HomeCAMPUS LIFETips for College Graduates to Plan a Successful Future after Graduation

Tips for College Graduates to Plan a Successful Future after Graduation

College life prepares you for your future. However, the future also comes with unexpected turns. After graduation, many students leave college without knowing what to do next. Whether you want to pursue a job/career, travel, or go to graduate school, planning for a successful future is challenging. If you do not know what you want to do after college, please keep in touch with your school’s career services center, professors, and friends for possible opportunities, such as job openings, internships, and graduate school information. Remember to enjoy life after college. Travel to places, see friends, and take advantage of all the opportunities, if possible. Be responsible in your actions but HAVE FUN!

Here are some helpful tips that college graduates need to know to plan their next steps for a successful future:


1. Update college records: Make sure that the school has your new or current address.

2. Update resume: Update the information in your resume such as job/work history, internship information, volunteer information, and other information. Also, update recommendation letters and cover letters.

3. Update social media profiles: Update email IDs, photos, and other information on employment sites. Remove any inappropriate photos and posts from your social media pages.

4. Practice interview skills and buy an interview outfit: Familiarize yourself with basic interview questions, and practice appropriate responses. Dress professionally for interviews to make a good first impression.

5. Network: Establish professional connections in your field. Get to know the people around you by attending meetings and local events.

6. Join community organizations/clubs: These clubs/organizations help you meet people, build positive relationships, and have a sense of belonging in the community.

7. Learn new skills: Valuable life skills learned in college such as discipline, perseverance, handling money, time management skills, carrying yourself professionally, embracing new cultures, and other things that you learned in college will help shape your future. This will boost your confidence in acquiring more skills.

8. Prepare for graduate/preprofessional school: Apply to graduate school and take the graduate entrance exams that apply to you such as the GRE, GMAT, MCAT, LSAT, etc. Take the exam before the application deadline. Visit the test websites before your application deadline to find out when you can take your exam.

9. Search for and obtain a job: Stick to your passions and long-term goals. If it is not your dream job, make sure that it is a job that helps you get where you want to be and pays your bills for now. Unexpected career journeys may happen to reach your desired career. *Remember, it is hard to have fun or go places when you have no money.

10. Stay connected: Keep in contact with your professors, mentors, college friends, and family members. Make sure to talk to people who believe in you and support you. Those connections can make a difference by providing you with continued support and encouragement.

11. Mentoring: Mentor a college student or someone in your local community. Assist someone with encouragement. When someone does something for you, pay it forward by giving advice because someone can learn from your experiences.


1. Establish a routine: Having a routine is important to prioritize your time. Write your monthly tasks and bill payments in your planner to utilize time wisely.

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

3. Help out parent/guardian: Paying bills will help reduce the bearing you have on your parents’ or guardians’ expenses. Make money while you are living in their house and contribute to their monthly expenses. Also, save money to move out.

4. Learn to budget your money: Ask for financial help to avoid unnecessary spending. Buy things you can afford. Save extra money for unexpected bills, such as student loans, car repairs, medical bills, etc. Check your credit report. Having a good credit score allows you to lease an apartment or a vehicle or apply for a credit card.

5. Ask for public assistance: Public assistance is provided to those who need it. Contact your local community for public housing, family services, etc., if you ever find yourself needing them.

6. Ask for professional or counseling help: Unexpected situations happen. You cannot predict the future (deaths, fires, floods, layoffs can happen at any time). Please schedule an appointment with a professional or counsellor if you need help dealing with an issue or situation.

7. Learn to forgive, be grateful, and thank others: You do not have time to think about misleading or deceptive people. Life is too unexpected, and you have to establish your purpose. You have to go to people to help you whether you want to or not. Sometimes, you even have to take the high road in certain situations. Remember to thank the people who have helped you in college. Keep in touch with them by writing notes or emails or making calls.

8. Stay healthy and reduce stress: Exercise regularly. Get a good night’s sleep. Go for routine medical visits.

9. Advocate for yourself: Encouragement is what you have to do for yourself. You cannot expect others to do it for you all the time. Learn to let haters and negative people build your confidence and not break you down. Regardless of what happens, see every situation as a way to get yourself to your desired place. Do not be resentful. Just continue to keep helping yourself, believe in yourself, and support yourself.

Dr. Wandra Arrington
Dr. Wandra Arrington
Dr. Wandra Arrington is the Assistant Professor of Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness at Alcorn State University. She will be a contributor for The Campus Chronicle for the 2023-2024 academic school year.


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