The College Graduate Checklist

The following is a guest post from Noël Rozny of

Right about now, you’re probably crawling out from underneath a pile of library books, term papers, and exam notes, feeling like you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. And you’re right, the school year is almost over, which means that if you’re a senior, you’ll be graduating soon. Congratulations!

While you should reward yourself for completing your degree program, don’t take a break for too long. There are many other details that need your attention now that school is winding down. To make it easier for you, we’ve put together a College Graduate checklist that will help make the transition in the “real world” a little bit easier.

5 Things Every College Grad Needs After Graduation

Job Search Tools

You might have already started your job search, but if not, now’s the time. For a successful job search, you’ll need a polished resume, 3-4 professional references, and a strong professional network. If you’ve never compiled a resume, you should be able to get some free guidance at your school’s career center. Professors, former employers, and student organization supervisors all make great references, so check in with those individuals now to see if they’ll speak on your behalf. As for networking, start with references, colleagues, coaches, and anyone else you’ve collaborated with in the past four years. Contact them about your job search, connect with them on LinkedIn, and pick their brain for any tips or job opportunities they know of.

An Apartment

If you’ve been living in the dorms the past four years, one of the first things you need to do before graduation is line up a place to live. Finding an apartment that fits your needs and price range can take a few weeks, so get started now. Make a list of what you want, what you don’t want, and start contacting apartment companies. Don’t forget that you’ll need money for a security deposit (anywhere from a month to two month’s rent), basic furniture (this is where futons come in handy) and to get the utilities (electricity, water, gas and cable) turned on in your name.

Health Insurance

While you were in college, chances are that you were on your parent’s health insurance. The good news is that you can stay on you’re their plan for a few more years, until you’re 26, so if the internship or job you’re starting after graduation doesn’t offer a plan, you’re covered. If you do decide to switch insurance plans to what you’re employer is offering, make sure there are no gaps in your coverage, as that can currently affect your ability to receive treatment for pre-existing conditions.

A Work Wardrobe

Even if you luck out and land a job at a company with a relaxed dress code, you’ll still need a good suit or two for client meetings, corporate events, and business trips. Business clothes are expensive, so maximize your dollars by buying one or two suits in neutral colors, like black or gray, and variety of dress shirts in a different colors.

Retirement Plans

I know retirement probably seems very far away. But now is actually a crucial time in your retirement planning. Putting away a set amount each month, no matter how small, can have a huge impact on how much you’ll have when that golden day arrives. If you’re employer offers a 401(k) or similar plan, getting started should be pretty easy. If not, you can meet with a financial advisor and get started on your own.

I know the items on this checklist might seem overwhelming, but with the help of those who have gone before you (parents, an older sibling, an aunt or uncle) it’s all very doable, and the sooner you start, the easier your transition will be. Good luck!

Noël Rozny is Web Editor & Content Manager at myFootpath, a career and education resource for students of all ages. Visit to find the bachelor’s degree, master’s degree or PhD program that’s right for you.

Update Your Look for 2012: Fashion Trends to Watch

As a college student it is all too easy to sit back and stroll around campus wearing yoga pants, Uggs, and a baseball cap. It never starts off that way, but over time, the excitement to wake up early and accessorize starts to slowly fade. Freshmen year I dressed to impress. When I flew across the country to start school I made sure to include cute shoes, skirts, and shirts in my Vera Bradley duffle— but sadly some outfits remained unworn in the back of the closet (or in some cases crumpled under my bed out of site of my new friends and roommates).

Then sophomore year I settled down. I had occasional spurts of fashion ingenuity but more often than not I dressed for comfort and kept it simple—bright colors, cute jeans and boots. However, this year, when the work set in, it seemed style went out the dorm room window. All semester I found new ways to pair yoga pants and college tees and somehow managed to throw my hair into a hat at least a few times a week. If they did a college edition of “Fashion Police” I have a feeling Ms. Rivers would put me on the fashion chopping block.

I made a new year’s resolution to try harder. This semester it will be different– new year, new style. I dare you to do the same. Have fun with your wardrobe and try to spice things up. This is not to say that you have to make your campus a catwalk—and of course you can still fit in the comfy outfits, but not every day!

It’s important to at least take note of the major trends hitting the streets this spring to ensure that you don’t get caught in a wrinkly rut of already worn yoga pants and sweats. Mix what’s in with what you already love and know how to wear and you’ll be set!

Here’s what designers and fashion divas everywhere are craving this spring:

Color blocking: It’s best if you keep to just 3 main colors, but don’t be afraid to go bold! Try solid cardigans, blocked or striped skirts, even dresses! A big trend is colored denim! Urban Outfitters has jeans in every color (I bought red!) from only $58, which is way cheaper than most places.

Bold Prints: Along with color blocking, try pairing bold colors with bold prints. Anything floral or geometric is extremely popular and can pair well with almost any color. You can mix certain prints, under the condition that you handle with care! Try stripes with a more graphic print for a little bit of fun! The navy impressionist flowers dress from Forever21 could work in the winter cold with tights and a cardigan and then transform into a fun spring staple!

Orange & Tangerine: Orange is red hot this season.  All over the runway fashionistas are spotting orange hues and tangerine splashes. Go bold and bright and add this fruity color to your spring lineup. Orange can be scary but trust me, you only live once so you might as well live on the wild side and stand out in class and around campus in this playful trend. Try the extended basic tank from Forever21 for $6.80 for an easy way to incorporate the color into your outfit.

Pastels: Not ready for “look at me” color schemes? Pastel colors may be better suited for you! Try lighter hues like mint green, or lilac purples, even light orange to introduce a ladylike touch to any ensemble! ASOS sells adorable belts in pastel hues for around $10!

Toms: And now for my favorite runway report item– TOMS is introducing ballet flats into their Spring 2012 collection. Not that I didn’t love the TOMS moccasins— the One for One charity behind them were enough to send anyone running to the store to buy a pair—but I never looked quite right wearing them. Their ballet flats are not only adorably cute, but in my opinion much more wearable. I think their company has a great mission, and a keen sense of what fashion conscious college co-eds are looking for. How fabulous that you can help a child in need and rock a cute pair of shoes?

Nails: And last but not least on the fashion front are your fingernails. Every season the “hot” look for nails catches me off guard and changes faster than it takes me to remove my last color. This season multiple looks are catching people’s fashion eye. First there is long and natural—keeping them simple and clean. Another hot look is the reverse manicure—try another combo besides the classic white and light pink and go bold — pick your favorites or go for something unexpected. If you want to stay simple and classic you can choose a color like nude or Jungle Red! If you want a solid color with a twist of modern flare, try yellow—canary or banana shades are my favorite and are totally unexpected! What could be better than a built in excuse to raise your hand in class? Try OPI Banana Bandana.

All of these trends can be molded to your style preferences and comfort level. Remember to have fun with fashion and make it work for you—regardless of the runway! Designers have great ideas and trends that you can build off of to maximize your personal style—even if you live in yoga pants!

-Ring Queen

I’m reading College Algebra