Whether you attend the University of Florida as a freshman or senior, the planning never starts too soon. The tasks range from ensuring you graduate on time, applying to graduate, handling financial burdens, ordering a cap and gown. Outlining the exact measures to accomplish before graduation proves daunting. What steps should you take in preparation for graduation?
From students to students, this list highlights important advice to abide by when graduating from the University of Florida.
1. Check ONE.UF
When preparing for your final semester at the University of Florida, the essential first task consists of checking your degree audit on one.uf.edu. This handy student portal informs you of any account or registration holds, announcements, schedule courses, grades, transcripts, financial aid, advising notes; the list goes on and on. “One.uf helps keep track of what I need to finish. I saw my course outline, the degree audit, and what I had to do to get to graduation,” said Sam Rhodes, a senior at the University of Florida. It looks overwhelming but keeping everything under one website allows you to find information quickly. Make sure you graduate on time by scanning degree audit requirements and planning your last semester accordingly.
2. Meet with a Trusted Advisor
Meeting with an advisor puts your mind at ease. Advisors exist to talk to you about your graduation plans, answer any questions, supplement resources to achieve your goals and keep you on track. “I would speak to a counselor to figure out where I am, like everything that needs to be done; how to get everything settled,” said UF senior Anndakarrah Estime. “When I go to my counselor, I make sure I map things out. That’s how I was able to set my schedule. I know what classes I want next semester, and how I’m going to set it up.” Not only that, your advisor wants to discuss life after graduation and ensure you set a path beyond college.
3. Plan for Graduate School
Not all undergraduate students continue on to grad school but if that pertains to you, it requires a year of planning. Before graduating, plan to fulfill graduate school prerequisites and apply to your chosen school and program. “Check the websites for what schools you are considering, to make sure you have met all the prerequisites! I plan to attend physician assistant school, so I had to take extra sciences that weren’t required by my major to be eligible for physician assistant school. Some schools have different requirements so you need to check with all the schools you tend to apply to,” UF senior Ashlyn Hart said. Unless you want to take a year off, I recommend planning for this step one to two semesters in advance—just in case you find there are several prerequisites to your proposed program.
4. Attend a UF Football Game or UF Party
Getting lost in the hustle and bustle of college life means you might not get the chance to attend a football game or enjoy a party. Students find football games and parties as staples of the college experience. “I haven’t gone to any parties, and I feel like before you leave you have to go to a party,” Estime said. “And a Gator game. I haven’t gone to a Gator game and how can you go to UF and never have gone to a game! The Gators are one of the biggest university football teams and not to have gone would be sad.” Soften the stress of graduation planning and hit up a Gator football game or frat party.
Finding a group within your intended career forms a beneficial union with the goal to help individuals grow, find opportunities and expand horizons. “I joined the UF Pre-Physician Assistant Association (PPAA) this semester. I am able to get advice from others in the club and they have a Facebook discussion board where they post job and shadowing opportunities and help with the application process, recommendation on classes—all sorts of stuff. I’m sort of getting career counseling through that in a way especially because my professor used to work in the career counseling center,” said Hart. Having connections makes initiating that first job search easier. Respective professionals write recommendations and relay a personal account of your work ethic to employers. Don’t wait. Obtaining a job straight out of college proves difficult without connections.
6. Get an Internship
College sets you up with vital knowledge towards your intended career, but you do not always get the “experience” aspect employers look for. While in school, take the opportunity to intern in your preferred field. Internships help with garnering experience, providing connections, and evaluating job preference. “I would want to do a business internship. I was thinking maybe a writing, newspaper place internship that I could correlate with my business major. I want to do something that merges both my majors together because I need to do an internship for my business class. It would be nice to have something that is English-based in a way,” Estime said. College gives you a chance to do what you love by exploring different positions and choosing the one that makes you happiest.
7. Career Prep
Whether career prepping consists of writing your resume, building a portfolio or attending career conferences, altogether you prepare to demonstrate your capabilities to graduate school recruiters or career/job recruiters. “I’m building a portfolio of all the lesson plans and teaching materials I have created throughout the program. After graduation I plan on attending grad school and getting my master’s degree,” Rhodes said. Take time to attend career showcases, talk to professionals, and investigate interesting careers you like. Visit the Career Connections Center on campus and meet with a career coach to review your resume or perform a mock interview. Use the resources your university provides before you graduate.
8. Apply to Graduate
Before you graduate you actually have to inform your intent to graduate. When I say essential, I mean essential. You apply in order to obtain your degree and to participate in the graduation ceremony. Basically, letting UF know you aim to complete degree requirements at the end of your upcoming semester. One.uf stores the degree application in the Academics tab under “Degree/Certificate Application,” according to UF’s online Commencement Graduation Checklist. Applications open at the beginning of your last semester with a set deadline. Unsure about when you graduate? Perform steps 1 and 2 to discover what courses you need to complete and what semester you expect to complete them.
9. Complete Required Graduation Survey
Ever heard of a graduation survey? At UF, graduating students need to fill out a graduation survey one week before the ceremony. You find the survey on UF’s Commencement Graduation Checklist website. Without completing it, you do not receive your diploma—yikes. College students tend to hold the title for procrastination. Prove college wrong and make sure you check graduation survey off your list. Consider it the last college assignment ever—just thinking about it feels euphoric.
10. Take a Picture with Famous UF Landmarks
The best sign-off to graduating college entails taking your picture in front of popular UF landmarks. It makes the statement: “I was here.” Besides, you accomplished every previous step along the way and deserve to bask in pride—Gator pride. My personal favorite, Century Tower stands at 157 feet and marks the heart of the University of Florida. During Preview my tour guide mentioned if you ever become lost, look for Century Tower and walk toward it. I’m a sucker for meaning, so it reminded me of a silly saying, “If you ever become lost, hug a tree.” Century Tower represents UF’s tree. Every day I look up at the tower and smile. It reminds me of where I started and how I kept going. Your pictures express the journey you went on and solidify your time spent at UF.