Ahhh… graduation! The end to decades of formal education, and the chance to finally get out and forge your path in the real world! Does this sound like you, or are you nervous to be leaving the safe haven of university behind?
However you might be feeling, it’s a good idea to start preparing for your life after university ahead of time- and we’re here to help! We’ll talk you through your options for life after graduation, and give you our top tips on preparing to leave university.
First, let’s discuss some of the paths that you could take once you graduate from university…
Getting a job
For the vast majority of graduates, finding employment is the number one priority after leaving university.
A common route to go down is to find a job through a graduate scheme: paid structured training programmes designed for those who have recently earned their degree. Graduate schemes are available in a wide range of specialisms from finance to engineering to public relations! Most major employers in the UK offer their own versions of these schemes. To find out what graduate schemes are running, attend careers fairs, speak with your university careers advisor and browse websites like Milkround.
If you are struggling to find employment for after university, please don’t feel too disheartened! The last few years have had a massive strain on the job market, and many other graduates will be in the same boat as you. Don’t give up.
Pursuing postgraduate education
Your academic journey doesn’t have to end here! Many students choose to go down the path of further education after they graduate from their Bachelors course.
Perhaps you want to deepen your knowledge in a particular field, or maybe you need an additional qualification for the career that you want to pursue. If this is something that you’re considering, explore the various options that are available to you. There are Masters degrees, PhDs, postgraduate diplomas, teacher training courses, and more!
Prospects offers a great tool for discovering postgraduate study options.
Taking a gap year
University is a hard slog, so it’s understandable if you want to take some time out! A gap year can be a really enriching, formative experience if you use it wisely.
Here are some ideas for what to do with your gap year:
- Volunteer – dedicate yourself to supporting a cause that you care about. This will likely be a humbling experience that teaches you a lot, and will also look great on your CV.
- Travel – use this time to travel the world: meeting new people, trying new foods, and experiencing different cultures!
- Work on yourself – taking some time out to work on yourself, be that physically, mentally or otherwise, is definitely a worthy use of a gap year!
Starting a business
Not every graduate wants to follow the traditional route of finding a graduate job. If you possess an entrepreneurial spirit, why not try out that business idea that you’ve been thinking about once you leave university?
Think about what your skills are, and how you plan to transition into being self-employed. Speaking to a careers advisor at your university is recommended!
James and Owen, our founders at Roome, started working on their startup full-time after graduation! To read more about their story, check out our blog.
Now that you know which paths you could take, how should you prepare for life after graduation?
Making sure that you are well-prepared for life after graduation from university is important, so that the ‘real world’ isn’t too much of a shock to the system.
Here’s what we recommend you do before you leave:
Get in control of your finances
Your financial status will change once you graduate from university. You will no longer be entitled to access Student Finance, and you’ll be responsible for paying back your student loan. Get your finances in order so that you are prepared once you graduate.
Do this by:
- Making a plan for paying off your overdraft payment. If you have a student bank account, you likely have a 0% interest overdraft, but this must be paid off once you graduate. Create a plan for paying this off in a way that is realistic, so that you can repay it in manageable increments over time.
- Learn how student loan repayments work. You are eligible to start paying back your student debt from the April after you graduate. However, this is only true if you’re earning above the repayment threshold which is currently £27,295 before tax.
- Switching to a graduate account. Some banks offer bank accounts specifically for graduates. These often come with benefits such as interest free overdrafts. Check out this resource for more information.
Think about where you’re going to live
Graduating from university means a change in your living circumstances. You’re no longer tied to your university town and you have the freedom to move to somewhere new- which is exciting! However, you no longer have the luxury of a student maintenance loan to help with the cost of rent and bills.
Maybe you’re going to stay put in your university town, or perhaps you want to move back home with your family to save on rent. Alternatively, you could move to a new city or even to a different country entirely! Whatever you choose, working out a plan for where you’re going to live next is an important part of preparing for life after graduation.
Optimise your CV
A CV is a document that summarises your educational history, work experience, skills and achievements. Having a top-notch CV is the key to entering the world of work after university.
These are the different sections that your CV should include:
- Personal profile (a summary of yourself- just a few sentences long)
- Record of your work experience
- Any volunteering work that you have completed
- Your educational history and qualifications earnt
- Relevant skills
- Projects and achievements
Your CV must be concise yet informative, written with no grammatical errors, and should be no longer than two pages long. There are lots of examples online, and your university careers team should also be on hand to help.
Take advantage of your university’s alumni community
Graduating does not have to mean the end of a meaningful relationship with your educational institution! Many universities have strong alumni networks, which will allow you to keep in contact with your peers and professors. This might be useful in the future, so make sure to take advantage of these communities.
Seek opportunities for mentorship
A mentor is a professional who offers guidance to someone with less experience in achieving their goals and endeavours. Mentorship is usually given as informal advice that will help to build the mentee’s knowledge, skills and confidence.
Having a mentor with expertise in an area that you are interested in will be hugely beneficial as a graduate. You can seek mentorship through your university’s alumni community, or by reaching out to people that you aspire to be like via LinkedIn.
Whatever you plan to do with your life after graduating from university, we wish you all the best of luck! Remember that everyone goes by their own timeline, and that there is no one right time to be starting work, or achieving certain milestones by. Prepare well, and do as best as you can!
Be sure to check out the Roome website, where we post loads of tips and tricks for university students every single week. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok and Facebook to learn more about how we’re revolutionising the student housing market!
Posted by Owen Redman
Co-founder of Roome