Parents & Family

Academics: Focusing on the Future

Graduation is so close and yet so far. For many students, this thought sums up the first semester of junior year. Meaningful coursework coupled with dynamic experiences like internships, service learning and real-world research are exciting and rewarding.

Before long, senior year will be here. Now is the time to plan ahead. The next three semesters are key to your student's preparation for graduate school, employment or other post-graduation opportunities.

By now your student has declared a major. This focus enables him or her to direct coursework, experiential learning and co-curricular involvement to helping build a resume, curriculum vitae and/or career portfolio.

Important academic tips include:

  • Meet with an academic advisor to review coursework. Be sure core, academic major and minor requirements will be met. Discuss plans for a senior thesis, capstone project or independent study, among other topics

  • Make grades a priority. Employers and graduate school staff look at coursework and grades, among other things
  • Begin researching graduate programs if considering that option. Look at the strength of the programs, requirements, deadlines and fees. Even if you plan to accrue employment or other experiences prior to submitting a grad school application, consider taking the Graduate Record Exams during senior year when you are still immersed in your academic work
  • Secure career-related internships for junior and senior years. You should have a minimum of three internships
  • Have one or two career-focused mentors, such as a professor, off-campus internship coordinator and/or an associate in a professional organization
  • Gain as much research, creative and scholarly experiences as possible
  • Volunteer for an organization related to your major or minor, or secure one that enables you to expand your insights and skill set to a new area
  • Consider studying abroad or participating in a domestic program for summer or senior year. You can gain academic credit as well as remarkable, resume-boosting experiences
  • Attend scholarly lectures and programs both on and off campus as a way to increase knowledge, network and accrue a possible internship or employment position
  • Seek opportunities to attend and present papers at scholarly conferences. Look to exhibit or publish creative works in order to build a career portfolio
  • Consider becoming a course assistant or a tutor for the Learning Center as a way to build teaching skills and assist peers