What To Do After College?

Next steps after college
April 26, 2024
6 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

If you’re struggling to figure out what you want to do after college, this article presents 13 ideas to help you get your feet off the ground. 

The end of college represents the end of a structure you’ve lived by for years. For the longest time, your goals and benchmarks of success were inextricably linked to schooling. Now, after graduating college, you have the power to set new objectives and pursue your own path, giving you an amazing opportunity to learn more about yourself.

13 Ideas of What to Do After College

Here are 13 things to do after college that will spark some inspiration for your next move. It’s important to emphasize that none of these ideas are mutually exclusive. You can incorporate different ideas presented to figure out what’s best for you. 

1. Travel

Travel is one of the most popular items on the list for a good reason. Exploring different cultures is one of the best things you can do to learn about yourself. It can broaden your horizons and teach you what you like and don’t like. 

There are many great travel destinations to hit after graduating college. Whether you’re chasing the adrenaline of wilderness excursions or looking to learn from significant landmarks, the trip ideas are endless! 

2. Work

Once you graduate from college, you’ll likely put your education to the real test in the workforce. Although you don’t need to have your career written in stone from the moment after graduating college, working can have the same benefits to finding yourself that traveling can. 

You can take jobs and see what you like and dislike about them in hopes of slowly finding your dream job. Your early work years shouldn’t be a burden– they should be an experience.

 It’s best to look for a company that helps you along your professional journey and introduces you to different types of jobs so you can figure out what you like best. If you are lucky enough to have a degree in a subject you’re passionate about, you’re in a great spot. 

“Your early work years shouldn’t be a burden - they should be an experience.”

3. Do more school

If you’re feeling uncertain about what to do after college, it might be that the question is premature. If this is you, it might mean your academic career isn’t over. 

Graduate school can be a great way to learn more about yourself and give you more options for potential employment opportunities. Although graduate school can be expensive, it could be a great option after doing a bit of work to save up. 

Take a look at these amazing websites to learn more about the graduate school options available to you:

4. Volunteer

If there aren’t many no job prospects that are helping you figure out what you want to do with your life, and more school sounds dreadful, there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer in your community. 

Volunteering can help you figure out what you want as a career, increase your connections, and give you some experience to land your next gig. Also, you’ll be serving the people in your community, which is incredibly valuable and can prove to be fulfilling work. 

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Gandhi

5. Pursue your passions

Graduating from college can be an excellent opportunity to pursue the activities you couldn’t devote time to when in school. You can put your time into pursuing your passions, whether it be a creative endeavor, entrepreneurship, or a new hobby. You’ll find much more time on your hands after graduating college, now is your chance to explore what you’re passionate about!

6. Read

The benefits of reading cannot be overstated. It offers you new ways to think and timeless lessons of wisdom and happiness. In such a new phase of your life, you’ll need to read books that can offer the resources necessary to navigate this uncertainty. 

Many great books apply to your situation as a recent college graduate. Read them and learn more about yourself and your next move. 

7. Write

Keeping a journal can have huge intrinsic therapeutic benefits. Tracking how you feel and how your life is unfolding through personal writing can offer an invaluable perspective for figuring out what you’re passionate about and how you want to live beyond the years after graduation. 

8. Budget

After graduating college, money will likely be tight. Luckily, you’ve got much more time to make money while saving and spending wisely. There are many different options at your disposal when it comes to budgeting money after college. 

The overall takeaways of budgeting after college are to start saving for retirement, building a solid credit score, paying off student loans, and ensure a budget incorporates your spending behavior to offer you the flexibility to enjoy your youth while looking forward to your future. It can be a lot to work out at first, so speaking with a financial advisor is always a good idea. 

9. Create an action plan

An action plan is a step-by-step guide you prepare for yourself to help you obtain your goals. By setting short-term, trackable goals for yourself, you can witness true progress toward your grandest long-term desires. 

The structure of your action plan can vary based on where you’re starting from. Starting an action plan as a young professional allows you to see deep into your future to make the plan that best suits you. Also, your plan can be optimally flexible, given the amount of time you have to reach your goals. 

10. Find a mentor

It’s hard to navigate all the freedom you have after graduating college. With endless possibilities, finding someone who's experienced what you’re going through and can guide you through this new chapter in your life can be a constructive path to take. 

Having a mentor after you graduate can help you navigate life’s potential trials and tribulations after college. You can learn a lot about yourself through mentorship, such as your likes and dislikes and how you can move towards your goals. Having a mentor that you admire can ultimately help you solidify your life path.

11. Reach out to your connections

See if there are any opportunities for you as a new graduate. It can be beneficial to use the resources you’ve built throughout your college career to build relationships and connections.

You might find that one email, phone call, or LinkedIn message away could lead to your next big venture. You can also ask others to keep an eye out for opportunities you’re interested in or put in a good word for you in some places. 

12. Move away

Now that you’ve graduated college, the possibilities for where to live are endless. Moving to another state or country after college can be an excellent way to gain new perspectives on the world to help you identify your passion. Whether you’re moving for work or a change of scenery, it’s a worthwhile experience. 

13. Take Risks

As you figure out your next steps, it’s essential to keep in mind that you’re entering a time in your life most responsive to risk-taking. There will be plenty of opportunities to take risks, whether it be through your job prospects, relationships, or lifestyle, among other things. As a recent graduate, there’s no better time to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. Remember, what happens next after college is up to you. 


Explore our responses to the questions we hear most often about life after completing college.

1. What Jobs Can I Get After College?

It’s best to look for jobs compatible with your freshly-framed college degree. Employers will appreciate your dedicated years of studying a subject to prepare you to excel in that job. However, it’s common to no longer be interested in pursuing a career related to your degree. 

2. How Do You Survive Life After College?

It’s going to be a change, but it’s also something that you’ll get used to. Just remember to keep up the activities you enjoyed doing in college, keep in contact with your college friends, and remember you’re not old yet. You’ve still got lots of life to live. 

3. What Can I Do After College to Make Money?

You’ve got lots of time on your hands now that you’ve graduated college. With all the gig work accessible, you can find many different work prospects that fit into a flexible schedule. Many jobs in the gig economy (also known as side-hustles) offer enough income for you to explore new passions in your large amount of free time. 

4. What is the Best Thing to do After College?

There is no right or wrong answer to this as everyone’s path is different. If you can’t decide what’s best for you, you should talk it out with someone who knows and cares about you. 

5. Should I Take Time Off or Go Straight to Work After Graduating College?

The answer depends on your situation. If you feel more assured of what you want to do and feel that making some money or finding work is a priority, then finding work might be the best path for you.

6. Does Life Get Better or Worse After College?

The verdict is still out on this question. Many think it gets better because you do away with the stress related to school. It’s important to keep in mind that you don’t have to stop doing what you enjoyed in college after graduating. 

The newfound freedom after graduating college can be exciting and scary. As long as you're pursuing what interests you and learning more about yourself, you’re on the right path. 

Remember to blaze your own trail. You can find inspiration from what others are doing, but it’s best not to compare your post-graduate life to others. You’re on your own journey, and it’s best to let yourself dictate it. 

Final Thoughts

So, you've crossed the graduation finish line. Now what? This moment marks the start of a new adventure where you call the shots. We've laid out 13 ideas to kickstart your journey, from travel to work and everything in between. Just remember, there's no one-size-fits-all answer. Embrace the unknown, follow your passions, and don't rush. Life after college is your story, so write it your way. Enjoy the ride!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter
Thanks ! You're now subscribed!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

Get A Free Consultation

Speak to a college admissions expert about how we can help you get into your dream school
Schedule a Call

You May Also Like

Before you go, here are a few facts about us!
The Quad Factor: Working with us can increase your chances of admission by 11x!

The Best of the Best: Our team comprises of only 99th percentile tutors and admissions counselors from top-ranking universities, meaning you work with only the most experienced, talented experts.

The Free Consultation: Our experts would love to get to know you, your background, goals, and needs. From there, they match you with a best-fit consultant who will create a detailed project plan and application strategy focused on your success.