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13 things you need to do before you graduate

When you've finished your exams and got your results, there's nothing left to do, right? Well, not quite. There are still some important tasks – but with these tips, they'll be a doddle.

alarm clock and to do list against red background

Credit: Illya Levashov (background), Julia Sudnitskaya (foreground) – Shutterstock

With exams and deadlines well and truly over, it can be tempting to spend the last few weeks before graduation lying around watching Netflix and taking a few (well, many) naps.

By all means, treat yourself to some time off – you definitely deserve it. But, ahead of becoming an official graduate, you'll also need to spend the odd day here and there doing some essential tasks.

We've put together this handy checklist so you can plan your last few weeks of student life, and make some extra cash in the process.

Feeling nervous about graduating? Don't panic! We've got loads of tips on what to do after university.

13 things to do before leaving university

  1. Make an appointment at your university's careers centre

    Rachel from friends get a job

    Credit: Warner Bros.

    In a few weeks, you'll likely be super grateful for the free careers advice you've had on hand at uni.

    If you've underused your careers advice centre throughout your degree, now's the time to make up for it – it's covered by all that money you've spent on tuition fees, after all.

    They'll be able to review your CV for you and make sure it's all up to scratch, and they might even be able to provide a mock interview if you're worried your interview skills are a bit rusty.

    If you don't already have a graduate scheme or job lined up, we can guarantee that going along for an appointment will leave you feeling much more confident about your future.

    Plus, if you get a good job after graduation it makes your university look good, so they'll be extra keen to help you out.

  2. Make the most of your uni library and access to software

    man taking book off shelf in library

    Credit: Morakot Kawinchan – Shutterstock

    Let's face it: you're probably pretty excited to get shot of the library. But believe us, unlimited free access to all those niche books is something you'll miss once you've graduated.

    Now you've got some free time on your hands, why not take out some books you never got a chance to read while you were occupied with your course?

    There might be a fiction or autobiography section for some more lighthearted reading – so if you've been stuck in the Geography section all year, have a wander round the rest of the library and see what takes your fancy.

    Don't forget that uni computers might have software available for free that you won't find anywhere else. Maybe use the opportunity to dabble in a bit of Photoshop or try your hand at video editing. Or, you could even do a free online course to boost your CV.

  3. Pay your library fines

    wolf of wall street throwing money

    Credit: Paramount Pictures

    Okay, so this one might not be the most fun of tasks, but it's arguably one of the most important things on this list – some unis might not even let you graduate unless you've paid off all your library fines. Yikes.

    As much as you might think you can just run off without paying, your library fines aren't going anywhere – plus the longer you leave it, the more they'll stack up.

  4. Sell your university course textbooks

    Book getting wrapped in brown paper

    Credit: Louis N – Shutterstock

    If you've had to splash out a bit to cover your library fines, here's your chance to make some money back.

    You're not likely to need your course books again, so rather than drag them all back home with you in the car, why not sell them on?

    There are loads of websites and apps that will let you sell your old books online, or you can use Facebook groups to sell them to students in the year below who are preparing for their year ahead.

    All the money you make can be a bonus bit of extra cash to spend on a cheap summer holiday!

Wondering what to expect in your first graduate job? Our guide covers everything you need to know, from office politics to promotions to making friends at work.
  1. Sell your old belongings

    del boy at a market stall

    Credit: BBC

    Speaking of selling things, have you ever tried flogging your old belongings online?

    It's crazy how much stuff you can accumulate over the few years you're at uni, so if you don't fancy hiring a van to transport it all back home, selling some of it is a great shout.

    Think old clothes, books and even old loo roll (yes, really) – the list goes on.

    eBay and Amazon are great for auctioning off pretty much anything, but apps like Depop make selling your old clothes online so easy.

    We've got plenty more ideas of things you can make money from – check out these 29 things you can sell online. Some of them are very surprising.

  2. Cancel your utility bills

    Beyonce crying on the phone

    Credit: Columbia

    If you're not lucky enough to have bills included in your rent, it's up to you to ensure you cancel everything so you don't end up paying bills when you're not living there.

    Whether it's gas, electricity or water, make sure to cancel any Direct Debits you have set up and let your energy providers know you're leaving.

    And don't forget to take meter readings on your last day! This will help you avoid any disputes with your provider as you'll be able to prove exactly how much energy you've used.

    Then, when you move into your new place and start thinking about bills again (oh, the joys), save yourself some money by checking out the cheapest deals on gas and electricity.

  3. End your broadband contract

    no internet connection

    While you're at it, you'll probably want to cancel your broadband contract – but this can be a teeny bit more complicated.

    Depending on the length of the contract you've signed up to, your broadband provider might not let you cancel. If this happens, you'll need to discuss handing the bill payments on to the next tenant with your landlord or estate agents.

    Otherwise, you can cancel but you'll likely be stung with cancellation fees, so make sure you budget for these.

    And again, when you start looking for broadband deals in your new place, it's worth looking into getting a digital TV package with it.

  4. Cancel your TV Licence

    when you need TV license

    Credit: Channel 4

    You're probably sick of us telling you to cancel stuff by now, but did you know you could actually get a refund on your TV licence? If you're a student who's paid for a full-year licence but only had a nine-month tenancy, you could get three months' worth of payment back.

    Follow our TV Licence refund guide and you could get a sweet £38 back in your account to put towards that summer holiday.

    When it comes to sorting out bills in your new place, it's definitely worth checking if you need a TV Licence at all – check out this TV Licence loophole.

  5. Check your bank account

    man crying on sofa meme

    Credit: ABC

    No, we don't mean just so you can cry about how dangerously low your Student Loan is getting.

    After you graduate, you'll no longer be entitled to a student bank account, and you'll be transferred across to a graduate account instead.

    Before this happens, it's worth contacting your bank to find out exactly what it means. It's unlikely your interest-free overdraft will just disappear overnight, but your bank might gradually start fading out your student benefits, so it's best to be in the know before this starts to happen.

    You might also want to start thinking about investing any savings you have into a Cash ISA or Lifetime ISA, so a chat with someone at the bank wouldn't do any harm.

Think your uni accommodation was bad? We think we've found the world's worst student house.
  1. Clean your house to get your deposit back

    clean for landlord

    Credit: 20th Century Fox

    We know how much of a pain it can be cleaning up nine months' worth of pre-drinks, late night takeaways and messy cooking.

    But, unfortunately, the deposit you handed over before you moved in won't reappear any time soon unless you leave the house sparkling.

    You don't have to spend a fortune on cleaning products – have a look at these cheap alternatives to overpriced cleaning products.

    Create a rota to divide up the tasks with your housemates and don't leave it to the last day – it always takes a lot longer than you'd expect.

    Things like defrosting the freezer and scrubbing the oven can take time, so make sure you make a start at least a week before you leave.

    We've got loads more advice on how to get your full tenancy deposit back in our guide.

  2. Plan your graduation

    Fresh Meat graduation

    Credit: Channel 4

    So you'll have likely sorted your tickets and gown by now, but there's lots more to think about with your graduation.

    If the ceremony takes place after you move out of your student house, you'll need to sort out accommodation and then there's the post-graduation meal to think about.

    Nice restaurants near your uni will get booked up fast for graduation night, so don't leave it until the night before to make a reservation.

    Even if you've got your gown sorted, have you thought about what you're going to wear underneath? Finding graduation clothes on a budget can be tricky, so spend some time shopping around for a good deal.

  3. Thank your university tutors

    Back to the Future part 3

    Credit: Universal

    Don't just disappear back home without speaking to your tutors first. Think about who's really helped you get through your degree – who gave you the most useful feedback and who spent a lot of time to help you with your work.

    Drop by their office before you leave to say goodbye, or post them a small thank you card.

    When you start applying for jobs you might need a reference from one of your tutors, so you want them to remember you positively!

    Before you go, tell them about your plans for the future and ask whether they would be happy to provide a reference if needed. They'll appreciate you taking the time to speak to them and likely be more than happy to help.

  4. Book a summer holiday using your student discount

    cost of flights

    If you book your (much-deserved) summer holiday before graduating, you can still benefit from student reductions.

    With all that cash you've saved from cancelling your house contracts, you might be able to afford a cheap trip away, or even an interrailing holiday with some of your uni friends.

    Check out lastminute.com for low-cost holidays – there are already some good deals on there, and if you spend over £150 on a flight and hotel or a holiday package, you can get a student discount of £35 off through UNiDAYS. You can also use your student discount to save on travel insurance with Endsleigh.

    We're sure you could do with a break after all that hard work, and we've got plenty more money-saving tips to help you travel for less.

Once you've checked off all of these tasks, have a look if there's anything left on your university bucket list.

Have you had a nosey around the graduate section of our site, yet? The info there includes how much your degree will earn you in 10 years, and (quite importantly) what to do after university.

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