16 Great Ideas for What To Do After College

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 11, 2022 | Published May 28, 2020

Updated May 11, 2022

Published May 28, 2020

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College graduation is an exciting time for students. After years of study, you are now free to choose from an infinite amount of life paths. While for many this means jumping into an entry-level career position, for others, it can mean traveling, interning or taking a gap year. In this article, we present 16 great ideas to consider to help you decide what to do after college that's right for you.

Related: 5 Top College Majors for a Rewarding Career

What are your post-college options?

Recent college graduates have many choices. Some graduates are ready to begin their careers while others want to volunteer for their communities. Graduates often move away from their college, sometimes back home, to new places or even to international destinations. Carefully consider your options and interests and choose a post-college path that benefits both your career and your passions.

Related: Guide: How to Get a Job After College

Things to do after college

Now, as a recent college graduate, you have more options and freedom to choose what you want to do next in life, probably more now than ever. It may be time to volunteer or intern in your industry, start trying out different careers or maybe just take a break from a full-time schedule and travel to a country you always wanted to visit. Consider this list of things to do after college graduation to help you find what might be your best next steps:

  1. Regroup at home.

  2. Continue your education.

  3. Become a research assistant.

  4. Take a gap year.

  5. Find an internship.

  6. Turn your passion into a job.

  7. Go to graduate school.

  8. Find volunteer opportunities.

  9. Take a public service position.

  10. Find seasonal work.

  11. Teach abroad.

  12. Work for your college.

  13. Move to a new place.

  14. Take an apprenticeship.

  15. Start your own business.

  16. Get an entry-level job.

1. Regroup at home

Moving home for a while is a great way to look for jobs and explore the many options available to you in a comfortable, cost-effective way. Use the time at home to network with local businesses in your field, connect with other college alumni and update your resume.

2. Continue your education

Sometimes, the job you want after college requires more education. Many community colleges offer individual classes to help you prepare for the workforce. Additionally, trade schools can help you gain hands-on skills and qualifications for vocational jobs.

3. Become a research assistant

Many colleges and universities hire recent college graduates to assist with research. While many people associate research with the sciences, like chemistry and psychology, many college academic departments perform research. Contact your college or previous professors to see if there are research opportunities available for recent graduates.

4. Take a gap year

A gap year is a time of exploration and travel after high school or college graduation. Often, graduates who take gap years use that time to experience a new culture and build their soft skills like communication and problem-solving. A gap year can be a great way to gain new experiences and meet new people who may be able to help you find your ideal job once you're ready.

5. Find an internship

Internships are a great way for recent graduates to gain entry into competitive industries or companies. While internships can pay less than full-time positions, they often result in resume experience, recommendation letters and even full-time positions. Begin searching for internships prior to graduation, so you can immediately begin after graduating.

6. Turn your passion into a job

Use the skills you gained in college like time management, self-motivation and creative thinking to turn a passion into a job. For example, if you love yoga, earn teacher certification and find a studio looking to hire full-time instructors. If you're an expert knitter, consider selling your creations through an online marketplace.

7. Go to graduate school

Graduate school is a fantastic option for those who know they need a post-graduate education to meet their long-term career goals. Research graduate programs and schools before applying to make sure you complete a degree that will benefit your intended career.

Related: The 20 Best Jobs for College Graduates

8. Find volunteer opportunities

Volunteering is an excellent way to add experience to your resume. Often, volunteer opportunities help develop hard skills, like task management and leadership, along with soft skills, like communication and adaptability. Sometimes, volunteering can lead to a paid position with the organization or a full-time job elsewhere through networking while volunteering. Additionally, it feels great to provide a service to the community.

9. Take a public service position

A variety of public service organizations exist that provide recent graduates the opportunity to gain new skills with a small stipend while performing a service for the community. Some of these organizations focus on education in low-income areas—both in the United States and abroad—while others perform broader community service in high-need areas. These programs are often a great way to build a strong professional network you can use for job prospecting and references.

10. Find seasonal work

If you're passionate about a seasonal activity, like farming, consider establishing a schedule of seasonal jobs to accommodate your passion. For example, if you work on a sailboat from the late spring to early fall, consider finding work over the holiday season at a shopping center, where stores often hire additional employees during the busy season. Or, if you're an avid skier, you might enjoy working at a state or national park leading tours during the warmer months.

11. Teach abroad

Many countries seek native English speakers to teach children and adults the English language. Language schools rarely require the teachers they hire to have a degree in education or even experience teaching. Often, all they need is a bachelor's degree and a willingness to learn. These job opportunities give recent college graduates the ability to travel, experience a new culture and develop a strong, transferable skill set.

12. Work for your college

Many colleges hire their past students to join administrative departments like admissions, development and academic advising. If you love your college and are passionate about higher education, consider speaking with the administrative team at your school to see if there are any open positions for recent graduates.

13. Move to a new place

Recent college graduates are well-situated to move to a new place after college. Many companies expect applicants coming right out of school to move away from their college to new cities or states, and they may be more willing to pay relocation costs than they would be for mid-career transfers.

14. Take an apprenticeship

People often associate apprenticeships with vocational jobs, but many industries employ apprentices. While apprenticeships are like internships, they differ in the type of work and depth of mentorship the apprentice has. Often, companies will give apprentices hands-on assignments and real-world problems to solve. They are under the direction of a senior colleague who helps guide and instruct them in the necessary skills and steps to master the job.

15. Start your own business

If you have an idea for a great product or a strong passion, starting your own business can be the best way to create your dream job. For example, if you're passionate and knowledgeable about physical fitness and earned a degree in business, you are well situated to start your own personal training company.

16. Get an entry-level job

Sometimes, the best option after college graduation is to take an entry-level position to gain skills and experience. Even if the job isn't in your field or something you're passionate about, a real-world, full-time job will help you build your resume and give you the support you need to plan for your future and prepare to earn your dream job.

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