Success: How to Prepare for Life After UC Davis

10 Steps Every Student Should Take to Prepare for GraduationFor many graduating UC Davis students, life after UC Davis is scary, maybe because you’re leaving your amazing Davis apartment with Tandem, right?   But to ease your fears, we’ve got a great collection of post UC Davis tips from around the web.

First from the Huffington Post, we’ve got How to Mentally Prepare for Life After College. One of our favorite tips:2014-11-05-4204877203_d5fd1afc02_o.jpg

On having it all figured out

There is a pressure to have your ducks in all a row by graduation. Try not to let this get to you (though it inevitably will at times). It’s okay to have some ducks slightly askance.

When most students graduate from college, they’re still in their early twenties. In other words, they haven’t even lived a third of their lives yet. To have the details figured out (What jobs will I work throughout my career? When will I figure out my greater purpose? When will I “settle down?”) is extremely difficult, if not impossible. Life is constantly in flux.

Consider an approach that embraces this likelihood of change, and observe that over which you have control and that over which you don’t. Opportunities and setbacks alike present themselves in unexpected forms, and have a ripple-effect of change. Rather than place your energy towards acquiring a specific job, focus that energy on acquiring the skills and growing existing talents to steer you in the desired direction. While you have considerable control over what skills and talents you foster, you have less control over when opportunities arise and what types are available (unless you decide to create your own).

Each day presents new challenges, opportunities and insight into who we are as individuals. Our goals get adjusted accordingly — what we dreamt for yesterday may well change tomorrow, we may need to pivot unexpected or take a road less traveled, and that’s okay. It’s all part of the growth process.

Next, offers very practical tips in What College Seniors Need to Do Now to Prepare for Graduation. Here’s a great list:

  •         Clean up your social media. Your experience using Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and every other social media platform is unmatched … and easily accessible. Doesn’t matter what job you apply for, the employer probably can find a history of who you are and how you communicate/behave online. All those warnings from Mom and Dad about posting pictures and rambling rants, are about to come true. It’s almost too easy for employers to eliminate candidates, just by seeing how they handle themselves in social media. Take whatever steps you can to make yourself look responsible in this forum.
  •         Visit the financial aid office. The stats say that 60 percent of students borrow money to get their degree. The folks who loaned you that money, want it back. Your financial aid officer can help you find out how much you owe and what the repayment terms are going to be. Most loan programs give you six months to start paying them back, but if you can’t afford it, they want to know ahead of time so you can plan a repayment schedule. They won’t forget about it, but it will be bad news for you, if you do.
  •         Check your credit report. This may not seem like a big deal, until you get out of school and try to buy a car, rent an apartment, buy a home or try to get a job. The guy on the other end of those deals is definitely going to run a credit check to determine whether it’s worth doing business with you. Go to to get a free credit report. Sometimes, there are errors in the report that affect your score. Examine the report, and make sure it’s accurate. It could have a significant impact on your economic status.
  •         Pay all your fees. Make sure your tuition, dorm, food, books, lab fees and any other bills you ran up at school, are all paid. I had a college roommate who refused to pay a parking ticket. The school refused to issue him a diploma or send his transcripts to anyone. He paid the parking ticket; they sent the diploma. Same thing could happen to you.
  •         Line up recommendations. This can be part of your nostalgic swing around campus. What professors, advisers or college employers have to say about you could be very important in your next step in life. It can be the deciding factor in getting your first job or gaining entry to graduate school. Make sure they have something good to say, then ask them if they would mind putting it down on paper.
  •         Rewrite your resume. There are 1,000 ways to write a resume, and they are all boring. All of them! Keep it short and simple. Tell the employer who you are, what you’ve done and what you want to do. Don’t try to answer all their questions. Give them a taste of what they’re getting. Don’t feed them a whole meal. You will have the opportunity to market yourself during a job interview. That’s what they’re for.
  •         Define the job you want. You went to college for a reason (hopefully), and now it’s time to define that reason. Be specific. Do it in one sentence. “I want to teach English at a middle school or high school.” Or maybe: “I want to work in the accounting department at a large corporation.” People will help you with that. Nothing is more frustrating than hearing a student answer the question, “What are you going to do after graduation?” with the response: “Hopefully, find a job.” What kind of job? “I don’t know. I’ll take anything.” Guess what? You’re not going to get anything.
1. Get familiar with your school’s career services office. This office helps you to find part-time work, internships and volunteer opportunities while you are a student. They also help you to prepare your resume, cover letter, and portfolio for your first full-time job.

2. With the help of the career services office at your school, prepare a new resume. Gather together all of your work history, the skills you have obtained whether on a job or through a class, and compile it into a resume.

Also you can work on your cover letter. While you should tailor each cover letter to the job you are applying for, you can get a good basic cover letter written. Then you can add and take away from that cover letter based on a specific job.

3. Gather 3-5 strong references that you can easily give to potential employers when asked. Sometimes having a good reference can mean the difference between getting the job or not. You will need the name, job title, telephone number, and email address of each reference.

If you completed an internship, ask your internship supervisor to be a reference. If you’ve worked a part-time job, or volunteered, those supervisors will make solid references. Even an instructor whose class you did particularly well in could make a good reference.

4. Become familiar with the mistakes that first time job seekers often make, and be sure to avoid them.

5. Buy an interview outfit. You must dress professionally for interviews. Even if the job you are applying for is a relaxed one, you want to make a good first impression.

Practice interviewing techniques with a career services representative, or someone who is familiar with the types of questions you may be asked at an interview and proper responses.

6. Are you planning to go directly into graduate school, rather than begin work? If so have you applied to the school of your choice? Does the school require that you take the GRE, GMAT or any other graduate level exam?

It is best to find out ahead of time because there are deadlines to take the exams in order to have the scores reported to the college of your choice by the application deadline. Visit the testing websites well ahead of your application deadline to find out when you can take your exam.

7. Figure out how much you owe in student loans.

Most student loans begin repayment six months after graduation. You want to be prepared to begin making payments when they are due. Never ignore correspondence from your student loan servicer because you could miss important information and payment deadlines.

Defaulting on student loans is not a great way to begin the next chapter of your life, so be sure to be informed.

8. Figure out where you are going to live after graduation. Will you be moving back into the home of your parent or guardian? Will you rent your own apartment? How much can you afford to pay for rent and utilities? Do you need to find a roommate? Create a realistic budget.

9. Find a mentor. Mentors can be so very instrumental in assisting you in your post college life.

10. Study, study, study for those final exams. Cross every t and dot every i. Make sure that all balances due are paid to your student accounts office so that there will be no issues with receiving your diploma and transcripts.

Good luck to all you graduating UC Davis students.