If there’s one tip about college admissions that we’ve always known, it’s that you shouldn’t spend high school summers imprinting into the couch. As much as we’d all like to spend some quality time on Netflix, colleges won’t be impressed by several three month internships at Couch Potato, LLC. To help you make the most out of the upcoming summer, we’ve included a few interesting and impressive options for you to consider. We’ve organized this list in order of decreasing impressiveness to colleges.
This is likely the most fun way to spend your summer, and the easiest way to do something without really working too much. In general, colleges prefer to see students attend summer programs that are tuition-free, because the only thing that attending an expensive camp says about an applicant is that he or she can afford to pay. There are many types of summer programs to choose from:
- Prestigious Camps: If you want to go see a new country and see what it would be like to study in some of the world’s greatest universities. MIT and Harvard, both have great tech programs, whereas University of Pennsylvania is great for medicine and biology. Stanford has one of the most popular summer programs with a strong computer science camp and its proximity to Silicon Valley A full list of programs however can be found on the IACAC page.
- Extracurricular Development: Don’t want to invest into traveling 9,000 miles? That’s totally fine! There are probably a lot of camps in your city that you not even be aware of. Debate camp, band camp, sports camps, and drawing camps are only a few such options. These summer-long excursions will allow you to do something you really enjoy while also learning during the summer, and you’ll be better prepared for the year following. Start with a basic Google search for whatever type of camp you are looking for. If you live in Delhi, Calcutta, Mumbai, Bangalore, Singapore, or Jakarta — contact us and we might have the connections you might need!
If you want to intern, you should start looking for a position before winter break of class 11. Because you don’t have a college degree, anticipate receiving a few rejections before you find something you like. Persistence will pay off – even companies that don’t have intern programs may take you on if they are impressed.
As a general rule, the first email you send should already have your resume attached to it. In the body of the email, don’t ask if they have vacant positions. Instead, just ask for the opportunity to interview. It’s best to also include one or two reasons why, even as a high schooler, you will be an asset. If you do get an interview, you should work to really “wow” them. Practice answering interview questions diligently, and make sure that you have researched the institution thoroughly. You probably aren’t the ideal candidate based on academic qualifications, so you have to be the best based on your hard-working character – if there isn’t an internship program already, you have to make them want to create a position for you!
- Lab assistance – if you are science, math, or tech-oriented, labs are the best place to work. Start off by asking your STEM teachers to see if they know of any opportunities. Try emailing professors at nearby universities – a community college and state school would be appropriate. Mention the search to your friends to see if anyone has a parent who needs lab assistance. And finally, if none of these options work, send emails to multiple local labs and nearby graduate school research programs. If you have done any prior research in the same field as the labs you are looking to work in, consider attaching both a letter of recommendation from your first mentor and your resume on the first email. If the research was particularly impressive, be sure to reference it extensively in the body of the email and in a potential interview.
- Humanities internships – if you are looking at law, business, communications, etc., it may be slightly harder to find a position. Any service-oriented companies, such as financial advising agencies, often have a lot of sensitive information about clients that you can’t work with. Try applying for internships that are government sponsored – the public defender’s office or the governor’s office, for example. Send emails to companies that you’d be interested in working for, asking for the opportunity to do any kind of work, whether it be scanning or otherwise. Make it very clear that you don’t have expectations, and that you are looking mostly for the opportunity to learn through observation.
One of the most important things about college admissions is to showcase how you are different than the sea of other college aspirants. While a lot of students learn through camps, we at EdBrand have found success in helping students create special projects. Through our Bespoke Research Program Research intensive projects that help them learn new skills, reapply skills they already know, and most importantly learn something new about themselves. Inquisitive to know what our students have done? Here’s a list of projects from 2017! If you want to know more, come for a chat and firm up those summer plans!
Summer is a great time to explore new topics and extracurriculars or to supplement your existing knowledge and interests. Make sure that, even while going to class or work, you take advantage of the time off and really enjoy your time before college. Choose an option that you find fun, and be creative when coming up with other, unique summer plans.