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13 things you need to do before you graduate

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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 easy.

alarm clock and to do list

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 money in the process.

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

Important things to do before you leave university

Before you graduate, make sure you do the following things:

  1. Get free careers advice

    In a few weeks, you'll likely be very grateful for the free careers advice you've had on hand at uni. It's easily one of the best free things you can get from uni.

    If you've underused your careers advice centre throughout your degree, now's the time to make up for it.

    They'll be able to review your CV for you and make sure it's all up to scratch. They might even 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, 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 uni look good, so they'll be extra keen to help you out.

  2. Use the library and free software at your university

    man taking book off shelf in library

    Credit: Morakot Kawinchan – Shutterstock

    Let's face it: you're probably pretty excited to get rid 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 may be a fiction or autobiography section for some more lighthearted reading. If you've been stuck in the Geography section all year, have a wander around 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.

    If you're hoping to congratulate another soon-to-be graduate, have a look at these lovely graduation gift ideas.
  3. Pay your library fines

    This might not be the most fun of tasks, but it's an important one.

    While there are plenty of ways to avoid getting a library fine, if you do receive one, you can't avoid paying it. Your library fines aren't going anywhere. Plus, the longer you leave them, the more they'll stack up.

  4. Sell your university course textbooks

    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?

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

    The extra money you make could just tip you over the edge as to whether you can afford that cheap summer holiday.

  5. Sell your old belongings

    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. If you don't fancy hiring a van to transport it all back home, selling some of it is a great shout. It's such an easy way to make money.

    Here are some examples of things you can sell:

    eBay and Amazon are great for auctioning off pretty much anything.

    And, to sell clothes online, sites like Depop and Vinted make it very easy. You can find top tips in our guide to selling on Vinted.

    Check out this list of things you can sell online for more ideas. Some of them are very surprising.

    For tips on how to maximise your profits, check out our guides to making money on Amazon and selling on eBay.
  6. Cancel your utility bills

    man on phone at desk

    Credit: GaudiLab – Shutterstock

    Unless your bills are included in your rent, it's up to you to ensure you cancel everything. You don't want to end up paying bills when you no longer live there.

    Whether it's gas, electricity or water, 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), check out the cheapest deals on gas and electricity.

  7. End your broadband contract

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

    Depending on the length of the contract you've signed up for, 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 agent, or moving the contract with you to your next home.

    Otherwise, if you end the contract early, you'll likely be stung with cancellation fees. Make sure you budget for these if you are planning to cancel.

    And, when you start looking for broadband deals in your new place, you could potentially look into getting a digital TV package with it.

  8. Cancel your TV Licence

    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 around £40 to put towards that summer holiday.

    When it comes to sorting out bills in your new place, check if you need a TV Licence at all. See this TV Licence loophole.

  9. Check your bank account

    No, we don't mean just so you can cry about how 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 disappear overnight, but your bank might gradually start fading out your student benefits. It's best to be in the know before this happens.

    To make sure you're getting the best deal, find out the top graduate bank accounts.

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

  10. Clean your house to get your deposit back

    cleaning spray

    Credit: ADragan - Shutterstock

    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. So, a big part of your moving house checklist should be cleaning.

    You don't have to spend a fortune on cleaning products. Have a look at these eco-friendly cleaning products or these homemade alternatives.

    Create a rota to divide up the tasks with your housemates and don't leave it until 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. Make sure you get started 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.

  11. Plan your graduation

    You'll have likely sorted your tickets and gown by now, but there's a lot more to think about ahead of your graduation ceremony...

    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. Don't leave it until the night before to make a reservation.

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

  12. Thank your university tutors

    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 helping 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 for job applications if needed. They'll appreciate you taking the time to speak to them and will likely be more than happy to help.

  13. Book a summer holiday using your student discount

    If you book a (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 for low-cost holidays as there are already some good deals on there. And read our guides to booking cheap flights and finding the best student travel insurance.

    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 save money on holidays.

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

Jessica Murray

WRITTEN BY Jessica Murray

As an Editor of Save the Student, Jessica Murray has written extensively on student money news and money-saving tips. She was co-host of our podcast, No More Beans, and is now a journalist at the Guardian. Her tips and insights range from fun guides for freshers, to information for graduates entering the workplace.
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