3 Benefits of Making a 4-Year Plan as an International College Student News2america

As an international student, I had no clue about what I wanted to pick as a college major. I only knew I wanted to become an entrepreneur one day.

During my freshman semester of college, I remember feeling overwhelmed by all the information received regarding classes and extracurricular activities. Time management is one of the crucial aspects of being in college, and it was a huge issue for me. Not only was I trying to study for my classes, but I had various opportunities to get involved on campus.

During the spring semester of my first year at Drury University, one of my classes required me to make a four-year plan for college. The plan included how many and what classes I was going to take, my extracurricular activities and my summer plans.

This plan was great for me as an international student, because it helped me to decide when I could travel back home, take summer classes or even find an internship opportunity. There are three main ways international students can benefit from creating a four-year plan in college.

1. Getting involved on or off campus: My high school did not have many opportunities for students to get involved. Academics were the main concern, and extracurriculars were not a primary focus.

Since I had trouble managing time during my freshman semester, I decided to write down on my four-year plan which clubs or organizations I wanted to get involved with and during which semester. I planned out the amount of time I would spend on each activity.  

2. Saving time and money: When I decided I wanted to major in accounting, my adviser said it would be a five-year degree if I wanted to sit for the CPA exam.

The academic planning office at your university is a great resource if you are confused on what classes to take in which year. It is important to ask for information as an international student. Faculty and staff at Drury are really helpful and they have assisted me every single time I went to them.

While I did the research and sat down with my academic adviser, I figured that I could sit for the CPA exam and graduate in four years if I planned to take summer classes the first three years. I decided then I would only go back home for Christmas break.

Many universities have a three-year program and graduating in three years is possible if you take summer classes. You might not end up getting the classes you need for each semester, but having a four-year plan can help you make those changes. ​

3. Finding a job right after graduation: Most universities have a career planning and development department. During my first semester, I did not completely understand why the department was there, until one day I heard one of my friends talking about visiting with the office to set up a mock interview set up and get his resume fixed.

This got me excited, and I decided to go in the office and talk to a couple of the individuals about some internship and job opportunities for international students. I believed strongly that I had wonderful opportunities to get an internship at one of the big firms and possibly end up with a job.

They told me the best way to start was to get my resume fixed, which I did. They also gave me a brochure on what steps I needed to take and some of the places where I can find internships in big cities. I had always dreamed of having a job in one of the bigger cities and they even told me that they could possibly help me find one. Writing these steps down in my four-year plan helped me, and I am still editing my resume regularly.

I recommend every international student to make a four-year plan, as it would benefit you by not only saving you time and money but also in potentially finding you a job after graduation and keeping you on track during school.

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