You aren't that far away from summer vacation! However, you shouldn't stop preparing yourself to reach your goals. Here are some important points to remember no matter what year you are in college!
Major Goals: Your major goals in college are to 1) select your area of study, 2) maintain a G.P.A. of 3.0 or greater, 3) prepare sufficiently for the GRE test(s), and 4) apply for graduate school.
Year 1: Fall Semester *Get to know advisor *Take different types of classes in order to determine major field of study *Check out extracurricular activities you would like to join in spring semester *Strive to have a ≤3.5 G.P.A. in order to be on Dean’s List Spring Semester *Decide on major field of study *Meet with advisor and create a plan of classes you need to take and when you should take them in order to graduate in your fourth year *Meet and get to know university faculty from your major field of study *Join extracurricular activities, especially those pertaining to your major field of study and/or tutoring *See if major study faculty, including advisor, are accepting undergraduates for their research projects *If this is the case, plan on joining for part of the spring semester and the majority of the summer session
Year 2: Fall Semester *Research and plan on applying for summer programs in your major field of study Possible Programs: The Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program, Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Program, Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP), N.I.H. Summer Internship Program, Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program (SHURP), Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF), Four Directions Summer Research Program (FDSRP) *Approach major faculty members (ones that you have conducted research with and/or taken multiple classes from) and ask if they would be willing to give you a strong letter of recommendation for the above programs you are applying for Spring Semester *Plan on tutoring other students (See if local middle schools and high schools need tutors) *Apply for multiple summer programs *Start studying for the Graduate Records Examination (GRE)
Year 3: Fall Semester *Continue to study for the GRE *Start researching graduate programs *Plan on applying for another summer program (a list of possible programs are included in Year 2) *Consider joining a community outreach program for spring semester Spring Semester *Schedule to take the GRE in May *Join a community outreach program and/or continue tutoring other students *Apply for another summer program *Make final decisions about which graduate programs you will apply to *Create a checklist of items wanted by each program and dates you plan on completing them *If program requires subject test, start studying for it
Year 4: Fall Semester *If selected graduate programs require a GRE subject test, plan on taking it on the October and November test dates *Write to current faculty from selected graduate programs about his/her research and the program *Work on personal statement starting in September *Plan on making one general personal statement and later catering the last two paragraphs to the specific program (not including the conclusion) *Have personal statement reviewed by advisor, other faculty members, summer program mentors, and writing/career center at university *Create a list of faculty members to write a letter of recommendation *Be sure to ask them starting in September and make sure they feel comfortable in writing you a strong letter *Make faculty aware of the deadline *Look at graduate school check list that was made in Year 3 and make sure everything is turned into the graduate school admission office on time Spring Semester *Avoid the senior slide, end final semester with a high G.P.A. *Prepare for interviews *Seek help from career counseling center, advisor and program mentors *Look for professional yet modest interview suits *Know who you are interviewing with and look up his/her research *Prior to interview date be sure to know where appointments are at, do a run through *After Interviews *Write thank you letters to everyone you met with even if you decide not to attend that program *Select Program *Look for funding