What to do after you graduate?
1) Get a job
2) Do an internship
3) Go to graduate school
Visit the JMU Biology Job Blog for employment, summer research, and general research opportunities. Listings are posted as they become available, and can be searched by keyword.
Get involved in Undergraduate Research
Find a faculty member who does research you are interested in, and contact them early in your college career. Ask to do research in their lab. Learn about laboratory or field procedures, and determine if you like research and will be interested in doing research in the future. Getting experience in lab or field is a great start on a career pathway.
For more information and a list of faculty research interests, see the Research page.
There are many places to volunteer in Harrisonburg or in your home town. Hospitals, clinics, veterinarian offices, humane societies, religious organizations, food pantries, rescue and fire departments, environmental agenices, national parks and forests, and others are great places to look for volunteer opportunities. Contact your organization of interest and ask about volunteer opportunities.
Write Your Resume
It’s never too early to start your resume, even if you are not yet actively looking for a job or internship. Visit JMU's Career and Academic Planning website to get ideas on how to put together your resume first draft, and then make an appointment to have it reviewed. Or, if you don’t have a draft ready, you can attend a Resume Workshop to get started.
When the time is right for you to send in applications, a cover letter is a crucial step in the application process. In addition to reviewing your resume, Career and Academic Planning can also give you some good tips for your cover letter as well.
Meet with your advisor
Your academic advisor is a great resource for post-graduation plans. Meeting with your advisor is especially important if you are in one of the pre-professional health programs (pre-med, pre-dentistry, pre-optometry, pre-pharmacy, pre-vet, pre-physician assistant, pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy or pre-forensic science). And if you are interested in going to graduate school, be sure to tell your advisor. Your advisor will be able to recommend courses that you should take to give you the best chance when applying to graduate schools.
Go to Career, Internship, and Graduate School Fairs
Even if you are not applying for jobs, JMU's Career, Internship, and Graduate School fairs are a great step forward. Fairs are places to network and see what potential employers are out there or what graduate schools you might be interested in learning about.
If you choose to attend a fair at any point, make sure to dress professionally. This doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit, but look presentable. Remember, you never know who you’re going to meet—the person you chat with today might be interviewing you for a job or graduate position tomorrow.
Not sure which path is right for you?
The good news is that you have lots of options with a biology degree… but that’s often the trouble too! If you’re not sure which direction you’d like to go in after graduation, talk to your academic advisor or visit an advisor in Career and Academic Planning.