I Just Got My College Degree: Now What?

I Just Got My College Degree: Now What?

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Cody is a personal finance junkie who constantly tracks his net worth with Personal Capital.

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The following is a guest post from Simple Money Tips for Women.

Your years of studying are finally paying off; you have your college degree! Those all-nighters are a thing of the past, and you’re ready to take on the world. Except, how do you really go about living your life? For a lot of people, graduating from college and transitioning to the adult world can be a difficult process. Here are a few key tips from the folks at Simple Money Tips for Women that will help you navigate the real world.

#1: Manage Your Money

The first and most obvious, thing that you’ll need to do after graduating is to learn how to manage your money. Some people learn how to do this well while in college, but there’s a good number of people who don’t know how to make a budget even after going through college. If you’re that person, it’s perfectly okay! There’s always time to learn how to manage your money, even after you graduate college.

Making a budget is simple: keep up with your monthly expenses and your monthly income. Tally it all together to see where exactly your money goes! Then, you can make a plan for how to spend your monthly money; you want to think about how much you’re putting in savings, how much you’re putting towards student debt, and how much you want to use on yourself every month. Creating a written record for all your money will really open your eyes to how much you spend on different things, which is helpful to everyone. You’ll be much wiser in how you spend your money, so when you get bigger expenses, such as rent or a power bill, you’ll be able to plan to pay that more easily.

#2: Finding a Job

It’s time to talk about the dreaded question; what do you plan on doing after you graduate? Well, girls, that time is now. Graduation is over (or maybe you’re planning early and reading this, and if so, then you go girl!), and now it’s time to take that question and make it a reality. The point of getting a college degree is to use it, so get out there and find a job! Taking a summer off might sound great, but you’ll be ready to ditch your parents’ house and start your own life. The first step to doing that is getting a job.

Getting a job is important in various ways. Becoming financially independent is a huge step into adulthood post-graduation. Before you can live on your own, you’ll have to have a job to support you. Graduating is a time an amazing accomplishment for anyone, so congratulations. But now it’s time to get serious. Have you updated your resume and cover letter?

Here some tips to landing your first job after college:

  • Update your Resume and Cover Letter
  • Start Networking
  • Work on your Elevator Pitch
  • Find Companies you Would like to Work for
  • Arrange a Job Shadow
  • Contact Everyone
  • Join Networking Groups
  • Check with your Career Center

#3: More Education Opportunities

More Education Opportunities

Maybe you don’t want to jump into the job market right after you graduate, and that’s ok if you don’t! Getting more education is another option you have as well. If you have an associate’s degree, then you can go for your bachelor’s degree, and further up the ladder. If you loved your classes that you just completed, it might be worth it to get a higher degree. It also lets you defer your student loans, which is always helpful!

There are so many different ways to try doing this! You can go a traditional route and enter into a program on a campus where you’ll attend classes and maybe teach an undergraduate class while you’re there. These types of programs are great for people who can take the time to spend a lot of time on earning their degree.

With the growing power of the internet and technology, there’s also a ton of programs offered online. Schools like the Western Governors College and Southern New Hampshire University offer entire degrees online, including graduate programs. This is a great option for anybody who’s looking to get another degree while working; most coursework will be able to be done on your own time at your own pace! With online programs, you have to be really careful about accreditations. In order for your degree to be considered useful, the institution that you get that degree from needs to be accredited through some organization that is backed by the Department of Education. Before spending any money, make sure that the institution is accredited.

#4: Student Debt

Now that you’ve graduated, it’s time to talk about student debt. It’s definitely not a fun topic to talk about, but when you’re thinking about all the options we’ve already talked about, it’s important to keep in mind your student loans. When you’re managing your money, you’ll have to think about student loan payments. After you graduate, most student loans are going to require that you start paying them back immediately.

Thinking about your student debt after you graduate is especially important when you’re debating whether to get a job or to go for a higher degree. When you’re in the job market, you’ll have to make sure you’re looking for a job that will pay you enough to be able to pay your student loan payments every month. If you’re going straight into the workforce after graduation, you’ll have to start paying them off.

One of the benefits of going to get a higher degree is that your student loans will be deferred, meaning that you won’t have to pay them as soon as you graduate. In fact, you won’t be paying student loans until you get through your next degree! However, certain loans might still accumulate interest. Look into your loans to see exactly what the best options are for you.

#5: Don’t Stress Out!

Graduating from college is a time of transition, and it’s always going to feel a bit scary. Remember that you’re not alone in this new stage of life, there are millions who have come before you that have made it through. Don’t let yourself get too stressed out with all the options available to you. This is a chaotic time for everyone, and your university should have things in place for alumni (because you’ve finally made it, you’re an alum now!). Use the resources around you to learn what your best options are as well as to learn how to manage your money. Keep your head on straight, and you’ll be fine!

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