerPlace Library.
Look Ahead By Deciding to:
- Research fellowships, graduate programs and other scholarly/service opportunities if you don't plan to look for employment immediately upon graduation.
- Review study guides for whichever graduate-level standardized exam (e.g., GRE, GMAT, GED, LSAT, MCAT, DAT) you plan to take.
- Join a professional society and read publications in your career field as a way to identify and stay current with issues impacting your intended profession. These also facilitate networking and becoming aware of internship/job opportunities.
- Strengthen your skills in writing, public speaking, leadership, organizational management and interpersonal communication as a way to impress potential employers and graduate school personnel. Talk with your academic advisor about courses and activities that can help you enhance these competencies.
- Brainstorm topics for senior thesis/capstone projects, independent studies and/or research projects. Keep a list you can review at a later date—when the busy school year gets underway and time and/or ideas may be limited.
- Enroll in BW summer courses as a way to ease course load, fulfill core requirements and sample new subject matter. Many students also find they can boost their GPA by having more time to study in a relaxed manner.