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Graduates

What to do after university

Finished uni but unsure where to go from here? When the uni bubble bursts, it can feel pretty daunting, but these tips will make your transition into grad life as stress-free as possible.

Graduate in an office

Credit: 4 PM Production (background), Aaron Amat (foreground) – Shutterstock

As great as it feels to hand in the final essay, finish that last exam and finally leave uni, the prospect of graduating can also be quite overwhelming.

It's a big thing to finish education so, once you've ticked off all the items on your uni bucket list, you might find yourself feeling a bit lost – and this is totally normal. The best way to fight that feeling is to start planning what exciting changes are coming next.

We've put together some ideas for the next steps you can take as a graduate, as well as some top tips to help you really make the most of life after uni.

If you haven't quite graduated yet, don't forget to do all of these things before you do.

What you can do after university

  1. Find a graduate job

    Devil Wears Prada fashion job

    Credit: 20th Century Fox

    Sorry, we know – you probably don't need reminding about finding a job BUT we have some great tips to make your job search as straightforward as possible.

    Your first thought is likely to work in an industry related to your degree, but if you've fallen out of love with you uni subject, that's ok too. Thinking outside your comfort zone could throw up some interesting new opportunities. These high-paid careers don't need specific degrees, as long as you're a graduate in some field.

    Applying to graduate schemes is a great option, and although many programs require you to apply at the start of the year, some accept applications all year round.

    And, while waiting to secure your graduate job, it's an ideal time to do some internships and work experience placements. Not only will these look great on your CV, but they'll also let you try different jobs and find out which one suits you. Better yet – if you really impress employers on a placement, you might just land yourself a job out of it.

    Our guide to graduate job-hunting has all the tips you need to get the ball rolling.

  2. Study a postgraduate course

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    Credit: ABC

    If you're considering an academic career, hoping to change direction from your degree or you're just not feeling ready to leave uni yet, postgraduate study can be a very good option to consider.

    You could use postgraduate study as an opportunity to travel and experience life in a different country. Check out these five European cities where you can do a Master's for free.

    The government have also started offering postgrad loans for Master's students in the UK, so now's a better time than ever to give postgraduate study a try. We have everything you need to know about applying for the Postgraduate Loan (PGL) right here.

  3. Start a business

    team of young business people

    If you've got a business idea that you keep waiting for the right time to develop, now's your chance.

    Starting a business isn't easy, but with a good plan, a solid website and some serious hard work, your idea could really take off.

    Don't be put off by the idea of finding funds for your business. We can't promise this will be easy, but our tips on how to raise capital for your startup business can help.

    And, in case you can't decide which type of business to start, we've got 53 business ideas for you.

    For more inspo, have a look at the story on how Save the Student started, developing from an initial idea to become the student-money site you see now.

  4. Take a gap year

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    Credit: Warner Bros

    Think gap years can only be taken before uni? Think again. After the intensity of the last few years, you deserve a break – if you've found yourself dreaming of getting away and seeing the world, do it!

    It doesn't have to be hugely expensive. We've got loads of tips on how to do a gap year on a budget.

    And, we've got good news. Travelling makes you more employable, so it would be a very sensible career move, right?

See where your university ranks for graduate salaries. Oxbridge isn't top...

5 tips for surviving life after university

  1. Think about where to live

    new house keys

    When you graduate, it's time to make some big decisions about where to live for the next few years.

    After spending upwards of three years away, the idea of moving back home can seem ideal to some, but to others – less so.

    Regardless of whether you decide to stay on in your university town, move back home or choose a different city entirely, you can start thinking about your options. Your decision on where to live might depend heavily on where the jobs are, but make sure you'll also be happy in your postgraduate home.

    If you're considering moving to a new city, take a look at our city guides for inspiration.

  2. Keep using student discounts

    Jim Carrey student discount meme

    Credit: New Line Cinema

    Just because you're no longer technically a student, it doesn't mean you've got to miss out on all the great student deals up for grabs.

    You'll be glad to know that most of the deals we post on our Facebook page and weekly newsletter roundup are available for graduates as well as students.

    Make sure to also keep using young-person discounts like the 16–25 Railcard. Particularly if you're planning to use trains to commute to work or head home to see the fam, this could save you a lot in future.

    We've also got a great little trick that lets you continue using student discount for years to come. Wonderful.

  3. Open a graduate bank account

    Graduate money saving piggy bank

    Choosing the best graduate bank account is a super important step to make.

    Although some student bank accounts will become graduate accounts automatically after three years, this isn't always the case – and this can lead to some hefty charges.

    This is because a regular bank account is unlikely to offer a 0% overdraft, so as soon as your account loses its student status, you'll get charged interest on whatever you're overdrawn. And since student overdrafts can be as high as £3,000, this can lead to a pretty penny getting added to your debt.

    You can avoid this situation completely by choosing one of these graduate bank accounts to start slowly paying off your student overdraft at your own pace – without any charges.

    It's also worth thinking about the best app-based bank accounts for a bit more control over your finances.

  4. Start saving cash

    save cash Breaking Bad

    Credit: AMC

    The idea of saving money while you're trying to pay off your student overdraft might feel a bit unrealistic, but it's definitely worth thinking about.

    Even just putting aside a few quid each week adds up. Start by looking into automatic savings apps, which save tiny amounts of money into a virtual savings pot on your behalf every few days (depending on what it assesses you can afford). You can even earn between 1–5% interest on what you save by referring friends.

    Our guide to the best savings accounts will also give you a rundown of the best interest rates on offer for fixed rate and instant access accounts.

    Also, if you're hoping to get onto the property ladder in the next two or three (or 10) years, you could get a 25% bonus from the government towards your first home if you start saving with a Lifetime ISA.

  5. Don't stress about repaying your Student Loan

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    Credit: Warner Bros

    Sure, no one likes the idea of being in debt, but don't let it worry you too much. You'll only begin repaying your Student Loan once you're earning above a certain amount, and even then the monthly amount is a manageable sum.

    There's also a really high chance you'll never get round to paying it all off – use our student debt calculator to see how much you're likely to repay before it's wiped!

    And don't let these tuition fee myths get you down. You can separate the facts from the fiction with our handy guide.

If the thought of a conventional 9–5 grad job really doesn't sit well with you, here are 9 weird and wonderful jobs you never knew existed.

Worried about your post-graduate job search? We've got you covered with these tips to help you find the perfect graduate job.

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