While planning for your future is important throughout your four years of college, it becomes especially crucial during your senior year.
This is when you tie up the loose ends of your college career and lay the foundation for the life ahead of you. We particularly recommend attention to four areas.
Late in your junior year or early in the first semester of your senior year, you should obtain your audit from Wingspan. Make an appointment to discuss it with your advisor. If there are any requirements that have "slipped through the cracks," now is the time to catch them and to determine how you can fulfill them. It's also important to determine how many Cultural Events you need to complete, so that you don't have to jam them all into your last semester. Remember: It's your responsibility to make sure you have completed all required courses, hours, and cultural events for graduation, so keep up with your program of study! Find a copy of your inventory sheet in Student Services.
In order to improve our program, the Department of English has instituted several methods to test our students' command of content knowledge, analytical and research skills, and interpretative ability. The information gained from these measures will not be used to "grade" you, but rather to improve our program and to benefit future English majors. All English majors are required to take ENGL 491, a 0-credit, S/U course in the first semester of your senior year (SCOM majors take ENGL 492). You will be surveyed about the program, take factual content knowledge tests, and write a timed essay. You will also complete a "capstone" requirement, which will differ depending on your track in the major. Students in the Language and Literature and Teacher Certification tracks will be interviewed; students in the Professional Communication track will compile a portfolio representing their best work. If you complete all the requirements thoughtfully, you will receive an S in the course. If you have questions about ENGL 491, see your advisor, or talk to Dr. Hecimovich.
No matter whether you are looking for work or applying to graduate or professional schools, you will want to establish a portfolio of recommendation letters from the professors who know your work. You may wish to keep copies of these letters yourself, or place them on file at Career Services. When asking a professor for a recommendation, make sure to tell her or him whether it is for work, graduate school, or both, since that will affect the content. It also helps to give the professor a photocopy of the best paper you wrote for her or him, and a brief resume or summary of your qualifications and goals, so that he or she can refer to those in your letter. While it's possible to ask a professor for a recommendation after you've left Winthrop, both of you will find it easier if the letter is written while you are both around to discuss it.
Career Services provides a number of valuable services for graduating seniors. One that senior English majors have found particularly valuable is the Bookbag to Briefcase series, offered early in each term. This series of seminars helps you develop your resume, hone your networking and interviewing skills, and plan the rhetoric of presenting yourself to the world. These skills are necessary to every graduating senior, whether you plan to enter the workplace or graduate school. The Writing Center in 242 Bancroft can also help you polish your resume.