Five Things to Do Before You Graduate

Five Things to Do Before Graduation

It’s amazing how fast four years can fly by when you’re having fun! And before you know it, you’ll be a graduate—off to conquer the world as a professional artist or designer.

We know the weeks leading up to graduation can be both stressful and exciting. We’ve been there, and we’re here to help you get through it.

While you’re enjoying the last little bit of college life, we’ve put together this handy checklist of often-overlooked things you can do to help ease the transition from student to working professional.

Build a personal website

Art and design are visual mediums, so you’re going to need to showcase your work to future employers. Often, that will require you to send them a link to your online portfolio or best work so they can review your work.

Don’t worry—there are plenty of free and low-cost options for you to work with. A lot of non-web professionals prefer Wix, Weebly, and Squarespace over the other common website builders due to their ease of use and reasonable pricing.

Some grads also suggest showcasing your portfolio on sites like Behance and ArtStation.

Change your e-mail address

While your college memories will last forever, your school e-mail address won’t. Get a head start now and create a simple e-mail address you can use to conduct professional business.

Rule of thumb? Keep it simple. Your first and last name @ or will suffice and help build your personal brand.

Connect with as many classmates and instructors as possible

Social media can be a great tool for keeping in touch with people who you’ve become close to over the past four years. They know your work ethic, can give you honest critiques, and can help point you in the right direction.

That being said, make sure you get their contact information before graduation. Facebook groups are a great idea for connecting everyone together. LinkedIn and Instagram also have great platforms for connecting colleagues, leaving professional reviews, and sharing work. We can’t stress enough the importance of building your own artistic community via your contacts.

Determine how you’re going to continue creating  art as a new grad

In art and design school, you often have the best of the best studios and facilities to work on your craft. So what happens when those are no longer at your fingertips?

Where will you get studio space? Will you be able to find the necessary art supplies wherever you plan to relocate to?

As a new grad, you never, ever want to stop producing new work. Make a list of questions such as those listed above and come up with a plan of action so that you’re not scrambling at the last minute. The website Splacer might help, too.


If you don’t land a job immediately after graduation, don’t panic. It’s easy to sink under the pressure of feeling the need to be working full-time and making big money at your dream job as soon as possible.

Persistence is key, and if you stick with your goals, you will get there.

In the meantime, keep your financial obligations low. Look for opportunities that will give you any type of professional work experience (even if they are unpaid) and jump on them! And of course, keep creating new art and design.

Good things come to those who wait (and hustle!).

Academy of Art University Spring Commencement Ceremony Details

Spring 2018 Commencement will be held at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. There will be two graduation ceremonies on Wed., May 9 (10 a.m. & 3 p.m.) and two undergraduate graduation ceremonies on Thurs., May 10 (10 a.m. & 3 p.m.).

Academy students, get your commencement handbook today.