Tips for Juniors

Donald Asher, author of How to Get a Job with Any Major, From College to Career, and Graduate Admissions Essays has assembled a list of tips for junior students. Consider the following advice when planning your third year of college.

This is the year that sets up success after graduation!

  • Prepare in the first semester to get a summer internship (see "Third Summer" below).
  • If you have not by now, settle on a major and meet with an academic advisor to plan the sequence of courses that will allow you to graduate on time.
  • Consider a semester abroad (first semester is preferred over second, but this is not a critical choice).
  • Continue to see faculty outside of the classroom.
  • Continue to be involved in departmental activities.
  • Continue with an academic activity.
  • Consider adding to your list of activities (academic, service, sports, interest); consider seeking a leadership role in one or more especially if you’re grad school bound.
  • Begin to talk about your future career with fellow students, faculty, alumni, visiting speakers and VIPs, friends of the family, parents of your friends, etc.
  • Visit alumni and professionals in your chosen field for a "shadowing" day, or at least an information interview.
  • If you are applying for an elite graduate fellowship (Rhodes, Watson, Marshall, etc.), most successful applicants start first semester of the junior year to prepare their applications; find the scholarship advisor and plan your application strategy.
  • Research graduate schools: look up prominent graduate faculty in your field of interest, read articles in the academic journals for your field, look at Peterson’s and other grad school guides.
  • Begin to correspond with faculty in graduate schools of interest.
  • If grad schools on your list require the GRE, plan to take it late in the second semester, or in June of the coming summer.
  • If grad schools on your list require a GRE subject test, register in February for an April sitting.
  • If headed for medical school, register in March to take the April MCAT; you can take it again in August if you don’t like your score.
  • If headed for law school, register in November to take the December LSAT, or in January for the February sitting; you can take it again in June or October of the following year if you don’t like your score.
  • Visit all the graduate schools you can during the school year.
  • Try to go to an academic conference in your field.
  • Watch your grades! These are the last grades that will show if you plan to apply to graduate school next year.
  • Get by without a car; your grades will be higher.
  • Live on campus; your grades will be higher.

Third Summer

This is the most important summer of your life; don't fool around!

  • Now it’s critical to find an internship or summer job in an industry or field that you would potentially like to pursue after graduation. Ask for a letter of recommendation before leaving at the end of the summer.
  • Work at an academically related internship that supports your graduate school plans.
  • Continue to talk about your career goals with everyone you meet; continue to visit professionals in their workplaces whenever you can.
  • Try to go to an academic conference in your field. Visit some grad schools if you can. Meet professors who might be mentors in grad school. Correspond with graduate faculty in your area of interest.
  • Prepare for and take the GRE or LSAT in June if you still need to (you don’t want to have to do this in the fall with classes and applications to graduate school).
  • Prepare for and take the MCAT if you didn’t like your first score.
  • If, and only if, you’re headed for graduate school, consider going to summer school at one of your targeted institutions. Take classes related to your grad school plans, and watch your grades!
  • If you’re applying to medical school, get all your applications in at the first opportunity on the first round (usually over this summer, with some details possibly running into September and following).

From How to Get Any Job with Any Major, © 2004, used with permission.
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