Graduating students choose different paths


Soon-to-be graduates are facing the question: what’s next?

Some students have opportunities have lined up, while others are struggling to find a place to work. Either way, graduates have tough questions to face before and after they walk the stage. 

“Avoiding a conversation about your future will not make it go away,” said Karen Lindsey-Lloyd, associate director of Career Services. “Recent research indicates that it can easily take up to six months or more to find a job after graduating.”

Lindsey-Lloyd warned parents about the job search process for their new college graduates. 

“A word to parents: do not allow your graduate to blame the economy or anyone else for him or her not finding a job,” Lindsey-Lloyd said. “The job search process will take some time and effort.”

May graduates have the advantage of being able to look to December graduates and alumni for ideas. 

Here are some of the options that soon-to-be college graduates must consider. 

Traditional job

Some TCU students will be starting their careers immediately after graduation. 

Kathryn McDermott, senior nursing major, is going to be a registered nurse in the Pediatric ICU at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. 

“It’s important to start looking for jobs you are passionate about and apply early,” McDermott said. “Show the company and staff how excited you are about the position and be aggressive.”

Before going on the job hunt, McDermott said she was sure of two things: she wanted to go back to Southern California and her passion was in pediatric nursing. 

“I looked online at the children’s hospitals in the area and found this residency,” McDermott said. “I applied online, sent in a portfolio and had two interviews before getting the job.”

Graduate school

Some students decide they aren’t ready for school to be over quite yet. 

“I realized last year that I was done with the majority of my credits, so I decided to graduate a semester early in December to use the tuition money I would have spent [on the] spring semester toward my graduate school fund,” said Lyndsey Garrison, senior speech and language pathology major.

Garrison is graduating early to focus on graduate school applications. Lindsey-Lloyd said taking the time to attend graduate school is beneficial to many people. 

“Graduate school opens the door for many more job opportunities,” said Lindsey-Lloyd. “Normally, a higher salary accompanies a more skill-requiring position, and individuals with graduate degrees have a competitive edge over others.”

Work abroad

Some students decide to put the corporate world on hold.

Baily McGraw, a 2013 TCU graduate, spent a year after graduation as an au pair for a family of three in Rome, Italy. Au pairs provide child care to families in exchange for living arrangements.

“I was terrified at first, but au pairing was the best decision I ever made,” said McGraw. “The experiences I gained living abroad while au pairing have truly made me a more independent and open-minded person.”

McGraw, born and raised in Fort Worth, wanted to experience something new. 

Au pairing gave her the opportunity to be fully immersed in another culture. 

“I became a part of the family,” said McGraw. “I lived in their home, ate my meals with them and took part in all of their daily activates. Living with the host family while in Italy gave me the opportunity to learn the language and customs in a way someone wouldn’t be able to understand by just visiting Italy on vacation.”

McGraw found the au pair job through a company called Go Au Pair, which is devoted to matching au pairs to different families from over 60 different countries.

Many au pairing companies like Go Au Pair give au pairs monetary compensation for their work in addition to living space and free meals. 


Mary Kate Vietze, senior fashion merchandising major, wants to work for a fashion designer in New York. 

“Doing an internship after graduation is a great way to get your foot in the door,” Vietze said. 

In the fashion industry, it’s much easier to find internships than it is to find full-time jobs, Vietze said. 

“After seeing how hard I work and prepared I am, I’m hoping it will lead to a job offer,” Vietze said. 

Many students complete internships while still in school. However, after leaving the internship and returning back to school, students run the risk of falling off of an employer’s radar and being forgotten.

“I think the transition from working as an intern to full-time employee will be smoother than starting from scratch,” said Vietze. “The company knows I am looking for a job. So after investing time and energy teaching me, they know I am dependable and have what it takes to get the job done.” 

More time 

Graduating in December can have many benefits. Recent graduates are in the off-cycle for the hiring process, can save money by not paying tuition, and have more free time to focus on applying for jobs. 

Jared Crowley, senior economics and political science major, decided to graduate in December because of his double major.

“Having a second major will make me all the more competitive and prepared for a career after college,” said Crowley. 

Crowley has specific advice to TCU seniors. 

“Take advantage of the time you have left to truly appreciate this university,” Crowley said. “Spend quality time with people who have defined your experience.” 

Some students find that graduating early takes off some of the pressure of finding a job. Amanda Adrian, senior fashion merchandising major, has already had interviews with numerous employers but doesn’t feel the need to rush into a job. 

“After finding out I had the hours to graduate early, it made the most sense,” said Adrian, who interviewed for an assistant buying position at Neiman Marcus. “I’m saving a lot of money, so my parents aren’t pressuring me as much to immediately have a job lined up.”