What I wish a final-year student told me when I was in my second year:
- Be prepared to apply for graduate schemes ✅
Whilst I knew that I would be preparing for life beyond university during my final year, I did not know how time-consuming it would be. I think that many final-year students would be able to relate to this, since they may have invested more time into applying for postgraduate courses, jobs, and graduate schemes than expected. For other third-year students, the demandingness of application season has had the opposite effect and deterred them altogether.
I’m not trying to scare anyone (I promise!), but simply advise students who are yet to enter their final year that it can help to begin mentally planning for life after university.
Talk to career advisors, or do some google searches around your desired career sector – your future self will thank you!
2. Choose modules that are interesting but also practical ⚖️
I believe in taking modules that are enjoyable. However, throughout my three years at university, I have also learned that the practical aspect of a module feeds into how enjoyable it is for me.
For example, if the content is extremely interesting (e.g., 4/5) and the assessment is not (e.g., 1/5) then, overall, the module averages out as a 2.5/5. On the other hand, if the content is moderately interesting (e.g., 3/5) and the assessment is also interesting (e.g., 4/5) then, the module averages out higher as 3.5/5.
No module will be perfectly created, and there will always be pros and cons – but when selecting final year modules, I would advise choosing modules that have the most ideal balance of content quality, and assessment quality. This is because you may also have a dissertation to complete, and the additional stress of module assessments may not be favourable.
So, pay attention to the assessment style of a module (as well as the content) and select what you feel confident with!
3. Use essay feedback to create better essays ✍🏼
How many of us actually read our assessment feedback? I am afraid that the number of people who do is few. Throughout university, I have tried to make a conscious effort to use my previous essay feedback to support my writing of newer essays. I have found that it is effective in improving essay quality and increasing grades, and the sooner that you get into the habit of doing so, the easier it is to implement into your essay writing routine.
I would 100% recommend that students carry this habit into their final year of university because it can truly lead to improvements.
4. Do not neglect your social life, you need it 👯
I am a huge advocate for work-life balance, but it is not always easy to execute. The academic requirements of the final year can cause students can get caught up in work and neglect their social life. Although the final year of university is essential for buckling down on work, it is just as important to spend time doing things that we enjoy.
University will not last forever, and so, apart from leaving with a degree, it is amazing to also leave full of experiences. So do not neglect your friends or hobbies. Instead, try to find a balance of working and making memories to look back on upon graduation.
Why not try creating a bucket list of things to do before graduation, and see what you accomplish?