Creating a Four-Year Plan for TRIO Scholars

TRIO staff support scholars’ professional development by reviewing resumes and cover letters, assisting them to identify areas for professional growth through self-reflection, and connecting them to TRIO alumni in their field.

Scholar Professional Development

TRIO staff recommend that all scholars create plans for their professional development throughout their academic career at WashU. To help guide you are a list of recommendations by academic year, below. Click on each heading to download and print a paper copy of the checklist!

Year One: Discover (PDF)

  • Explore potential majors by meeting with advisers, current students and faculty of programs of interest.
  • Use academic centers and tutoring to maintain your GPA, which will help ensure your eligibility for various programs.
  • Meet with a career adviser to develop your professional resume and identify a few ways you can grow professionally during your first year.
  • Complete a career assessment to identify a few careers that could fit with your professional plans.
  • Understand which career paths require graduate or professional education.

Year Two: Investigate (PDF)

  • Choose the major and minor that align with your career interests the most. Make sure to use guidance from ACTS, faculty, academic and career advisers.
  • Use academic centers to maintain eligibility for your major.
  • Meet with a career adviser to reassess which careers fit best with your declared major/minor.
  • Begin building your professional network by getting to know a professor or staff member that shares interests.
  • Conduct informational interviews with professionals in your intended career field.
  • Revise your professional development goals to include degree-relevant research, leadership, internship and job opportunities, if possible.
  • Meet with your ACTS to understand what types of programs fit your plans and needs after graduation.

Year Three: Experience (PDF)

  • Meet with your ACTS, academic or faculty adviser to review your transcript and determine your degree progress. Plan future enrollment based on needed skills and experience.
  • Use tutoring services to maintain your GPA and increase your competitiveness for graduate and professional programs of interest.
  • Update your CAREERLink and LinkedIn profiles using guidance from career advisers or career peers.
  • Consider which professors, advisers, staff, mentors, supervisors and other professional contacts would be good references and work to strengthen those relationships.
  • Revise your professional resume and cover letter with your ACTS or a career adviser.
  • Reassess your career interests with your ACTS. Consider your experiences with field-related coursework, current professionals or alumni, and past internships or research.
  • If you haven’t, secure an internship opportunity that is relevant to your career path.
  • Attend Junior Jumpstart after the end of your spring semester.
  • Take time to understand strategies for researching graduate programs and schools.
  • Prepare for an take entrance exams.
  • Evaluate the potential fit of your programs-of-interest.
  • Finalize a list of schools to which you intend to apply. If possible, plan visits to campus.

Year Four: Achieve (PDF)

  • Meet with your academic adviser to ensure that you’ve completed or enrolled in all required courses.
  • Engage with tutoring services to maintain your GPA over your final year and stabilize your eligibility for postgraduate plans.
  • Build skills in interviewing, networking and salary negotiation by attending TRiO and Career Center workshops and meeting with your ACTS or a Career Center adviser.
  • Grow your professional network by attending campus and community networking events and job fairs.
  • Meet with your ACTS to develop an action plan for your job search.
  • Seek help from your ACTS or a Career Center adviser to develop strategies for researching employers, organizations and transitional programs.
  • Meet with your ACTS to develop a plan for completing application processes for graduate and/or professional programs.
  • Request letters of recommendation from faculty, staff and supervisors.
  • Meet with your ACTS or a career or faculty adviser to review your personal statement/statement of interest, CV, resume and cover letter.
  • Attend a road show with TRiO, the Career Center or your specific program.
  • Prioritize a list of your top programs and schools and make an admissions decision.

TRIO Office Hours

South 40: Gregg Hall, Lower Level
Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m.

Staff is currently working from home due to the COVID 19 Pandemic until further notice. Please feel free to reach out to TRIO Staff members via email.

Career Advisement

Contact Cynthia Bowdry in the Career Center.

Campuswide Support

There are a variety of resources on campus that can help supplement your work with TRIO ACTS and staff. The campus Career Center provides advisement and events for all WashU students, regardless of program or grade level. There are also two college-based offices that help students prepare for specific career fields: Sam Fox Career Services and Weston Career Center (Olin Business School). Take advantage of all of these resources to make yourself marketable, no matter what career you plan to pursue.


CAREERlink is the Career Center’s web-based recruiting platform, where undergraduate students and alumni can search positions of interest, manage applications, and RSVP for events. Visit the Career Center’s page for helpful walkthroughs and more information.

Two people look at a book together on campus

Job Search Resources

TRIO offers various resources that can help students plan and carry out their job search. Please review the documents below for more information!

Job Applications Tracker (PDF)
Job Search Strategy Worksheet (PDF)
Job Search Websites (PDF)