Four-Year Career Checklist

A step by step guide to prepare for your future

Goals: Get to know yourself and your New College community. Explore what you enjoy doing, what you’re good at doing and what’s important to you. Learn where to get the support you need.

  • Check out several clubs and organizations that interest you; join one or two.
  • Attend cultural events and guest speaker talks. Notice what topics interest you.
  • Take classes in a variety of topics that interest you, even outside what you think your AOC may be.
  • Connect with the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity:
    • Learn where we are (in Cook library, next to the overpass)
    • Explore the CEO website to become familiar with everything it offers.
    • Check out the CEO’s events. Attend any and all that interest you.
  • Start a notebook or list of career/AOC ideas. Add to it whenever you get clues about careers that might interest you (classes you like; people you meet; events that inspire you, etc.)
  • Attend the New College AOC fair.

Summer After First Year:

  • Work and/or volunteer over the summer to build experience and learn more about what interests you.
  • Build your LinkedIn profile.
    • Fill in every category that you can
    • Take and upload a professional-looking headshot photo (you can do this with a good phone camera)
    • Start connecting with other students and co-workers to begin building your LinkedIn network

Download the Year One Checklist

Goals: Start investigating both AOC and career possibilities. Plan experiences that will let you try out fields and professions that interest you. Start making connections with alums and other professionals in fields that interest you.

Resources: ncf.edu/advising

Your AOC:

  • Refer back to your Career/AOC Ideas List from Year One.
  • Talk to your faculty advisor and other faculty, as needed about AOC options.
  • Attend the New College AOC fair.
  • Start a list of potential thesis ideas.

 

Career Exploration:

  • Attend CEO Coffee Talks to explore careers related to your interests and AOC.
  • Take the CEO’s career assessment tests and/or career exploration workshops.
  • Talk to people in careers that interest you; learn what they really do and how they got there. Find these people through:
    • Your faculty
    • CEO Coffee Talks
    • The Alumnae/i Mentor Program (ask the CEO)
    • Your alumnae/i network on LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Keep adding to your Career Ideas List.

 

Resume & Portfolio:

  • Begin to eliminate high school content from your resume–replace with college-level activities.
  • Format your resume in a professional way. See the CEO resources page for a template; ask the CEO for feedback.
  • Begin a portfolio of your best work (papers, projects, art, etc.).

 

Experience:

  • Join a campus organization, if you have not already. Shift from attending to contributing.
  • Start brainstorming possible internships for your third year. Visit the CEO’s webpage for ideas.
  • Plan to work a summer job, volunteer, and/or get a non-credit internship in an industry you might like to pursue, to try it out and to build relevant experiences (if you discover you don’t like it, there’s still time to change direction).
  • Consider semester abroad opportunities for next year (if appropriate to your AOC and/or career plans).

 

Build Your Network:

  • Start building relationships with your key faculty.
  • Introduce yourself to speakers at Coffee Talks, symposia in your division, conferences you attend, etc. Collect their contact information on your Contact List for later reference.  
  • Add more classmates, co-workers, alums and event speakers to your LinkedIn network.

Download the Year Two Checklist

Goals: Pick an AOC; gain experience outside the classroom; develop your leadership and/or group work skills; start considering specific options for what comes after New College.

Resources: ncf.edu/advising.

 

Your AOC:

  • Pick an AOC and work with your faculty advisor to make sure you are on track to graduate.

Career Exploration:

  • Attend division symposium, CEO Coffee Talks and career exploration workshops to refine your career path.
  • Continue to “interview” professionals in your areas of interest to find out what they really do and how they got started. (Ask the CEO for a quick-start guide.) Find these people through:
    • Your faculty
    • CEO Coffee Talks
    • The Alumnae/i Mentor Program (ask the CEO)
    • Your alumnae/i network on LinkedIn and Facebook
  • Make a plan to try out potential careers to gain more information about them, before choosing (shadowing, interviewing professionals, internships, volunteering, part-time jobs, etc.).

Job Search Skills:

  • Learn how to network to get a job.
  • Learn how to write a compelling cover letter.
  • Get feedback on your resume or CV at the CEO to make sure it looks professional and highlights your strengths.
  • Participate in a practice interview.
  • Learn how to use LinkedIn to find jobs.

Professional Experience:

  • Participate in a semester abroad (if appropriate).
  • Do an internship for ISP or spring semester (start planning with the CEO no later than fall break).
  • Nat Sci/Soc Sci/Interdisciplinary students: consider an National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates for summer.
  • Fellowship students should begin working on their applications.
  • Seek out leadership opportunities in your campus organization.
  • Identify hard skills in your field you’re unfamiliar with and develop a plan to learn them.
  • Plan to get a summer job in your field if at all possible. See the CEO for help with this.

Build Your Network:

  • Build your connections and trade endorsements on LinkedIn.
  • Participate in a professional conference (many have student rates and scholarships). Meet people there and continue corresponding with those people after the conference.
  • Continue to meet additional professionals in your chosen field(s) through faculty connections, the CEO’s Coffee Talks, the NCF Mentor Program, the Daimon Facebook page, or other ways.
  • Maintain contact over time with professionals you are meeting in your areas of interest; take an interest in their work and share resources.
  • Identify three people who can serve as strong references in your job search.
  • Keep adding to your contact list of professional contacts, both in your notes and on LinkedIn.

For Grad School, Med School or Law School:

    • Begin researching potential schools — look up prominent programs and researchers in your field; look at Peterson’s and other grad school guides.
    • Begin to correspond with faculty in grad schools of interest (mostly, about their work).
    • Study for the GRE, MCAT or LSAT — since New College has no grades, in most cases your test scores will weigh more heavily.
    • Make a dedicated effort to cultivate relationships with the faculty who will probably write your letters of recommendation. These will also weigh more heavily.
    • Learn what subject-area tests you might want to take.
    • Plan to take your first GRE/MCAT/LSAT in spring of your third year, leaving time to take it again if you need a higher score.
  • See the following sections for more detail on grad school, law school and med school admissions.

Download the Year Three Checklist

Goals: Pace yourself to finish your thesis; pick grad schools or jobs for after graduation and do what’s needed to ensure a successful transition.

Resources: ncf.edu/advising

For Grad School, Med School or Law School:

  • See the timelines for each of these in the sections that follow.

For Job Seekers:

  • Meet with a career coach at the CEO to develop a plan for your fourth year to maximize your chances of getting a great job after graduation.
  • Update your resume, LinkedIn profile, and portfolio as needed.
  • Curate your social media presence so it looks professional to potential employers.
  • Begin to systematically identify alums who can help you; conduct several informational interviews to widen your professional network and get insider tips for unpublished jobs.
    • Refer back to your contact list to get started.
  • Gather information on realistic salary expectations.
  • Prepare your interview outfit and materials. Optional: Stop by the Professional Clothing Closet for free attire.
  • Practice interviewing. Get feedback on your presentation. Identify and polish answers to the questions you find hardest.
  • Identify the skills and knowledge you have gained with your liberal arts or science degree that employers find highly valuable. Choose stories you can tell in your cover letters and interviews that illustrate these.
  • Develop a targeted job search that is customized to your goals. Attend the Job Quest workshop series or ask the CEO how to do this.

Download the Year Four Checklist

Second Year:

  • Start considering whether your career plans will include grad school.

Fall of Third Year:

  • Start considering whether you prefer to enter grad school directly after New College, or whether you will wait until you have accomplished other goals.
  • Begin researching potential schools
    • Look up prominent programs and researchers in your field.
    • Look at Peterson’s, Princeton Review and other grad school guides.
    • Talk to alums in your chosen field and learn what grad schools they recommend (and where they can recommend you).
    • Refer back to your contact list to start identifying alums, or make new contacts through LinkedIn, New College Facebook groups and other groups.

Spring of Third Year:  

  • Finalize your list of prospective schools, and familiarize yourself with the professors who share your research interests at each school.
  • Pro Tip: Begin to correspond with faculty at grad schools of interest (mostly, about their work).
  • Take a GRE practice test to determine how much prep you need, and in what areas.
  • Learn what subject-area tests you might need or want to take.
  • Pro Tip: Study weekly for the GRE — since New College has no grades, in most cases your GRE will weigh more heavily.
  • Make a dedicated effort to cultivate relationships with the New College faculty who will probably write your letters of recommendation. These will also weigh more heavily.

Summer After Third Year:

  • Take a GRE prep course if necessary.
  • Register to take the GRE in August if you have not already done so.
  • Take any prerequisite courses you may need for grad school, which are not available at New College, at another institution.
  • Consider taking any GRE subject area tests you may need during the summer (leaving time to retake them in fall if necessary).

Fall of Fourth Year::

  • Take the GRE in August. If you’re not happy with your scores, sign up to take it again.
  • Take any GRE subject area tests you still need to take.  
  • Finalize the list of grad schools to which you will apply. Note their application deadlines.
  • Begin drafting your statement of purpose. Tailor to each application according to their prompt questions. (See the CEO for tips.)
  • Request official transcripts from New College (and any other college and university you’ve attended) to be sent to the grad schools you apply to.
  • Make contacts with students and professors at these schools if you have not done so already.
  • Draft your CV. (See the CEO resource page for a template with tips.)
  • Polish your statement(s) of purpose and CV early enough to give copies to people writing your letters of recommendation. Let professors, CEO staff or writing resource center staff give you feedback.
  • Request letters of recommendation from professors. (Ask, rather than assume.)
    • Pro tip: Give them plenty of time to write, given their other commitments. You’ll get better letters if they aren’t rushed.
  • Complete and submit all grad applications 30-90 days ahead of deadlines. Keep copies of every section for your records. (Fellowships/scholarships may have earlier deadlines).
  • Verify that your letters of recommendations have been sent.

December – January of Fourth Year:

  • If your program includes an interview, prepare by learning about typical questions and practicing your interview skills. (See the CEO resource page for tips.)

Spring of Fourth Year:

  • Follow through on any other requirements for fellowships, scholarships, etc.

Download the Grad School Timeline

Most medical schools employ a rolling admissions process that heavily favors those people who submit their applications as early as possible. You should aim to submit all of your primary applications, regardless of deadlines, by July 1 between your third and fourth years of college.  

For specific application deadline dates, you should always check the AMCAS or AACOMAS websites.

Pre-med advisor: Proffesor Katherine Walstrom

Second Year:

  • Start considering whether your career plans will include med school or other medical careers. Try explorehealthcareers.org to explore your options.
  • Consider joining the New College Pre-Med Club.
  • Start building your experience in a medical setting, through internships, volunteering, working as a scribe, medically-oriented research, etc.
  • Watch recordings of prior Pre-Med Coffee Talks on the CEO resources page or attend a pre-med Coffee Talk if one is offered.

Fall of Third Year:

  • Start considering whether you prefer to enter med school directly after New College, or whether you will wait until you have accomplished other goals.
  • Join the New College Pre-Med Club if you have not done so already.
  • Watch the Pre-Med Coffee Talks videos on the CEO resources page or attend a pre-med Coffee Talk if one is offered.
  • Begin researching potential schools:
    • Compare med school admission requirements and mission statements.
    • Look at US News & World Report and other guides.
    • Talk to alums in your chosen field and learn what med schools they recommend
  • Begin studying for the MCAT over fall break. Since New College has no grades, in most cases your MCAT will weigh more heavily.
    • Consider taking a pre MCAT practice test.
    • Consider taking an MCAT prep course or studying with the Pre-Med Club.
  • Register to take your first MCAT by April. If you don’t score over 500 this gives you time to take it again.
  • Make a dedicated effort to cultivate relationships with the faculty who will probably write your letters of recommendation. These will also weigh more heavily.

January-March of Third Year:

  • Finalize the list of schools to which you plan to apply. Double check their application dates and requirements.
  • Build your CV. Use the CEO template and get feedback to polish.
  • Begin to draft your application essays.
  • Finalize who is writing your letters of recommendation. (Ask, rather than assume.)
  • Continue with your volunteer, work or research activities.
  • Continue prepping for the MCAT – Remember to take your first MCAT no later than May of your third year.  
  • Bonus: Attend various medical school admissions and application workshops, pre-med conferences, graduate school fairs, etc.
  • Confirm school-specific requirements.

April-May of Third Year:

  • Take the MCAT if you have not already.
  • AMCAS application is available. Begin to fill out primary application. Contact AMCAS directly for specific questions that are not found in their instruction manual.
  • Order and collect official transcripts from ALL colleges and universities that you have attended.
  • Gather your letters of recommendation. As a courtesy give your letter-writers copies of your CV and essays so they can better focus their recommendation.
  • Confirm deadline dates for AMCAS and medical schools.

June of Third Year:

  • Make final decisions on which medical schools to apply to and submit primary application.
  • Send official transcripts to AMCAS.
  • Have letters of recommendation sent to AMCAS – check individual schools for specific criteria.
  • Medical school decisions regarding secondary applications begin to be forwarded to applicants (if invited to complete a secondary application, begin and submit sooner than later).

July of Third Year:

  • AMCAS notifies applicants of verified primary applications or problems with verification
  • Medical school decisions regarding secondary applications begin to be forwarded to applicants (if invited to complete a secondary application, begin and submit sooner than later).
  • Continue to submit primary applications.

August of Fourth Year:

  • Continue finishing and submitting secondary applications.
  • Begin to check medical school application status websites for schools applied.

September – March/April of Fourth Year:

  • Prepare/attend interviews.
  • Continue to complete and submit secondary applications (check deadline dates).
  • Send medical schools application updates if acceptable.
  • Continue to check medical school application status website for each individual medical school.

October – May of Fourth Year:

  • Medical school admissions committees meet and decide status: accept/reject/waitlist. Applicants notified.

March – May of Fourth Year:

  • Medical schools hold “Second Look” or “Admit Weekend” activities. Newly admitted applicants are invited to attend.

May of Fourth Year:

  • Newly admitted applicants must notify AMCAS and the medical school that they plan to matriculate of their decision by May 15.
  • Admits with multiple acceptances must choose one school by May 15 and withdraw their application from other schools.

May – August After Fourth Year:

  • Applicants on waitlists are notified of an admission offer. Typically, medical schools confirm their class by the end of June.

Download the Medical School Timeline

Most law schools employ a rolling admissions process that heavily favors those people who submit their applications as early as possible. You should aim to submit all of your applications, regardless of deadlines, by October or November of your fourth year.

Pre-law advisor: Michael Pierce, New College General Counsel

Second Year:

  • Start considering whether your career plans will include law school.
  • Start building your experience in relevant settings, through internships, volunteering, part-time jobs, ISP’s, etc.
  • Watch recordings of prior, relevant Coffee Talks on the CEO resources page or attend a relevant Coffee Talk if one is offered.

Fall of Third Year:

  • Consider whether you prefer to enter law school directly after New College, or whether you will wait until you have accomplished other goals.
  • Continue building your pre-law experience through internships, part-time jobs, volunteering, ISP’s, etc.
  • Research law schools and draft a list of possibilities.  
  • Decide when to take the LSAT.  We recommend taking it February of your third year, leaving time to take it again if needed.
  • Prepare for the LSAT.  If taking the LSAT in February, begin preparing to take the LSAT by fall break.
    • Consider an LSAT prep course or engage a tutor; or, buy and take 10-15 actual old LSATs and engage in rigorous self-study.
  • Setup LSAC account & register for LSAT.  If taking the LSAT in February, set up your LSAC account online and register for the LSAT at least 30 days before the exam. Registering with the LSAC and using their Law School Data Assembly Service (LSDAS) is mandatory to apply to most law schools. Your LSAC account allows you to:
    • 1     Purchase LSAT prep materials, including old actual LSAT exams
    • 2     Register to take the LSAT
    • 3     Receive your LSAT score early by email
    • 4     Register for free Law School Forums (see below)
    • 5     Use the LSAC’s LSDAS service
    • 6     Apply online to law schools
    • 7     Check your application status with most law schools
  • Identify recommendation letter writers.  
    • Make a dedicated effort to cultivate relationships with the faculty (and possibly employers) who will probably write your letters of recommendation. (Note: Ask people, rather than assume.)
    • Since New College does not have grades, these will weigh more heavily.
    • Use your Contact List to identify potential letter writers, especially employers.
  • View or attend appropriate Coffee Talks at the CEO. Also attend any other relevant pre-law events.
  • Bonus: attend free pre-law forums. Consider attending free pre-law forums sponsored by LSAC, Kaplan and The Princeton Review.

Spring of Third Year:

  • Take the February LSAT.  Register online at LSAC.org.
  • Refine your draft list of law schools you plan to apply to.
  • Decide whether your February LSAT score is high enough or if you need to take it again.
  • Study for another LSAT.  If taking the LSAT in June, begin preparing.
  • Bonus: attend free pre-law forums.  Consider attending free pre-law forums sponsored by LSAC, Kaplan and The Princeton Review.

Summer After Third Year:

  • Take the June LSAT if needed.  Register online at LSAC.org.
  • Finalize your list of law schools and note their deadlines.  
  • Draft Personal Statements. Tweak for each individual law school to address any prompt questions they provide.  
    • Review them with your pre-law advisor, CEO career advisor, or writing center staff.
  • Draft Resume. Draft and finish your resume. See the CEO resources page for a template.
  • Request official transcripts from New College’s Registrar (and any other college you have attended) and have them sent directly to LSAC.
    • See LSAC for a request form.
    • Pro Tip: Requesting them now is helpful in case you encounter any unexpected delays which need resolving (such as a hold due to outstanding fees).

August – September of Fourth Year:

  • Finish personal statement, other statements.  
  • Polish resume. Get feedback from the CEO, the pre-law advisor, or writing center staff.
  • Solicit 2-4 recommendation letters.  
    • Remember to ask, rather than presume. Refer back to your Contact List to find letter writers if you have not already.
    • Provide recommendation letter writers with a copy of your resume and application essays.
    • nstruct recommenders to finish and submit letters to LSAC no later than the end of September.
  • Bonus: Attend Free Pre-Law Forums.  Consider free pre-law forums sponsored by LSAC, Kaplan and The Princeton Review.

October of Fourth Year:

  • Take the October LSAT if needed.  Register online at LSAC.org.
  • Finish the LSDAS report online.
  • Polish and begin submitting law school applications.

November – December of Fourth Year:

  • Finish submitting law school applications. Submit all law school applications by November at the latest.
  • Confirm receipt of law school applications. Obtain confirmation letters/emails from law schools that your applications are complete, and contact law schools if you do not hear from them.
  • Begin financial aid applications.  

January of Fourth Year:

  • Submit updated transcript to LSAC. If you’re still in college, have your college Registrar submit updated transcript that reflects your fall semester grades.
  • Submit completed financial aid applications.

February – May of Fourth Year:

  • Evaluate law school acceptances/deferrals/waitlists.
  • Evaluate financial aid packages from federal government/law schools/private institutions.
  • Visit law schools you’ve been accepted to, if possible.
  • Consider what you will do with your summer to prepare for law school (e.g., take a cool vacation, read law-related books, take a law school prep course like Law Preview).
  • Choose your law school. Send letter of acceptance to your law school of choice, and letters of rejection to remaining law schools where you have an offer or wait list.

Download the Law School Timeline


New College

Four Year Career Checklist

Download the Complete 4 Year Career Checklist