College Admissions- Standing Out in a Test Optional World

It’s spring 2021 and you’re a high school junior thinking about college applications.

Here’s the dilemma:

  • SAT and ACT tests are now optional at 700 colleges including Harvard, Princeton and Stanford.  
  • According to the Wall Street Journal, admissions officers spend 8 minutes or less reading an application.
  • Less than 2% of high school athletes get in as D1 athletic recruits and most college sports are now canceled due to Covid.

So, how can you stand out on your college applications?

This is attainable by thinking outside of the normal extra-curricula activities and at the same time, building on your academic strengths. Colleges seek out students whose interests and talents will contribute to both academic and college life on their campuses. This is quite apparent by the typical application question, “What are your interests and how will you pursue them on our campus?”

A project-based virtual or in-person internship, specifically designed to relate to your academic interests, your talents, your passions will convey something unique. How many high school students can say that they’ve attended legislative hearings for a State Senator, worked in the lab at a Cambridge biotech startup, or helped design costumes for a professional theater company? A structured, project-based remote/virtual internship can also provide the same opportunity to work with a mentor in a student’s chosen field.

In our experiential school-to-career program, we always begin by asking our students- What experiences have you had in school or out of school that were really exciting or meaningful?  Let’s explore them in-depth through a structured, educational internship supervised by a carefully chosen workplace mentor.

Students often talk about their internship experiences during interviews and in college essays. In addition, a letter of recommendation from your mentor discussing how your academic interests related to the internship can be an impressive addition to your application. Not only will your internship set you apart on college applications but even more importantly, the experience will help you gain the confidence and life skills needed for college and beyond.

Internship Connection

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