The beautiful thing about life after college is that it could be anything. The scary thing about life after college is that it could be anything. Or nothing. Figuring this out, and having something substantive to do - whether it’s starting your own venture, doing a gap year, getting another degree, or joining the workforce - is not a senior year project. While you don’t have to have your mind set in your freshman year, you should be considering some options early on, and be purposeful about exploring possibilities. There are many places to look for leads.
Use your school’s career center early and often - for internships and fellowship programs, graduate school preparation, and more. Join pre-professional societies, attend conferences. Go to career fairs and corporate presentations - again, not just in your senior year but throughout college. Speak with mentors and reach out to your school’s alumni network. Get your resume reviewed - by the career center or an advisor - and participate in mock interviews. Apply for real opportunities and practice your skills in real interviews. Stretch yourself - apply to a few things out of your comfort zone and see what happens. Always do thorough interview prep, dress the part, arrive early, and send a thank you note after the meeting.
Along with the many resources on your campus, including e-mail lists, online databases, formal recruiting visits and fairs for careers and graduate school, and more, there are also major websites such as Monster.com, postings in industry periodicals and on company websites, and other information outlets. At the end of the day, your personal network may be the best thing going for you - from recent alumni who have leads about openings in their company, to mentors who may not only write you a recommendation letter but also let you know about an amazing opportunity that’s just the right match.