Is your graduate ready for the real world? Preparing for college takes a great deal of effort and planning. Many students and parents may not realize that the planning has just begun. College life is filled with planning; but not just for school-related activities, during college is the time to start planning for life after college. Do not wait until you are a senior in college to start thinking about plans for the future. 

Follow these three tips and college life hacks to help you start planning for life after college from day one.

Real World College Life Tips

  1. Dress for Success:  Many college campuses have a laid back culture and dress code. Rather than adopting too much of a laid back look, try keeping up appearances with a stylish wardrobe. Business attire, or even business casual is not necessary, but making yourself look put together and like you made an effort will serve as a great impression to professors, faculty, and your fellow students. Show that you care about your appearance and that going to class is important.
  2. Build Your Online Profile: These days reputation is not only about your grades, your appearance, and your actions in college, you also have an online reputation. If you do not already have an online presence, you should start building yourself up as early as possible. The purpose of this is to paint a great picture for yourself when someone, like a potential employer or graduate school admissions officer, looks you up online. You want a Google search of your name to show you in a positive and professional light. If nothing turns up that is almost as bad as having negative information show up. Speaking of negative information, make sure that all of the information and pictures that you post on your social profiles are something that you wouldn’t mind showing up when a potential boss or grad college administrator searches your name online. Building a positive online reputation can be simple and actually requires less work the earlier you start. Here are afew personal online reputation building tips:
    1. Start with a LinkedIn Profile: This is your professional social network. It can double as an online resume and is a great outlet for networking with other students and professionals in your
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      industry. Set up your LinkedIn profile, use a professional headshot for the image, and fill in as much relevant information as you can all about you, your work history, and your academic accomplishments.

    2. Start a Blog: Building a blog while you are in school is a great way to document your college life. You should try posting once a week or at least once a month while in college. Topics can include something interesting you learned in class, detailing a school project, school events or activities, etc. Keep it fun but professional.
    3. Build Your Own Website: Try free sites like or and set up a page about you. This is something that you can use on business cards or your resume to tell others more about you. This is a creative outlet and will work especially well if you are in a creative field or like to show some of your creative talents in graphics or using visuals.
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    4. Start a YouTube Channel: Video has the unique ability to show personality instead of just words or static pictures. Making a few short videos just about your will go a long way towards grabbing the attention of potential employers and show them more of your personality that a blog, web page, or LinkedIn profile can.
    5. Get to Know Your Professors: When you start a new class each semester, your professor gives you a syllabus with his or her office hours on it. This is often forgotten, but can be a big advantage to you. Make a point of going to visit your professors during their office hours about once every month. Your professors will appreciate the company since they usually have to keep office hours but hardly any students ever come to visit. During office visits, you can discuss your goals with your professors, ask what to study for the next test, or ask about special projects or extra credit that might be available to keep your grades up. Making the effort will go a long way for you. Getting to know your professors can also lead to insights into your next choice of classes and even advice on which professors to choose for each subject. Over time, gaining the trust of the professors can lead to internship projects, research assistant positions, and recommendations for your resume or application to grad school.

Using these 3 tips and devoting a small amount of time towards thinking of your future while you are in college can help you plan for your future. Make a plan to take on each of these steps throughout your college career and never stop thinking about your future. Add the ideas and plans you have to your calendar and keep up with each step a little bit at a time. Once you are ready to graduate, all the steps will come together for you.

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Bio: Eric Thomas is blogger and Brand Manager for BrandMe. He enjoys sharing career and marketing tips, including Is Your Graduate Ready for the Real World?.

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