MEP Director Earl Merritt and students at the
2011 CIC Summer Research Opportunities Program
Originally uploaded by LAUSatPSU
I always encourage my students to start their first year at Penn State with a plan. It is never too early to think about studying abroad, participating in internships, or applying to graduate school. Factoring in these opportunities early in your undergraduate education will better situate you to achieve your goals. Below, I have provided a brief outline that might make sense for you, especially if you are considering graduate school:
First Year (Self-Discovery)
Explore your interests and abilities;
Visit and talk with your academic adviser;
Develop effective and efficient study habits and skills (you might even set a goal of making the Dean's List);
Participate in out-of class activities that enhance your learning (you can check out PSU's events calendar to see what exhibits, lectures, and events are happening on campus);
Visit Grad Fair and Career Day events to observe;
Do something each week that makes you happy.
Second Year (Assessing Options)
Define and establish your personal, life, and career goals;
Start to make contacts in your chosen career area - maybe even try to shadow alumni;
Identify potential mentors from professors, staff or graduate students;
Search for relevant internship/co-op opportunities (the College's internship website is a great place to start);
Get involved with faculty research if possible;
Keep discuss your goals with your adviser and mentors.
Third Year (Engaging Your Goals)
Examine and confirm your career choice;
If you are considering non-profit, government, or corporate positions, make use alumni contacts;
Strengthen your mentoring relationship and discuss your plans with your adviser or faculty mentor;
Research appropriate graduate programs and visit school if possible;
Apply for summer research or internship experiences (it is always a good idea to begin this search and apply for positions early, anywhere between late-fall to early spring);
Attend graduate/professional and career fairs to establish contacts;
Research admission test/exam dates and schedule yours!
Fourth Year (Making a Choice)
Register to take admissions test if not already completed;
If you still haven't, sign up for one of the Career Fairs sponsored by PSU's Career Services;
Start applying to graduate school (apply early since most universities use electronic applications and comply with deadlines);
While you wait to hear the results from job interviews or graduate school applications, soak up the rest of your time here at Penn State!
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this post further, please feel free to comment on this post or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I wish you the best of luck on your journey here in the College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State.