Putting Decisions into Action: An Ideal Four-Year Plan

Freshman Year

  • Register for CareerCat to receive weekly career information from UCS
  • Meet with a career counselor to discuss your individualized career plan
  • Consider taking assessments to clarify your interests, values and skills
  • Commit to reading up on at least 5 careers/industries using the Career Exploration Resources
  • Explore different majors, minors, and certificates; meet with a career counselor to discuss majors as they relate to careers
  • Participate in Northwestern Externship Program (NEXT) in the Spring to job shadow alumni in careers of interest
  • Join 2-4 student organizations to explore your interests and expand your skills
  • Conduct at least 1 informational interview per quarter to expand your information about careers.
  • Begin to develop your self-marketing tools such as your resume and elevator speech
  • Make a LinkedIn Profile to begin to create a professional network
  • Gain experience through internships, summer jobs, and volunteer work

Sophomore Year

  • Narrow down your list of academic major choices; check with University Academic Advising if you are considering an inter-school transfer
  • Continue to read about different careers and industries using the career exploration resources
  • Continue to do informational interviews to expand your information about careers
  • Expand your leadership within your student organizations by chairing a committee, initiating a project or electing an office
  • Participate in Northwestern Externship Program (NEXT) in the Spring to job shadow alumni in careers of interest
  • Obtain a career-related internship to test out a career field and gain work experience
  • Attend UCS career fairs to learn about different types of employers and industries

Junior Year

  • Continue to read about different careers and industries using the career exploration resources
  • Select 2-3 industries of interest for full time work upon graduation
  • Obtain a career-related internship to clarify career interests and gain skills
  • Attend at least two networking events to increase your professional network (Northwestern Alumni Association has many alumni events throughout the year)
  • Contact the Office of Fellowships to get information about career-related fellowships, such as the COROS Public Interest Fellowship or the Fulbright
  • Reflect upon your internship experiences to determine if they might lead to a satisfying career
  • Discuss whether graduate school is a good option for your career goals with a UCS career counselor
  • Learn about recruiting timelines for different industries and create a job search plan that suits your needs

Senior Year

  • If you do not yet have a career focus, meet with a career counselor to discuss your options
  • Attend the UCS job fairs to explore employment opportunities
  • Network with individuals in your field to explore job opportunities, examine work settings, and prepare for interviewing
  • Meet with an Employment Specialist to learn the best job search techniques for industries of interest
  • Attend UCS Backpack to Briefcase events to learn how to navigate the job search process
  • If necessary, begin preparation for graduate/professional school by taking graduate school admissions test (e.g. GRE, LSAT), and identifying and applying to specific programs
  • Decide if you want to take time off between undergraduate and grad/professional school

Please Note: Don't be alarmed if you are reading this as a junior or senior. You can still engage in most of these activities, your timeline will just move at a quicker pace.