When we meet with high school sophomores and juniors, applying to college is often at the forefront of their minds as well as the angst of their parents. While their previous experiences may seem a bit disjointed to them, we are able to help them find the unique “thread of interest” that runs through their high school years.
The idea for us, is to establish an internship that directly relates to their academic interests. On their college applications, students are able to show that they are pursuing their passions and talents, not only within the school day, but also in a much deeper way. This becomes their story on their applications and college interviews.
Setting yourself apart from other students
Taking this idea one step further, the following is an example of one student’s college essay about nanotechnology. Not only does he write about his interest in this particular field of science, he is able to talk about the in-depth experience he had through the internship we established for him in high school.
Ben followed our suggestions about “Telling his Story” in a creative way.
As a side note, he was accepted to both Cornell and Columbia for engineering. Today, years later, he is a businessman, in a field unrelated to science.
Many Colleges require a personal essay plus an Academic Interest Essay. The following is Ben’s Cornell essay relating to his internship:
-Describe your intellectual interests, their evolution, and what makes them exciting to you.
A Path to Discovery
After slipping into a white coat, I insert my hands into tight latex gloves, carefully covering my hair with a cap made of thin, crinkly paper. I slide open the heavy rubber curtains, stepping into the clean room, enveloped by dust-collecting Styrofoam and silence. Facing me are two computers and a state of the art, half million-dollar Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), powerful enough to see anything a few billionths of a meter in size. For the next six hours, I will work alone in this room, etching off misaligned carbon nanotubes through wafer-scale electron beam lithography using SEM to define high-resolution features on test chips.
Why am I doing this on a beautiful summer day? Imagine computers that boot up instantaneously, cell phones with enough memory to run full-motion video and music clips for days. Or picture a trillion bits of data stored on a chip the size of a postage stamp. These are some of the potentially radical implications of technology being developed at Nantero, the place of my summer internship. I hope in this generation to contribute to the development of these exciting new discoveries in the interrelated fields of engineering, nanoscience and biology.
-Consider the academic programs in the school/college you indicated on page one. How will you utilize them to further explore your intended major or field of interest (or general academic interests if you’re undecided)?
Cornell’s reputation for interdisciplinary research and advanced approaches in nanotechnology are very exciting to me. The Duffield Hall facility and collaborative partnerships within programs is exactly the type of academic setting that is so appealing to me. The Center for Nanoscale systems and ongoing research in carbon-based nanoelectronics and silicon nanoelectronics is are of particular interest and relate to my separate summer internships working with printed circuit boards as well as carbon nanotubes. Also, the opportunity for undergraduate research at Cornell is very important to me.
I am seeking a broad-based and well-rounded education and Cornell’s strengths in Liberal Arts combined with excellence in science and engineering would provide the perfect match for my academic interests.