The Overachiever's Guide to Senior Year


For nearly two decades, I've been committed to preparing the most inspiring and motivated college students for graduate/professional school, influential careers, and lifelong achievement.

I have learned that my very best students were focused, driven, and disciplined enough to follow these key steps-to-success during their senior year:

1. Manage your time. Thinking must-do, should-do, or could-do will not only help you schedule your priorities, but also control your 168 hours per week.

2. Stay abreast of current events and best practices - one way or another.

3. Take care of your health and wellness -- no excuses.

4. Meet once a semester with your academic advisor to select your classes and to track your progress toward degree completion.

5. Leave a good impression by dressing business casual for your first week of classes and sitting in the front of the classroom.

6. Introduce yourself to your professors within the first two weeks of classes. Don't forget to meet with them again mid-semester to discuss performance and hear suggestions for improvement.

7. Meet once a semester with both of your faculty mentors. You should use one of these meetings to request references for jobs and letters of recommendation for graduate/professional school applications.

8. Study individually and in a group for 30 to 45 hours a week in an effort to graduate with a cumulative GPA of 3.2 or above.

9. Get a part-time job or internship to enhance your professional knowledge, skills, and abilities.

10. Live on a budget.

11. Update your LinkedIn profile and connect with family, friends, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and co-workers.

12. Meet once a semester with your career advisor to accomplish related goals.

13. Look for a full-time job at the career fair, then connect with recruiters on LinkedIn.

14. Attend a professional conference to expand your network of higher-level thinkers and leaders.

15. Participate in community service.

16. Meet individually with your president, provost, dean, associate dean, and department chair over lunch to share your post-baccalaureate plans and ask for job references and letters of recommendation.

17. Meet once a semester with your student government president to discuss student involvement and concerns.

18. Meet once a semester with your alumni mentor for advice and assistance in achieving academic, personal and career goals.

19. Add a new suit and a new pair of shoes to your wardrobe.

20. Exchange business cards with influencers at least four times a week, and remember to connect with them on LinkedIn.

21. Unplug from mobile devices and social media for 12 hours a day.

22. Tour at least three graduate and/or professional schools, meeting with students, faculty, career counselors, and admissions staff.

23. Research scholarships and fellowships for graduate and/or professional school.

24. Take a graduate/professional school standardized test preparation course.

25. Present your undergraduate research at a conference, fair, or poster competition. This is especially important if you are considering a career in health, science, technology, engineering or architecture.

I genuinely hope this list helps you do more, do well, and do good. It is by no means exhaustive and bound to be missing some best practices. Please feel free to add your great advice to the comments section below.

I look forward to reading your suggestions and connecting with you on LinkedIn.