For those who want something different after graduation, there are a number of options that are not starting a full-time job or educational program. Explore the options below or create your own. Make your path your own and define what success means for you.
Highly selective, fellowship programs enable the recipient to focus on intensive training, research, or teaching, including outside the United States. BU’s Office of Fellowships and Scholarships supports undergraduate and graduate students interested in applying to a wide range of programs.
A gap year is often considered to be a year between graduation and the start of a career, or a year taken between educational programs. Often, the activities are for personal fulfillment and separate from an intended career path. There are organizations that run gap year programs or you can organize it yourself.
- Live somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit, working digitally or locally to suport yourself
- Teach English abroad through a teaching fellowship (like the Fulbright Program), international organizations, or a country-based program (like the JET Program).
- Pursue education, like learning a language you have always wanted to know
- Dedicate your time to issues you care about, locally or abroad
- Write a novel
Independent Contract or Project-Based Work
This type of work can include a wide variety of specific efforts, can be full time or part time, and can also have different names, such as freelance, self-employment, or gig work. It might be a great option if you are building experience to begin a different career path, if you prefer greater independence, or if you are in an industry where this is common for entry-level roles.
Leadership Rotational Programs
While a full-time job, rotational programs are also a form of career exploration. Typically 2-3 years, they are designed to expose participants to different areas of the organization before selecting a specific department or division.
Often, post-graduation internships are a precusor to a full-time role within the organization.
Service Programs: Peace Corps, AmeriCorps
Typically, service programs require citizenship. In the United States, the most common of these programs are the Peace Corps and AmeriCorps.
Start Your Own Business
Whether you want your business to be a part-time labor of love or a full-time profession, starting a business can be involved, challenging, and rewarding. BU’s BUiLD Lab has a number of programs and events to help you develop your idea and build skills to launch it successfully.
Temporary work can be a helpful and flexible financial supplement for those pursuing the arts, entrepreneurship, or other paths that might not pay enough. It’s also a helpful option for those who want or need periodic work. For example, someone who wants to be free 3 months each year for travel or someone who has a 9-month contract and wants additional work during their off time. It also can be a great way to explore career fields further while making a living or to get a foot in the door at a specific organization.
Staffing agencies are a common way to fill temporary roles and are paid by the employer, so are usually free for job seekers. We recommend researching agencies before you choose which to work with. Some specialize in certain industries or locations. Some are more ethical than others; search for reviews of the experience by job seekers. We also recommend that you be aware of where your resume is being sent to make sure the positions are ones that you want to be considered for.
Whether you are a student, a new graduate, or alum looking to change careers, volunteering can be an effective way to build skills and experience that can be leveraged in pursuing a related career path. It is also a good way to keep career skills active while searching for a full-time position.