Help! I'm About to Graduate

So, you’re finally graduating. Now what do you do?!

While it’s impossible to provide specific advice on your particular post-graduation goals, it may help you to know that others in your position have done, and what resources are available to you as you navigate the transition to post-college life.

Please read the information below on campus resources for life after Harvard, and these profiles of alumni who are now using their Government degree in many interesting ways.

Both your House concentration adviser and the staff in the Undergraduate Program Office are here to speak with you more about your post-collegiate plans. Whether you need a sounding board for your post-graduation ideas, or you need help in preparing your applications, the Government Department Undergraduate Program Office is here to help you. Drop in, or make an appointment to talk about your plans. 

Life After Harvard

Those of you considering law school probably already know that Harvard’s pre-law advising system is decentralized. Talk to your House pre-law tutors about the specific procedures your House uses. One of the most useful documents they’ll be able to show you are the “grids” – the record of previous Harvard students’ acceptance rates (by LSAT score, concentration, and GPA). This will give you a great sense of your rough chances of admission to different law schools.

While top law schools attempt to recruit a diverse set of concentrations to fill their ranks, Government concentrators can leverage their political science training in many important ways. Think, for instance, of how often the law and legal institutions were discussed in your classes. Across all four subfields, political science and legal scholarship are common bedfellows.

If it’s not law school, but a Ph.D. or Masters that you’d like to pursue, your Government degree may again be quite useful. Ph.D. programs want to know about your potential for scholarly research, and if you’re thinking about a Ph.D., you should make an appointment to see the Govt. Dept. DUS. We’ll help you to identify faculty members who might be a good resource for you as you explore your options and prepare your application.

The Office of Career Services (OCS) is an important resource for Harvard seniors. Have you ever noticed how certain weeks in the Fall semester suddenly find the campus filled with your classmates wearing suits and fancy ties to section? That’s the result of on-campus interviewing, and if you want to get a job through OCS, you should become familiar with the interviewing system. OCS provides you with a wealth of information, so visit their website. While you’re there, make sure to sign up for an OCS list-serv, so you can have job announcements sent directly to your Inbox.

It’s important to note too that OCS doesn’t just have job listings in banking and consulting. OCS has listings for hundreds of career areas. Your training in political science may make you an attractive candidate for jobs in many of these diverse fields.

Government concentrators are especially well prepared (and typically quite interested) in working for or with governments. Whether it’s working in the United States at the federal, state, or local level – or traveling to another country to work with a Non Governmental Organization – opportunities abound for you to put those political science theories into practice. Can you increase voter turnout? Go out and try. How does Congress really work? Go work on the Hill and see. Do you see a need for better governing institutions in developing countries? Go and make it happen.
OCS has a list of helpful web sites related to government and military service, and in addition to OCS, your House fellowships and public service tutors will be able to help.

But what if you don’t want to go to law school or graduate school or a think tank or an international NGO, or Wall Street or Washington? Or at least not just yet? One option is to take advantage of a Fellowship to travel or study abroad. To find out about Fellowship opportunities, the place to start is the Undergraduate Research and Fellowships (URAF) website, and your House Fellowships Tutor. Your tutors should be able to help you identify fellowships that appeal to your interests.