With the end of the year rapidly approaching, figuring out what you’re going to do after college can be a huge deal. Some may already have jobs lined up, or know their housing situation or even have a grand journey to move across the country. Some of you might move back in with your parents. Some will find themselves independent and living in their own apartment.
But how do you get yourself ready for all of this? What do you need to start looking for? Well, here’s a basic list of what you should be looking into and figuring out before you walk across that stage, diploma in hand.
Your post-college prep starts off with where you’re going to live. Leaving this for the last minute can cause many problems including having no place to live and realizing this as you’re attempting to move your stuff into your car after you’ve graduated.
Finding a place to live can be anything between getting your own apartment, moving in with a roommate or moving back in with your parents. But being able to put your head down and relax after you’ve moved all your stuff somewhere, and putting your freshly printed degree.
Another top priority for the post-college prep is how you’ll make money. Having a career or job after graduation is absolutely fantastic. There are some majors (I’m looking at you, engineers) who usually have something in the bag way before they even put in the order for their cap and gown.
But a career is different than a job. At least from my perspective.
A career is something that uses your degree. It’s a form of employment where you see yourself in the field for quite a long time, or never leaving.
A job is something where you work to make money. It’s not necessary something you’d like to continue to pursue, but works for you in the present.
Figure out which way you want to go, or which way you can go, and get to work on sending your resumes!
Related: The Ultimate Resume Survival Guide: Overview
Finances are going to be a lot more prominent now than they were in college. Hopefully you’ll have some of this covered before you get to your post-college prep. More often than not, you had a meal plan that was paid for, housing that was part of tuition, and you only needed to pay for extras and food.
Now, you’ll need to figure out how to pay rent, for any utilities, food, gas, etc. And that’s before you factor in repaying your student loans.
If you don’t have a job, who will be paying for these things? Do you have a savings account that you could use until you find a job? Are your parents footing the bill until then? Or are you going to have to move back home before you save up enough to move out?
Bills can suck your savings dry much quicker than you think. Unexpected emergencies happen.
Related: 4 Post-College Finance Tips to Get You Started in the Real World
Student Loan Situation
This is usually the last thing on the mind of someone planning for post-college prep. Hell, I didn’t even know much about my loans until after I graduated anyway.
If you’re one of the lucky people who aren’t getting stuck with the bill, or if you slaved away working full time as well as going to school, you may not have any loans to deal with. But the average American is going to leave their post-secondary education with some sort of loan debt.
There’s a lovely grace period of six months that graduates have before their payments start to take affect. My advice on this: Get started as soon as possible. The sooner you start paying things back, the sooner you’re going to pay it off. And if you’re one of the lucky ones who are still living with their parents and they’re not charging you rent, get on that!
There are two ways to pay off loans. One is to pay off the higher bill first, the other is to pay off the higher interest first.
Related: Here’s your guide to repaying your federal student loans
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