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Keeping the Pack on Track: 10 Advising Tips for Those About to Graduate

These are 10 things graduating seniors should be doing right now, according to advising experts in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, the College of Engineering, and the Wilson College of Textiles.

A masked, male student with a laptop in his lap looks out the window in Talley Student Union

For graduating seniors, navigating the final year of college is already stressful enough with remembering deadlines, finalizing internships and externships, and starting the job search. Then, COVID-19 came into the picture. Fortunately, NC State has advisors, services, and programs to help them stay on track for graduation, even when life gets complicated. 

If you are planning to graduate this winter or in May 2021, here are 10 things you should be doing to make sure you graduate on time and are ready for whatever comes next, according to advising experts in the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, the College of Engineering, and the Wilson College of Textiles:

Download and Use the GPS Mobile App

With everything going virtual this fall, this handy app allows you to stay in touch with your advisor and schedule an appointment whenever you need them. It also sends you reminders about important dates and deadlines, and connects you with the right people when you have specific questions.

Officially Apply for Graduation

Apply for graduation and for any minors that you are pursuing. If you haven’t declared your minor, you must do that first. Your advisors will thank you!

Check Your Degree Audit

Do you have green check marks or yellow diamonds next to every requirement? If so, great! If not, it’s important to get to the bottom of any red x’s. Do you have courses designated as Incomplete that would fulfill those requirements? If so, be sure to complete the requirements to earn credit. If you have overlooked earning the credit completely, there are still some courses taught in the second eight-week session. And, MyPack offers a way to search for those classes specifically. Check out the offerings to see if any of those courses might fulfill your missing requirements.

Meet with Your Advisor

The sooner you meet with your advisor, the better. They can go over any concerns in the degree audit that need to be addressed so that you can still graduate on time.

Register for Career Fairs

It’s never too early to start weighing your career options and meeting with potential employers. Check out the Career Development Center’s schedule of virtual career fairs this fall, and see our article about career planning for more tips about the job search. You should also consider meeting with a career counselor, and make sure you complete an internship if you haven’t already done so.

Save a PDF of Your Final Unofficial Transcript 

Believe it or not, you will slowly forget your academic record! It will be nice to have a digital version to reference and to supply to potential employers during the job application process. You can purchase an official transcript for the new employer later in the application process should they require it.

Establish a Professional, Non-NC State Email Address 

You may have entered college with a fun email account ( and then NC State conveniently offered you a fairly innocuous email address that you’ve been using for a few years. It’s time to select an address that you can share with others that is intuitive (they see the address and know it means you!) and professional since you might need it to job hunt here and there over the years.

Take Graduate School Exams (if applicable)

If you are applying to graduate or professional school, you should be signing up for exams (e.g. the GRE, LSAT, MCAT, etc.) and applying to programs. Applications are usually due in early November or December if you want to apply for assistantships or fellowships (make sure to apply for a national fellowship if you meet the requirements). If you haven’t already, you should also consider doing undergraduate research as another notable achievement to add to your application.

Consider Asking for Recommendations Now, While it’s Still Early

If your next adventure involves graduate/professional school applications, it’s a great idea to go ahead and secure your recommender list. Identify the faculty/professionals you want to ask, provide a good overview and a detailed request (what exactly should they cover in their letter), acknowledge your appreciation for their time, and offer a list of opportunities with the due dates. Don’t forget to write a thank-you note afterwards and keep them informed of where you end up going.

Later Tasks for Spring Grads

For those set to graduate in May 2021, caps and gowns will be available from Wolfpack Outfitters starting in March. You should also make sure to pay any outstanding fees and take the graduating senior survey to let us know about the great things you plan to do following graduation.

For more information about advising, please visit the Academic Advising Programs and Services website. For more tips and important graduation-related deadlines, please visit