An Integrated Plan for Your Time at Appalachian

Make the most out of college: create social, academic, and career connections.

This plan provides steps to help you make the most of your opportunities in college from start to finish. Success lies not simply in making good grades or developing your resume, but weaving together a number of strategies and resources.

Freshman Year

Social

  • Get involved.
  • Collaborate and interact. Develop your interpersonal skills. Learn how to get along well with roommates, floormates, classmates, professors--all who may be different from you. Look at any group projects as ideal practice for the future.

Academic

Career

  • Explore majors.
  • Identify strengths.
  • Get a job.
  • Volunteer.
  • Start your resume. Create a starter resume that may have some blank spots since you have just begun college. Consider those blank spots "to-do" items--plan to fill in the blanks during the next four years. Both the career center and the writing center provide handouts and consultations to help you with this process.

Sophomore Year

Social

  • Lead. Look for opportunities to take on a leadership or innovative role in one of the clubs or organizations you have joined or within your volunteer commitment.

Academic

  • Declare your major.
  • Explore opportunities to get involved in academic research.
  • Maximize your resources. By now you should be familiar with campus resources such as the tutoring center, the writing center, peer career, the library, Student Engagement and Leadership, ACT, and many more. Take a fresh look to consider if you are making the most of these various resources. Revisit these spaces, online or in person, to make sure you are aware of any new initiatives or opportunities to consider.

Career

  • Explore more.
  • Shadow and ask questions.
  • Revise your resume.
  • Gain experience.
  • Get to know your professors. Keep in touch. During your first two years of college, you lay the groundwork in terms of social, academic, and career connections. These accomplishments will ease your load as you enter into your junior and senior years, a critical phase as you prepare for life after college.

Aim to reach the following benchmarks during your final years at Appalachian:

Start of Junior Year

Middle of Junior Year

  • Be professional. Consider the impression you make on others in the way you dress, speak, and keep promises. Take academic and personal commitments seriously. Ask for feedback from others, and strive to improve.
  • Consider your options.
  • Visit your career counselor.
  • Line up an internship.

End of Junior Year

  • Complete an informal degree audit. Find the major, minor (if relevant), and general education programs of study based on the first year you started at Appalachian at this link. Then log into Degree Works and assess your progress towards degree. Write down any questions that arise during this review, and bring them to your advisor or college advising office.
  • Ask for reference letters. In classes where you have done well and built a good relationship with your professor, be sure to ask for reference letters that you can keep on file. If you are active in clubs or jobs, ask your club sponsor or supervisor to write letters for you, too.
  • Refine your resume.
  • Complete a mock interview.

Summer After Junior Year

  • Complete an internship.

Start of Senior Year

  • Explore additional resources. If you are not fully aware of resources available through the career center, be sure to visit and explore. Peer Career in the student union also has many helpful books. Explore career guides at the library. Review classified ads in cities or towns where you might want to live. Ask your advisor about any other career resources.
  • Complete your senior check
    • College of Arts and Sciences
    • College of Business
    • College of Education
    • College of Fine and Applied Arts
    • College of Health Sciences
    • School of Music
  • Maintain high standards.

Middle of Senior Year

  • Meet with your career counselor.
  • Network. Discuss your career interests with friends and family, professors and coworkers. Find people doing work you might enjoy and ask them questions about their jobs. Networking is NOT asking for a job, but spreading the word of your interest. As a result, you usually gain tips on how to find jobs, and sometimes people will spread the word. Online sources such as Linked In or Facebook may help--just take extra care in how you present yourself on these social media.
  • Meet with your academic advisor.
  • Update your resume.
  • Seek employment by participating in career fairs, information sessions, employer panels, and on campus interviewing.
  • Keep a list of professional contacts.

End of Senior Year

  • Congratulations! You have finished your degree, and you should be ready to land a job or begin graduate school.
  • Not quite there? Remember that the Career Development Office will work with Appalachian alumni.

The best time to take full advantage of the resources and experiences available at Appalachian is while you are a student. Follow the steps outlined above to increase your chances for success. A college diploma does not guarantee employment. Success lies in how you spend your time while you are in college. Make wise choices and follow your dreams.