Posted by Anne Lapour, Career Counselor

snowmanFor many Oregon State students, the winter break is just what the name suggests…a break. If you’re planning to spend your time off skiing, visiting friends, or working at your favorite coffee shop, then enjoy!  But for many of you, the break means something else—the job search.  Spring is coming, folks, and sorry to sound like a broken record, but the sooner the better when it comes to hunting down that post-graduation gig.  Yes, it’s overwhelming.  Yes, you’d rather not think about it.  But there are a few things you can do to really capitalize on your time away from tests and paper assignments.  A few ideas…

  1. Use your contacts back home to do at least one informational interview.
  2. Spend at least 30 minutes a day doing internet research:  research companies you’d like to work for, current industry trends in your field, and search engines like BeaverJobNet.
  3. Have some new people—some fresh eyes—look over your resume and cover letter.  You can never have too many people do this!
  4. Start making a list of the events you’re going to attend next term (e.g. Career Fairs, conferences or workshops, etc.)
  5. Take some deep breaths, and STAY POSITIVE!

Posted by Fernando Ramirez, Career Services Career Assistant

If you haven't heard, school is expensive!
If you haven't heard, school is expensive!

Getting scholarships:

Once you’ve found the scholarships you qualify for, it is time to begin submitting applications. Investing a proper amount of time on the scholarship application is crucial if you intend on winning. Scholarship applications require more than just your contact information. Applications require other supporting documents, such as a transcript, cover letter, letter of recommendation, and an essay. Take the scholarship application very seriously. Here are a few tips for winning scholarships:

Tips for winning scholarships:

  • Start Early: Scholarship deadlines can pass by you pretty quickly. Do not wait until the last minute to start working on that scholarship application. Nothing is worse than working for weeks on a scholarship essay to have it be rejected because of a missed deadline.
  • Apply to as much as you can: The more scholarships you apply for, the greater the chances are that you’ll receive one. Don’t disregard small scholarships. A $500 scholarships is not the same as a $2000 scholarship, but it can still help pay for books and supplies.
  • Get letters of recommendation: Many scholarships ask that you submit one or two letters of recommendation with your application. Get to know your professors, and let them get to know you, that way when you ask them for a letter of recommendation they’ll actually have something to write about. When you ask for a letter of recommendation, make sure the person knows about your interests, career goals, and other involvement. Give them plenty of time to write your letter.
  • Edit your essays: Many scholarships ask that you submit an essay along with your application. In that essay you must show why the scholarship should be given to you rather than the next guy, so take it very seriously. Spent a good amount of time working on your essay. Then, have several people edit your essay. The more time you spend on your essay, the better it will be.
  • Save your essays: As you search through scholarships, you’ll find that many of them ask very similar essay questions. Questions like “What was your most significant obstacle and how did you overcome it?” or “What is your long-term career goal?” appear over and over in scholarship applications. Save a few generic essays for questions that reappear in scholarship applications.
  • Search the entire year: A lot of students search for scholarships during spring term and then forget about searching until the next spring term comes. Scholarships are offered the entire year, and if you limit your scholarship search to one period of time each year then you are missing out on a lot of free money. Search throughout the entire year. There are many summer scholarships that only a few students take advantage of.

Scholarships can be of great help to students. Obtaining a college degree is very expensive, but there is help out there. The key is to work hard and be patient; your work will pay off. There is a lot of searching to do, so get to it.

Posted by Bryon Burleigh, Career Services Graduate Assistant

Are you on track to graduate this spring?  Do you know what you’ll be doing afterward?  It’s not unusual to be in your final year of school, but have no ideas or prospects for life after graduation.  Many people simply turn to graduate school as a means of further delaying their foray into the “real world.”  This might be a viable strategy for some, but if you’re not sure what you want to do with your life then graduate school might not be the best choice for you.  There are many graduate school application guides available out there with differing information and advice, but nearly all of them include the following questions you should ask yourself:graduate_school

  • Should I go to graduate school?  Why or why not?
  • What are my goals and interests?
  • What degree do I need for my career path?
  • Do I have the motivation to stick it out for another 2+ years?

If you think that graduate school might be something you are interested in, it’s time to start asking yourself these questions.  Many graduate application deadlines for the 2010 fall entry class are fast approaching, often occurring in early winter, and many applications require you to solicit letters of recommendation, take the GRE/GMAT/etc, as well as write an introspective personal statement.  These are not things you want to think about when you’re trying to study for your finals!

For more information on whether you should go to graduate school, check out the following links, or come to Career Services and meet with one of our career counselors.