Graduation and Beyond
As the your senior year progresses, it is essential that you plan for the "next step"—life after graduation.
A common direction for students to choose upon graduation is full-time employment. The job-seeking process is not always easy, requiring mastery of many important life skills, such as writing a resume or participating in a job interview. Fortunately, there are many resources available to aid you in this process, including the Career Development Center, your academic advisor, other professors, and your peers. One of the best places to network with potential employers is at any of the regularly scheduled "career fairs", when companies send representatives to WPI to search for qualified applicants. Also, do not forget to utilize the internet as a tool for publishing resumes and investigating potential employers. Since a thorough and comprehensive job search can last several months, be sure to start early.
Another option is to continue with a program of academic study—typically a graduate degree. If you wish to begin study in the fall semester, realize that most graduate schools set their application deadlines in December or January, and the deadlines for many fellowship competitions may occur even earlier. In any case, if you are interested in beginning a graduate program directly after graduation, you should be investigating potential schools, the programs they offer, and any fellowships or scholarships that may be available by the end of your junior year and during the following summer. Once again, the Internet can provide invaluable assistance during this effort. Note that many graduate school and fellowship applications require you to take certain standardized tests, such as the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE's). Be sure to investigate thoroughly dates of preparation courses, test dates, and the delay time for receiving test results. You must allow time to prepare for and take all the necessary tests, and still receive the results in time to use with your graduate applications. Finally, do not forget that a degree in ECE is useful for far more than a future in engineering. The degrees we offer are excellent preparation for a wide array of graduate studies, including education, business, or law.
When choosing one of these routes, keep in mind that here in the ECE department, we expect from you a commitment to lifelong learning. In other words, even if you choose not to continue immediately with your formal studies, it does not mean the end of your education! First of all, there is always the chance to learn within a job in industry, through projects, training programs, and other learning opportunities. Furthermore, many students decide to return to graduate school after a few years of working, often finding that such "real-world" experience is a great advantage upon returning to academia. Regardless of the path you choose after leaving the ECE department, always remember that your WPI degree (while extremely valuable) is certainly not the end of your education— it is only a foundation for years of learning yet to come.