Back to Succeed in College

Life after College

College is a great time to explore and prepare for possible careers.  Take advantage of staff at your campus’s career services office to discuss your options and connect to jobs and internships.  Depending on your interests and goals, you may decide to start a job right after graduation, or to continue your studies.


  • Do I need to do an internship during college? How do I find one?

    Internships are a very effective way to find a job after graduation, and build skills and experience to make you an attractive applicant. You may end up taking an unpaid internship; while this could be hard financially in the short-term, it can have long-term financial advantages. In fact, according to a recent Rutgers study, students who did internships during their college years had a 15% higher starting salary after college than those who did not do internships. You can find internships through your school's career services office, through outside organizations and fellowship programs, and by searching online or talking to contacts and professors. Remember: you have to look for internships early; many deadlines for summer internship applications are January-March, so don't wait until May to apply!

  • What exactly is “networking” and how can I do it in college if I don’t know any professionals?

    Networking is a term for identifying and building relationships with a group of people who share a similar interest, such as a passion for a particular industry. Networking will be important throughout our entire professional life, but it is especially essential while you are exploring fields of interests and applying for jobs. In fact, many job openings are never even posted, and most people get jobs by hearing about them from someone they have met. Even if you don't know any professionals in college, there are many ways to establish and grow your network, including talking to other students who share your interests, attending company presentations, getting to know your professors, contacting alumni from your college through the career services office, and visiting career fairs.

  • How do I decide between a higher paying job or career path and one that I’m really interested in?

    The best way to make a decision between two career paths is to be as informed as possible.  You may discover roles that pay a wide range of salaries within the career path that you love, or you may find a function that you really enjoy in a higher paying job.  In order to learn more about different careers and the lifestyles associated with those careers, consider taking steps such as visiting your career services office, or requesting an informational interview with someone who has your dream job.  In addition to trying to gain a better understanding of careers, make a sincere effort to reflect on yourself and what is most important to you.

  • I want to go to graduate school but don’t know where to start. Help!

    First off, seek help at your college’s career services office! They can help you decide if graduate school is the right decision for you, and they have valuable information about programs, requirements, and timelines for applying to graduate school.  You can do some research on sites such as or to further explore different programs offered and learn about specific requirements.  You should also make sure you are aware of the required tests and application deadlines for your desired program.  Finally, make sure and start early! If you know you need to go to a graduate program for your intended career – such as medical school or law school – you should be thinking about prepping for tests and applications your junior year.

  • When do I start applying to jobs or graduate school?

    Before you think about applying to jobs and graduate school, it's important to work on building a resume that will make you a competitive applicant for any program or position.  From your first day at college, begin by focusing on leadership opportunities, internships, and student clubs related to your long-term goals. Timelines for applying to jobs and graduate school can vary greatly across different industries.  With this in mind, visit your career services center no later than the fall of your second year to start exploring timelines and requirements for particular graduate school programs and jobs that you find interesting.

  • What do I do if the companies or organizations I’m interested in working for don’t recruit on my campus?

    You are not limited to interning or working for companies that recruit on your campus.  If you are interested in a particular organization that is not represented on campus, visit their website to learn about their recruiting process and deadlines for applying to work there.  In addition, examine your own network and reach out to your college’s career services office to find alumni from your college who work there.  By asking for advice or an informational interview, you may be able to increase your chances of working at their company.  Finally, explore the qualities that you like about your companies of interest, and then look for those same qualities in companies that do recruit through your college.  After all, you do not want to miss an excellent opportunity right on campus.

  • I’m about to graduate from college but I will not start my new job until several weeks after my graduation. I took out a few loans to pay for my tuition in college; do I have to start paying them back right after I graduate? I don’t think I can afford that!

    Loan companies understand that most students will not be able to start paying back their loans immediately upon graduation.  Therefore, they have what is called a “grace period” of about 6 months right after you graduate; this means that for the first 6 months after you finish college, you will not be expected to make payments on your loan.  However, you should contact the company that granted you the loan before you graduate and confirm the date on which they expect you to start paying, and the amount you will be asked to pay each month.

  • How can I choose the repayment plan that works best for me? How should I plan to make sure I keep up with my monthly payments?

    You may select or be assigned a repayment plan when you first begin repaying your student loan. Make your student loan payment part of your monthly budget and try to stay ahead by setting aside money this month for next month’s payment. If you are unable to make a payment, be sure to stay in contact with the lender and explain your situation. This will help you stay in good standing. Keep in mind that you can always pay more than the monthly amount or change repayment plans at any time. Click here to see more information on repayment options for different types of loans, and information on how to change your plan:

  • How much will my payments be after I graduate?

    Your payment will depend on how much you borrowed, the interest rate, and how long you are going to take to pay it back. To see how much you will have to pay back per month you can use a student loan calculator such as this  one:

Recommended Resources

Career Rookie

WEBSITE  | connects students and recent graduates seeking internships, part-time jobs and entry-level positions with employers.  Read more  


WEBSITE  |  With almost 60,000 programs listed in its free directory, is an online resource for graduate school. You can use this site to find...  Read more  

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