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You're already learning on YouTube — why not get college credit for it?

So, you did it! You're done and now you need to look beyond college. What's next? How do you know what's next? Do you want to go to grad school? To work? In this episode, Erica talks about how to think about what comes after college.

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0:00 - Introduction
0:36 - Planning Your Transition
5:50 - Managing Priorities
8:59 - Conclusion

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#CrashCourse #HowtoCollege #StudyHall"
Think back to when you were first starting college.

You were trying to figure out where you fit in, how to get off to a good start in your courses, and juggling lots of questions. It all may have seemed overwhelming at the time, but you did it!.

And now that you’re preparing for graduation, you can plan your next transition: out to the great beyond. Hi, I’m Erica Brozovsky, and this is Crash

Course: How to College. A Study Hall series presented in partnership with Arizona State University. In this episode, we’re going to talk about leaving college and transitioning into… whatever comes next! [INTRO MUSIC PLAYS] The first question many students have about leaving college and beginning their next chapter is: Where do I start? Well, that’s a good question.

But actually, when we’re thinking about transitioning from school to a job, graduate school, or something else entirely, where we start may not be quite as important as when we start. The earlier you start planning your transition, the better, because getting an early start can help prepare you to take the next step. Even as soon as you get acclimated during your first year of college, start planning how you’ll make the transition from school to work.

Even little things like researching job titles–or watching this video!– can help get you started. And here’s a secret: there are no rules about what kind of adult you have to be after college. You can do whatever you want with your degree, and your career path doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s.

Look at me! Most linguistics majors don’t use their degree to become educational YouTubers. It’s important to manage your expectations about what this transition could look like, though.

You may not land your dream job right after graduation, but with whatever you decide to do, you’ll learn more about what you want and what you don’t want in a workplace. So, back to the question: Where do I start? Let’s go to the Thought Bubble.

After completing multiple classes in college, you probably have a pretty good understanding of what your interests are, especially if you also spent time engaging in extracurriculars. But if you’re still trying to figure out what your interests are, or if you’ve done all those things and are now struggling to narrow it down, the career services office at your school can help provide support as you begin your job search. Take Sara.

She’s always loved animals, so when she started college she signed up for courses in biology and environmental science. But she isn’t totally sure what kind of career she’d like to pursue, so she asks a career advisor at her school about doing an interest assessment. Interest assessments include a series of questions about your likes and dislikes.

Once you complete it, you’ll receive a report that includes potential careers based on your interests, and a career advisor can help you interpret your results. When Sara completes hers, she realizes she’s a perfect fit for wildlife conservation. As she looks more into it, she finds that courses in public speaking, environmental law, policy, and research are also relevant, since wildlife conservation involves advocating for animals, speaking with lawmakers, and running experiments.

Although it didn’t seem like it at first, her interests align perfectly with what’s covered in these courses. We can make the connection between our interests and our dream career the same way. Think about the ways that your interests align with what you’re currently studying in your courses.

Are there skills you still want to develop and improve? Talk to an academic advisor about finding additional courses that can help bridge any gaps. Thanks, Thought Bubble.

Other things you can do to make connections between your coursework and your career aspirations include connecting with industry professionals, attending industry networking events and conferences, and joining professional organizations. And to maximize how effective these strategies are for you, you’ll want to make sure all your professional materials are up to date. This way, if you meet someone at a networking event or come across a job you like, you’ll already have what you need to apply.

What you’ll need can vary field to field, but we recommend creating an updated resume that includes your most relevant jobs, internships, and coursework that you can adjust depending on the job. It can also be helpful to make sure your LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts are ready to be reviewed by potential employers because employers may check your social media to learn more about you. This might mean making sure LinkedIn lists all your relevant information - especially since some jobs will use it instead of a resume - or making sure your privacy settings are set to only make public what you're comfortable with.

You may also want to consider creating a portfolio to showcase projects you’ve completed from your job, internship, or class. Portfolios are common in fields like the fine arts, writing, tech, or similar industries where employers like to see samples of your work in order to assess your ability. Even if it’s not a required application piece for your industry, having a website or other type of portfolio is a great way to showcase more skills than just what you could fit in your resume or cover letter.

Once you’ve connected what you’re interested in to what kind of job you’d like, the next step in your process is to build your experience. You may remember that in episode 10 we talked about gaining practical experience through extra experiences like volunteer work and study abroad. While you don’t have to do these things, participating can help you figure out your interests and gain experience to enter the workforce.

As you build your experience, it can also be helpful to find a mentor to help you on your job-hunting journey. A mentor can be anyone you admire, respect, and want to learn from. You may have more than one mentor, and a mentorship can last for a short or long period of time.

So neither of you are signing up for a lifetime commitment! These magical people who are willing to give back a bit by looking out for you can sound like unicorns, but they’re actually easier to find than you think. You can find a mentor at your job or internship, in the community, or in professional associations, which are organizations where members share the same professional interests.

Professional associations can also link you to mentorship networks, where you can connect with industry professionals who are eager to mentor you. And sometimes a mentor can be right in front of you! Within your major or school other students, graduate students, alumni, faculty and other people in your field are all clumped together.

So don’t be afraid to talk to them! Attend office hours to get to know your faculty and ask about projects you can assist them with. Talk to them about how they developed their career path.

Your career doesn’t have to look exactly like theirs, but hearing from someone who has already gained a lot of experience can help you decide how to embark on your own career path. And while it can be scary to start these conversations yourself, sometimes these situations are already being set up. Check with your school’s career center or student activities department about upcoming events, like career fairs and alumni networking sessions where you can connect with people who are already doing the work you want to do in the future.

One way to prep for job-hunting situations is to get really good at explaining who you are and what you do. When you meet with your career advisor or mentor, work with them to create and practice your elevator pitch, which is a brief summary of who you are and what you’re interested in professionally. You can use your elevator pitch at networking events—include what you’re studying and how you plan to tie that into your career.

Throughout college, there will be times when you have competing priorities–especially if you’re looking for a job during your last year or semester of school. For example, exam time tends to be busier because you have to juggle study time with work, family obligations, socializing with friends, and getting rest. During exam times, it’s important to communicate with the people in your life.

If you have a job, share your exam schedule with your supervisor. Let your family and friends know that you will have limited availability in the weeks leading up to exams and that you look forward to connecting with them once exams are over. As you balance school and work, consider what you’ve learned in your courses and how that applies to your career goals.

Or on the flip side, what skills or knowledge do you need to gain before applying for jobs? Keep up with what’s happening in your desired field and keep an eye on the job outlook, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics defines as the growth rate of an occupation. This helps you determine whether jobs will be available in your field long after you graduate.

When you identify a gap in your skills or experience, look for ways to fill that gap. Seek opportunities to learn outside the classroom, even if it’s for a topic that doesn’t relate to your studies. Pursuing education for your courses as well as for your own personal knowledge helps you to become a well-rounded person.

The same is true for leadership experiences, which can help you sharpen your skills and prepare for the workforce. In a 2021 survey, employers reported that, when having to decide between two candidates, they went with the candidate who had previously held a leadership position. Serving on committees at your school, running for office within your student government, or completing projects in the community can help you develop leadership, teamwork, communication, and critical thinking skills.

Most students start developing these skills in a volunteer position, job, or internship. An internship is a practical experience that many college students participate in at least once during their college careers. With an internship, you can build your resume and show potential employers that you have the education, experience, and motivation to go above and beyond what is required of you.

In fact, employers often hire former interns for full-time positions after graduation, so be prepared to make a great impression. The length of an internship may vary, lasting anywhere from a few weeks to an entire summer, semester, or year. Some internships can be done after you graduate, but most are done during your undergraduate years.

They can be paid, but most are unpaid, and many schools even charge tuition in order to enroll in an internship course. For students with financial concerns/limitations, an internship could be a great option, but taking an unpaid position may not be feasible. For these students, working with career counselors is critical to find part-time jobs or other experiences that will provide similar industry-related experience (if possible).

Employers may require students to have a certain number of college credits to qualify for the internship or may specify in the job posting that the internship is geared toward freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior students specifically. You can find internships through the career center at your school, looking online, or even using some of the connections in your network. Mentorships could lead to a connection that could help secure a paid internship in the field.

It's all about who you know! Ultimately, interning is all about trying a career out, learning what you like in the workplace, and developing skills that you can build on as you continue your career. You might also consider an apprenticeship, a program in which college students can learn a trade or skill.

Apprenticeships are more frequently offered by community colleges and trade schools, but some universities offer them as well. In an apprenticeship, you spend part of your time learning and part of your time working. These are often more hands-on than internships because they include on-the-job training for a specific trade.

Whichever opportunity you decide to pursue, be sure to think about whether it is a good fit for you. Leaving college can be just as stressful as starting college. So, it takes work.

But you’ve already had to adapt to a new way of learning, become more independent, and figure out how to juggle competing priorities. You did it! And you can do it again, using the same knowledge and skills you already have to make it happen.

Thanks for watching this episode of Crash Course How to College. This series is part of an expanded program called Study Hall. Crash Course has partnered with Arizona State University to launch Study Hall on its own channel.

Check out where you’ll find more tips about navigating college, choosing a major, plus foundational courses connected to college credit courses that students struggle most with in their first 2 years. We hope to see you over there!