First Gen Grad Guide

First Gen Grad Guide

Print out this checklist when you’re ready to start prepping for graduation! 

Chapter 1: Graduation Check-In 

Prior to starting the academic year, you should have met with your advisor to set up your last semester schedule to keep you on track with graduation. Make sure to visit them one last time to confirm whether all your GE and major requirements will be met by the end of your last semester.

Check-in with your advisor one last time to:

⃞ Ensure all academic requirements and commitments have been met. 

⃞ If you plan to pursue grad school, try setting up a one/three/five year plan to help you stay accountable with your academic goals!


Check-in with your school

⃞ Confirm that you’ve filled out all the required graduation forms correctly (make sure they print your name exactly as you want it to appear on your diploma, and register to participate in the ceremony).

⃞ Purchase all the necessary graduation materials such as…

    • Cap & gown
    • Diploma frame 
    • Graduation picture package 
    • Graduation tickets


Check-in with your family: 

⃞ If your family is traveling from out of town, make sure you communicate with them to set up the right housing arrangements during graduation weekend.

⃞ If needed, book their airbnb/hotel and try putting together a light itinerary for their stay. You’ll be busy preparing for graduation so having them explore campus can be a fun distraction for those times you’re not with them during their visit.


Check-in with your landlord:  

⃞ If you’re moving out after graduation, make sure you let your landlord know about your plans. Set up a move out date and discuss any next steps you need to take before moving

⃞ Get your security deposit back if no damages were made to your living space 

⃞ Keep your roommates in the loop of things and plan any relevant move-out plans with them as well 


Chapter 2: Saying Your Goodbyes 

With graduation season comes a lot of goodbyes… Make sure you make time to thank those who helped you with this achievement!

Reach out to your professors: 

Go visit office hours one last time. Thank them for making a contribution during your time in college and ask to stay connected! They can serve as a potential letter of recommendation for future opportunities. 

Check-in with your current professors about any missing or make-up assignments you should turn in to ensure you end the school year with good grades. 


Reach out to your mentors: 

Stay connected with your mentors/managers. If you have a good relationship with them, they can offer a great letter of recommendation

If possible, drop off a thank you letter in-person for a more thoughtful gesture.

Put in your two-week notices at your current job/internship.

Check-in with your team if there are any last projects you should wrap up to prepare for a smooth transition out of your position.


Lastly, reach out to your friends and celebrate!

⃞ If you have friends who are also graduating, don’t forget to give them their flowers too. Try giving them a thoughtful gift letting them know that you’re proud of their accomplishments as well.

If you have friends that will be moving far, communicate with them about your friendship and ask how they’d want you to show up for them now that you won’t be at the same campus and vice versa.


Chapter 3: Setting your Boundaries

With your family:

Staying on track with your career goals will be time consuming. If you’re moving back home and have additional responsibilities with your family, talking to them about your schedule and capacity can help avoid burnout! 

⃞  Find a time to have a conversation with your family about boundaries and how they can best support you during this new transition

With your friends:

Post-grad will be a new experience for you and your friend group. Celebrate the good moments together but maintain a welcoming space of vulnerability and support as you navigate this new chapter together.

Post-grad can get a bit lonely so stay in touch.

Share your goals and hold each other accountable. There’s so much to look forward to together.

With your-self:

With your well-earned college degree comes new independence. It’s important to hold yourself accountable and set realistic goals during these next few months

Follow a schedule that allows you to prioritize both your career goals and self care

If you dive straight into a full-time job, set at least one hour out of your day to focus on career related tasks outside of your current job. 


Chapter 4: Getting excited about your career choice

Securing A Steady Source Of Income 

Keeping up with this fast-paced job market:

Keep your LinkedIn up to date. LinkedIn and other similar platforms can serve as an extended resume. Attach your LinkedIn profile to your email signature to help catch a prospective employer’s eye.

If you’re using multiple online networking platforms (LinkedIn, Indeed, Handshake, etc), download the app on your phone and keep your notifications on to ensure you don’t miss the perfect job opportunity for you!

Setting A Budget For Your Goals and Lifestyle

Understand where your money comes from and where it’s going 

If you took out any student loans, it’s time to start thinking about repaying those loans back… While money can be worrisome during this new chapter of your life, it doesn’t have to be! Explore your repayment plan options and keep an eye out for student loan scholarships.

Once you secure a source of income, start thinking about how much will be going into your savings account and what will be used for bills and other expenses.

Making A Bucket List And Avoiding Burnout:

Always leave some space for a little fun in your life (you deserve it):

You’re going to be working a lot to achieve those amazing career goals. But be careful to avoid burnout! Having a list of fun to-do’s can help introduce a balanced and enjoyable lifestyle.

Coming from a first-gen and low-income family often comes with guilt. Remind yourself that you’re allowed to enjoy things. It’s ok to invest in things that make you happy. Your budget should always allow some space for this.



How To Land an Internship as a College Student

How To Land an Internship as a College Student

Did you guys know that internship experiences definitely spice up your resume, leading to an increased chance towards a job offer? According to FinancesOnline, “57.5% of students who experienced internship and 43.5% of graduating students without internship exposure got a job offer” (College Recruiter, 2019). Well, having previous internship experience has various types of benefits, including but not limited to, being able to land a job faster than those who do not and kickstarting your professional resume. So how does one even land an internship as a college student, you may ask. That’s why we, the Let’s Go to College Team are here to help! 

Here are some platforms you can use to secure an internship opportunity: 

Handshake- Handshake is one powerful platform that is beneficial to college students looking for an internship, jobs, work-study, or other jobs on campus. Handshake is great at its customization and curation towards your school and your own personalized experiences. For example, it tailors job recommendations, and notifications based on your needs and preferences within the platform. Handshake is great at aligning jobs and internships that best fit your career goals and interests. 

LinkedIn LinkedIn has job boards that allow you to find internships based on your preferences towards things such as location, industry, and preferred duration. As LinkedIn is a very professional webpage, it allows you to stay updated on job and internship postings regarding desired companies. LinkedIn allows students to connect with potential employers and professionals within their desired field, proving their platform to leverage their network, leading us towards another important way to gain internships: career fairs. 

Career Fairs Let’s talk about Career Fairs! Most commonly known as job fairs, career fairs are when recruiters, employers, and other schools come and display themselves for potential employees. In the higher education industry, schools provide a career fair to help students explore opportunities for their future by introducing the several career options out there.

Here are some tips and tricks from the Let’s Go Team: 

  1. Research the organization

Identify the top 3-5 companies you are interested in, but remember to be open to different companies you may not have heard of because they may be a startup or business-to-business organization that doesn’t directly serve consumers.

Do your research by reviewing company websites. Look for their mission, values, location, and the type of available opportunities (e.g., internships, full-time positions, etc.). Company representatives are impressed by potential candidates who take the time to do this! 

  1. Prepare your introduction and questions

Reflect on what it is about each company that resonates with you. Perhaps it’s the specific technology they’re developing, the research they’re leading, or the world problem they’re trying to solve. What relevant experiences do you have? How can you be of service to that organization? Exercise critical thinking skills to develop questions to ask recruiters and hiring managers. From these questions, you may even use them to practice and develop your interview answers. 

  1. Dress to impress!

Be professional, and wear professional clothes to impress your potential employer! Each industry and each company has different work attire expectations and organizational culture. Do your research, and ask mentors in advance for any other advice! 

It is important for you to start your search early and apply to multiple internships to increase your chances of securing one. You should also tailor your resumes and cover letters to match the specific requirements of each internship and prepare for interviews to make a positive impression on potential employers. We wish you the best of luck in landing an internship!


How to Network With Professors on a College Campus

How to Network With Professors on a College Campus

Building a relationship with your professors has many benefits for your academic and career success. Connecting with your professors will allow you to have a strong academic connection for the future, you will be able to ask them for letters of recommendation, and you will be having a better workflow. Since they will be able to see the effort you are putting into the class as well as they can help you with future assignments. 

Start by introducing yourself on the first day of the course. Introduce yourself, what you are majoring in, and the year you are being attentive at the college or university that you are in. Lastly, show how much you are appreciative of being in their course and that you would hope to learn more from it. Another option would be to send them an email introducing yourself such as your major and how that class is related to your major, why you are interested in that class, or anything you would like to bring up. It should not be a stressed component but rather have fun and play around with the email and how you would want to present yourself. It is really important to connect with your professors, especially if you may be virtually learning with them online. If you are an online learner, you would need to meet these same adjustments. 

Weekly office hours

The place where you are able to strongly connect with your professor is through office hours. During the first-week professors will send out their syllabus where office hours will be located and at the time they are available as well as the time that the teacher assistants are available. It is suggested and highly encouraged to attend them because it allows you to ask questions in a small group and discuss class materials which can help with future class material. Professors will also take that into account since it is very common for students to not attend office hours. Although this is extra time and students can see it as wasteful and choose not to attend it has many positive benefits. Most students are afraid to attend office hours, only because they are mostly afraid to ask for help. Most students feel that they don’t need office hours so they encourage themselves not to go. Attending office hours regularly even if you do not need to attend them. Attending office hours can make you more efficient in your future assignments, and also can prepare you for your quizzes and exams. 

There may be times when to meet with your professor during office hours on their syllabus. Email your professor on the days, and times when you can come into their office hours to check-in. Professors can tend to be busy, you can also email your course TA for further information on the times that you can meet with your TA or your professor. They are both there to help you academically for the course. Email the professors a couple of days earlier before the due date of the assignment.


Tips for Networking with your Professors 

– Work with your schedule to set aside a time to meet with your professors. – Research more about your professor through the University Website so you get an idea of the professor’s specialized field. 

– Remember that professors are there to work with you and help you. 

– It’s always helpful to write down questions to ask your professors before attending office hours, so you can have more of a clarification of being in the course of what you are learning in that particular assignment. 

– Professors are connected with the school and will send opportunities that they are open to sharing.



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