Junior Year: Career Goal Setting, Gaining Experience & Graduate School Planning
By your third year, you should have laid the groundwork for your future. You have chosen a major and are active in adding experiences to complement your studies. At this time all the experience and information you have gathered should be crystallizing into solid career goals and plans.
- Meet with a Career Development staff member to formulate your job or graduate school search timeline and plans.
- Focus and set career goals based on what you have learned about you, your interests, and possible professions.
- Discuss your career plans with your faculty advisor.
- Explore and make arrangements for off-campus study and internship options.
- Consider applying for scholarships and fellowships found in the Career and Internship Center and in Career Resources, Graduate School Financing.
- Join student chapters of professional organizations to gain career information and to start networking.
- Research graduate/professional school possibilities, their application procedures and deadlines. Many resources are available through the Career Development Office, including Peterson’s Graduate and Professional School Guides.
- Pick up a GRE, LSAT or MCAT packet in the Career Development Office.
- Register and prepare for admission tests such as the GRE, LSAT and MCAT.
- Participate in career fairs and career related events to explore your options and network with potential employers.
- Get to know faculty members in your major.
- Take on leadership roles on and off-campus.
- Get professional experience through on-campus research, an internship, on-campus employment, volunteer work or a summer job.
Use all of your resources, including the Career and Internship Center. You are not alone in this process!
NEXT: Senior Year: Implementation & Transition
Timeline for Applying to Graduate School
Begin planning for graduate school at least a year prior to when you would like to enter. Deadlines vary depending on the program, though, and it is important that you begin identifying potential schools/programs early and are clear on individual deadlines!
If you are considering graduate school, you need to begin your search for possible programs the fall of your junior year.
- Meet with staff in the Career and Internship Center for assistance as you begin the search
- Attend Graduate/Professional school fairs both on- and off-campus
- Request information from programs that spark your interest
- Consider making a visit to those schools/programs of most interest to you
- Begin to explore financial aid resources - the Career and Internship Center can assist!
By the spring and summer of your junior year, you should have a fairly good idea of places you intend to apply and know the deadlines you face in the fall.
- Develop a personal statement using faculty and the Career and Internship Center as resources to create the best possible document for your field.
- Register and prepare for required standardized tests.
- Develop an application timeline for all schools to which you are applying - the process takes too much effort to be eliminated because you've missed a deadline!
Fall of your senior year is the time to be sure everything is in order and submitted on time!
- Ensure you know how to apply for each school and have all the materials needed
- Finalize essays and personal statements for each application
- Request letters of recommendation from faculty - provide reference writers with your resume, personal statement, proper forms, adequate time to write the letters, and directions for handling the letters
- Consider doing a mock interview with faculty or videotaped in the Career and Internship Center prior to professional school admissions interviews
- Take your required standardized tests
- Complete the applications - cutting and pasting information from word documents helps in ensuring there are no typing errors. Be sure to proofread the application before sending.
- Order transcripts from the Registrar's Office - include fall semester grades if available prior to the deadline
By spring of your senior year, many application deadlines have passed. Hopefully you are not waiting until the final deadline to submit your application! This is the time to await word on acceptance and finalize financing.
- If you haven't yet completed your application submissions, you need to do that now
- Complete financial aid forms - you may need to include a copy of your income tax return so consider getting that done early
- Contact schools to be sure your application was submitted if you haven't received notice and verify the timeline for acceptance
- Write thank you notes to the many people who have assisted you in the application process
Where small commitments make big differences.
Service work provides opportunities to gain experience in an area you are considering as a career. You may choose to help out a local candidate for political office, assist the elderly in preparing their taxes, or work with children in the schools. Whatever your career interests are, you can find great experience in a service opportunity.
Here is a very limited list of organizations providing service opportunities—the possibilities are limitless!
- 4-H Clubs - Volunnteer as an adult in your local community club.
- American Cancer Society - Work as a volunteer in any community to help further the fight against cancer.
- American Red Cross - A national organization with local chapters.
- Americorps - Your chance to put your ideas into action while learning new skills, making new connections, and earning money to pay for college.
- Camp Staff - A resource for summer camp jobs across North America.
- Connect-123 - Volunteer and internship programs in five international cities: Buenos Aires, Barcelona, Cape Town, Shanghai, and Dublin.
- Cross-Cultural Solutions - A resource for international volunteer opportunities.
- Global Volunteer Network - A non profit organiziation which places volunteers in community projects worldwide.
- Global Volunteers - Live and work with local people on life-affirming service programs.
- GoAbroad.com - Directory of over 27,000 opportunites abroad updated daily.
- Habitat for Humanity - Building projects across the nation and world change lives and communities.
- Idealist.org - Thousands of volunteer opportunities in the nonprofit sector.
- Innisfree - Provide live-in caregiving to residents with intellictually disabilities.
- Make-A-Wish Foundation - Fulfilling the wishes of children with life-threatening illnesses - opportunities available at chapters across the country.
- Michigan Community Service Commission - Provides vision and resources to strengthen communities through volunteerism.
- Michigan Nonprofit Association - Committed to promoting and strengthening a life-long ethic of service and civic engagment through the support of community-building initiatives.
- Peace Corps - Work across the globe to train people for better lives.
- Rotary International - Service club providing volunteer opportunities locally, regionally, and internationally.
- Student Conservation Association - Providing hands-on conservation service opportunities.
- Teach for America - Teaching children in underserved areas.
- UN Volunteers Program - The United Nations Volunteer Program (UNV) is the UN organization that contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide.
- United Way - Volunteer in one of countless ways across America through the United Way.
- Volunteer Centers of Michigan - Statewide network of over 30 volunteer centers serving 59 Michigan counties.
- Volunteer Match - Find opportunities around the country to volunteer.
- World Volunteer Web - A resource of networking and dissemination of information, to develop an inclusive and global volunteer network.
This page contains links to web sites that are not under the control of Albion College or the Career and Internship Center. We are not responsible for the contents of any linked site. The Career and Internship Center provides these links merely as a courtesy. The data contained in this web site is for informational purposes only and is not represented to be error free.
Tips on Writing a Personal Statement
There are many resources on the Internet to assist you in writing a personal statement for graduate school. No one resource is helpful to everyone and you are encouraged to read several as you start the writing process.
Following are some resources published on the web.
While the above articles can provide insight into writing personal statements, there is no substitute for speaking with people at Albion College. The faculty in your area of study has been through this process and can assist you with questions. In addition, the Career and Internship Center is available to you for individual assistance as you start the process.