College is a time when people “find” themselves and learn about what they want to accomplish in life. It is important for all girls to take advantage of the opportunities college has to offer and decide what the next step is that they wish to take. Four years may seem like a long time, but it flies by, especially the four years spent in undergrad. Many students enter college with a game plan; they know what the next step is after they graduate.
If this is your situation, great! It’s amazing that you know what you want to do after you graduate. There are some things you should be looking out for, though, as you go through your undergraduate years. The first is your major. Does your major get you where you need to go? For example, many students who aim to go to medical school will major in biology, chemistry, or another physical science because these majors tend to fulfill the pre-medical school requirements. That is, the classes that a medical school requires you master before you apply. This is not to say that you are limited to these majors, but they generally make the progression throughout college a little bit simpler. Next, you should make an attempt to get involved in activities related to the career path you are interested in. Many schools have societies (e.g. pre-medical, pre-law, pre-dental) that students can be a part of to learn more about what their future careers might be like, find out about volunteering and internship opportunities, and to advance their knowledge on the subject matter. For many jobs and grad schools, it is essential that you volunteer or intern so you can gain experience. Finally, make sure that you know which (if any) entrance exam you need to prepare for and eventually take. This could be the GRE, LSAT, MCAT, DAT, OAT, or any other number of examinations. It is absolutely crucial that you figure out how and when to take this exam and what you need to do to prepare. Some tests require that you have taken certain classes, whether they be in economics, calculus or organic chemistry, you are going to want to make sure that you have taken these courses prior to taking the exam. Graduate schools take these exams very seriously.
But what if you don’t know what you want to do next? To start, know that you are not alone! Countless numbers of students enter college without a clue about what they want to be doing when they graduate. If this is the case for you, start thinking about fields that interest you and what you want to major in. If you have already decided on a major, it might be useful to speak with an advisor or professor about what students generally do when they graduate with a degree in said major. A popular answer will be that the students go to graduate school and then start their careers. If the careers students usually end up with after finishing school sound completely boring or uninteresting to you, it might be time to think about switching your major or adding a second major to your degree. Having a variety of courses will look great on your résumé and will also allow you to explore your options and become more knowledgeable about future grad school and career opportunities.
This may all sound intimidating and challenging, but as smart girls, you know that you can definitely achieve anything you set your minds to. Just make sure to stay on track and go to an advisor if you have any questions. Also, don’t worry if you aren’t sure what you want to do right away. However, it is important that you are aware of your options and know when you need to start making these important decisions.