Students Banner

Graduation Planning



AKA: The plan to help you avoid those "Deer in the Headlights" moments as graduation approaches!


  • Update your resume and cover letter and plan to pursue those spring semester internships
  • Apply for a secured credit card if you don’t already have one.  Once you have it, use it so that your credit report can be established.
  • Register for your final semester of classes!! 
  • Take a day and explore an area or two you have never visited before:  Westchester’s Port Chester, Connecticut’s Stamford; Upper Manhattan: Inwood, Washington Heights, Upper West Side; Queens’ Long Island City, Astoria, or Flushing;  Brooklyn’s Williamsburg or Greenpoint; Lower Manhattan’s East Village, Financial District, …. See where you feel comfortable and think about WHERE you might be working.   Are you a city person or a suburban person?


  • Internship, internship, internship…interviews, etc.
  • Talk to your family over winter break about your plans: a year of OPT in US vs. going home, or elsewhere to work or study.   Discuss the pros and cons for your career as well as the costs of the opportunity.
  • Assess your financial situation and make a plan to save some extra money to help with post-graduate costs.  You should have a cushion of at least $2,000 in the bank at graduation time to help with rent, food, transportation, fees, etc.


  • Look at apartment rentals online (Craigslist, RentHop?) to see what is out there
  • Talk to friends about sharing an apartment.  Remember to touch base with those who graduated LAST year…maybe they can help with your job or apartment search!


  • Apply for OPT.   (no, you don’t need a job to apply.)

You will need your passport, I-94, all I-20s you’ve ever had, two passport style pictures and a money order for $380 (you can buy that at the campus post office for $1.15) and about an hour of your time with LA.  Think about when you want your 12 months of employment eligibility to start.  You can choose the Monday after graduation up until July 18.  Your work authorization should arrive by graduation if you apply NOW.

  • Email LA with the names of family members who will attend graduation and need an invitation letter to obtain a visa to enter the US. 
  • Attend the graduation fair!
  • Order your cap and gown.


  • Search for jobs and interview.
  • Talk to potential roommates.  Discuss concrete things like expectations of commuting via public transportation or car and of course, the all important budget.  Take time and walk around some neighborhoods again.  
  • Look at train and bus schedules for timing and cost of daily commutation.
  • Make an estimated budget that includes rent, utilities, transportation and food.
  • Spring break: travel outside the US now if you must.  Most visas expire after you graduate, so most likely you will not be able to travel and reenter the US right after graduation, even if you really, really, really want to! 
  • Make us proud and file your income taxes before the April 15 deadline!


  • Interview, send out resumes
  • Make a reservation for a nice post -commencement lunch or dinner celebration with any family members who will be visiting
  • Look at apartments with a real estate agent or landlord; if possible find a place for MAY 1 so that you can move off campus gradually.
  • Look at train and bus schedules for timing and cost of daily commutation.
  • Reassess your financial situation, including roommates, possible work locations.  What made sense earlier might need to be tweaked.  
  • Make a reservation for a nice post -commencement dinner celebration with any family members who will be visiting. 
  • Contact utility companies (Con Ed, Verizon, Cablevision) for your new place.  You may need to make a deposit.


  • Finals
  • Find storage for any belongings you will not have room for: this can be with a friend or paid storage such as Cube Smart
  • Senior Week
  • Commencement!!!
  • Give the campus post office your forwarding address
  • Email the OISS with your address as well as any employment you have.  IF either of these change, (and they might!) you also have to let us know for the next year.


  • Continue to send out resumes…we know from experience that it can take a couple of hundred tries!!
  • Give your time some structure by volunteering if you are not working yet