The Senior Year

  1. Pitzer College Commencement - May 16, 2015Can you believe that you are already a senior? Assuming you have completed all your general education requirements, you should be delving into advanced coursework and making room for elective courses that you always wanted to take. You should continue your preparations for the transition into life beyond Pitzer, whatever that may hold. You should enjoy your final two semesters, and finish strong.
  2. Think about writing a thesis. A thesis allows you to demonstrate independence, proficiency, and maturity in the field. A thesis can be self-rewarding, help develop discipline specific research and communication skills, open other opportunities, and strengthen the resume. Conducting independent research is a great way to showcase your skills to potential employers or graduate schools. In some fields, a thesis is required for honors.
  3. In the course of every learning challenge, learn the value of your liberal arts curriculum. The disciplined thinking, refined judgment, creative synthesis, and collaborative dynamic that are hallmarks of your Pitzer education are not only crucial to developing your leadership abilities, but are habits of mind that will serve you well throughout your lives, and be primary contributors to your success.
  4. You should know all the major college deadlines by now. In September (February), remember the deadline to add classes and finalize your schedules. In October (March), follow up on any low grade notices and observe the deadline to drop classes. In November (April) you need to pre-register for the next semester. And in December (May), be aware of the last day to withdraw from classes and your final exam schedule. Frequently monitor your Pitzer email and promptly respond to any official communications, particularly regarding graduation issues.
  5. You should meet with a counselor in Career Services to develop your job search plans in early September. You should register with PitzerLink to participate in the Claremont College On-Campus recruiting program. You should be attending job search and interviewing workshops, updating your resume and cover letters, researching potential employers, identifying individuals who can write letters of recommendation for graduate school or jobs, requesting alumni names to learn about career paths other Pitzer graduates have pursued, networking with alumni and other professionals, conducting mock interviews with a career counselor, and attending employer information sessions offered at all the Claremont Colleges. See Teresa Flores, Assistant Director, for details.
  6. You should be applying for fellowships which target graduating seniors. They might think about the Congress-Budestag Youth Exchange, Critical Language Scholarship Program, Fulbright Commission: Summer Institutes, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Humanity in Action, Fulbright U.S Student Program, Rhodes Scholarship, Thomas Watson Fellowship, Gates Cambridge, Churchill Scholarship, Marshall Scholarship, and/or Rotary Peace Fellowships. There is a fellowship out there for everyone. See Sandy Hamilton in Fletcher 204.
  7. You should think about going to graduate school, even if you don’t go directly from Pitzer. Talk with your major adviser about various graduate school programs. There are professional schools in education, business, engineering, law, medicine, and nursing. There are the graduate schools in the arts and sciences. There are the graduate schools in public affairs, fine arts, health, library and information studies. Learn about the various fellowships to pay for graduate school.
  8. In addition to taking a full course load, you are probably taking the GREs, MCATs, LSATs, & GMATs, applying to graduate and professional schools, applying for fellowships, and applying for jobs. You are likely to be anxious and overloaded. This is normal. You should know that you will make it through the final stretch, and that college graduates have unemployment rates half as high as high school graduates.
  9. You must have a 2.0 GPA or higher, and at least 32 credits in order to graduate. All transfer, study abroad, or advanced placement credits MUST appear on your transcript to count towards graduation. If they do not appear on your transcript, you must follow up with the Registrar’s Office. You cannot have any incompletes or missing grades in your final semester. Make sure your major adviser has approved any exception or substitution to meet any requirements.
  10. You should continue to participate in appropriate outside of class experiences, including internships, research, volunteer work, and leadership positions and involvement in student and community organizations. Try to relate your academic coursework and your nonacademic experiences to your post-graduation plans. Identify individuals who can write letters of recommendation for graduate school or jobs. Think about joining professional associations or organizations related to your field of interest and attending their meetings.
  11. If you are on Financial Aid, it is imperative that you meet with someone from the Financial Aid office to make sure you on track to continue receiving all the funding that you will need through your entire senior year.
  12. If you have been accepted to your top graduate school, fellowship or job, congratulations! Since many offers are contingent upon satisfactory performance in your final semester, and graduation in May, make sure you keep up the good work and continue to do well in your classes. If you do not get the admission letter/job offer you hoped for, talk with your major adviser and Career Services for help working toward your alternate plans.