At last, the light at the end of the tunnel is starting to peek through the clouds and your college career is coming to a close. If you played your cards right, you already have a job offer lined up and a plan to finish strong. However, if you are headed into this final year with few job prospects and having a “come to Jesus moment” about your future, no worries. This time, two years ago I was in your shoes so let’s walk through this together.
Devise a Tactical Plan
Going into your final year with a specific plan of attack is a great way to achieving a strong finish. It is easy to fall into the “senior-itis” slump and float along with minimal effort but you cannot lose steam now. The best way to approach this final year is to understand what is expected of you from each course. Unfortunately, many of the most intense and time demanding courses are reserved for the final year. It helps to print off all your course syllabi and make note of all important dates such as quizzes, exams, projects and so on. From there, map out a schedule that allows you to plan and prioritize your study schedule. It is key to start off strong in each course because the work typically gets more difficult as it progresses. It helps to have a solid idea of what you need to score on each assignment in order to reach your grade goal. Here is the Grade Sheet I created my senior year to keep track of my grades.
Study Now, Socialize Later
If you are anything like I was my senior year, you are juggling multiple roles. Interning, taking 15 credit hours and balancing a routine study schedule doesn’t leave much time for extras. It is best to go into this semester of the mindset that you will be focused and dedicated. If you host the weekly Game of Thrones watch party or you attend your local bar’s $2 Tuesday every week, that will need to change this year. Any extra time you have should be spent attending your professors’ office hours, joining group study sessions and advancing your knowledge of accounting. A strong academic finish is critical even if you have already secured a job offer. Many firms require you to submit a final transcript, so do not rest on your laurels. Ultimately, the accounting concepts you learn about in college will actually show up on the job, so it helps if you understand them. Rest assured that there will be a plethora of happy hours and social events waiting for you after you have earned your degree, so for now stay focused.
If you are entering your final year with no job offers, do not fret. It is ideal to begin career seeking early in your college career but it is certainly not too late. You will need to roll up your sleeves and spend more time networking and actively seeking opportunities, however. First, visit your campus career center and introduce yourself to the director, if you haven’t already done so. If they do not know you and know what you are looking for, they certainly cannot recommend you for a job that comes open. Next you should subscribe to your school’s job posting sites and print off the schedule of campus visits. There is nothing worst than spotting the recruiter from your dream firm on campus but not feeling comfortable speaking to them because you wore your “I hate Mondays” tee-shirt and sweats. Be sure your online presence is clean and your LinkedIn account is updated. Additionally, if there are any accounting specific clubs or societies that you can join such as Beta Alpha Psi and National Association for Black Accountants join them right away. These organizations create networking opportunities that you may not find otherwise.
This final year will be very busy and at times stressful. However, with proper planning and dedication there is no reason you cannot be fruitful in both your academic and professional endeavors. Best wishes and congratulations in advance on graduating and landing that killer job offer!