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10 Tips to Make the Most of Your Senior Year of College

10 Tips for Senior Year of College

  1. Optimize your schedule
  2. Tackle your college bucket list
  3. Get job application docs in order
  4. Utilize internship opportunities
  5. Soak up student life
  6. Take advantage of on-campus recruiting
  7. Tap into your advisors or mentors
  8. Go back in time
  9. Find out when your student loans enter repayment
  10. Schedule reunions with college friends

By Stephen Sellner | Citizens Bank Staff

Senior year is (somehow) finally here. One year stands between you and the real world.

Now, before you break into a sweat, no — the sky is not falling. There’s a lot to look forward to in young adulthood. The fun doesn’t stop once you return the graduation gown. But by making the most of your senior year, you’ll have the perfect bookend for these incredible four years and be ready to tackle life’s next challenges.

So, what can you do to make the most of college’s last hurrah?

1. Optimize your schedule

This could be your final year of schooling … ever. Is there any topic you’re curious about? Have you ever wanted to learn more about, say, the Vietnam War? See if you can supplement these types of courses with your graduation requirements and classes for your major.

Or, you could optimize your schedule for socializing. Do you want to leave Fridays free so you have plenty of time to hang with friends on Thursday nights and the weekends?

College student playing piano while classmates look on.

Have you always wanted to learn how to play the piano? This could be a good course to take as a senior.

2. Tackle your college bucket list

Does your college have things that every student MUST do? Were there things you told yourself as a freshman you’d do before you graduated but still haven’t gotten around to? Check any of these activities off your college bucket list so you’re not left regretting what you didn’t do!

3. Get job application docs in order

You’ll be applying for jobs before you know it. Have you started putting together your critical documents or other resources for job applications? These could include:

  • Résumé
  • Cover letter
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Recommendations
  • Work samples/portfolio

Have these resources in a good place during senior year so you can start applying for jobs during school or right after graduation. Plus, you can ask a professor to review them for you!

4. Utilize internship opportunities

Does your program have any internship connections? How about co-ops? These are a great way to get exposure to your soon-to-be career field while also adding work experience to your résumé.

5. Soak up student life

Don’t let internships and résumés fool you: you’re still in college. Live like it! Stay out too late, sleep too much (on weekends, of course), and make the most of having a freaking dining hall.

Three friends playing foosball and laughing.

Who cares if you’re not great at foosball? Play anyway!

6. Take advantage of on-campus job recruiting

Does your school host any career fairs? Throw on your best attire, print out some résumés, and start talking to potential employers! Oh, and don’t forget to stock up on swag.

7. Tap into your advisors or mentors

Professors and other mentors are great resources to have as you prepare for the unknown of post-grad life.

What positions are there in your field? What should you look for in an employer? What are good questions to ask in an interview? 

Take full advantage of this access now. You won’t always have this luxury.

8. Go back in time

Let’s get sentimental, shall we?

Take a time machine back to your freshman, sophomore, and junior years. Stop by your freshman dorm and marvel at how young everyone looks! Go back and eat in the dining hall, and sit at that table you and your friends always managed to get. Take a long walk through campus and stop by the buildings where you used to have so many classes. Go through your Facebook and Instagram pictures from freshman year and compare them to the ones you and your friends post now.

This reminiscing is a really fun, emotional, and fulfilling exercise.

Four friends walking with their arms around each other.

You and your college friends have been through a lot during your four years.

9. Find out when your student loans enter repayment

Some or all of your student loans could have a six-month grace period before you need to start repaying. This is ideal because it gives you time to get a job after graduation and make sense of your income before you have a new bill to pay.

Other loans could enter repayment right after graduation. Contact your lender(s) to figure out when your student loans enter repayment.

10. Schedule reunions with college friends

This may be last on the list, but it’s a big one. Figure out a way to stay in touch with your college friends during the summer and beyond. You may have seen these people every day for the past four years, so it can be an adjustment not living with them or hanging out for every meal or weekend. (Unless you live with them after college, in which case, carry on!)

Do some of your friends live far away? Schedule a trip to visit them! You’re bound to have some graduation parties to keep in touch, which is nice, but there’ll be family and lots of other people at those events. Plan a week or weekend where you and your college friends can pick up right where you left off, as if nothing has changed.

What to remember

Senior year is your last opportunity to savor the college life, so make the most of it! That way when you walk across the stage at graduation to get your diploma, you’ll do so with a smile on your face and maybe even a tear in your eye.

More information

Student loan repayment isn’t the most exciting thing about post-grad life, but you can help manage your repayment by refinancing. Learn more about the Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan to see if it could lower your interest rate and monthly payment, or modify your repayment length.

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