High School Internships & College Admissions

Over the past several years, colleges have begun to look more for what we call an angular student. Gone are the days of being well-rounded and scattered in your interests. Now, they want to see a clear path – what students have done that back up their choice of major – which allows them to see how that student will fit into the overall puzzle of their incoming freshman class. So while the overall message is the same – stay busy, participate in extracurricular activities, and study hard – there is now a need for a bit more planning so that all of the pieces come together to tell a compelling story.

One great way to demonstrate interest in a particular field is through an internship. Learning the ropes of a local business has long been advised to high school students but as mentioned above, use care in choosing where to apply. Your choice should reflect your goals in college and beyond! Recently we contacted the admissions offices at a few schools that are popular with students we work with to hear what they had to say about high school internships – and here we’ll share their points of view with you!

At the University of Texas in Austin, TX, it is always important to remember that you are applying for a major. The official we talked to said specifically that if an internship supports the applicant’s major choice, it is more beneficial than a “random” internship. At UT, the internships are included as part of the resume in the application so make sure that you are able to help connect the dots of what your interests are, what experience you’ve gained, and where you see yourself heading in the future. While UT does engage in a holistic review, meaning each part of the application is reviewed and weighted evenly, the chance to elaborate on an internship in your resume that backs up your major selection is a huge opportunity and should not be wasted.

The admissions official at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN that we talked to said that internship experience can only help an applicant. The internship experience is included on their application within the extracurricular experience section and is evaluated as such. When reviewing the application, they’ll be looking to see what the student gained from the experience and how it makes them more balanced. Students have the opportunity to describe their internship in the extracurricular section so keep in mind that it is a chance to show what was learned at the internship and how it relates to major selection and future plans. The admissions team at Vanderbilt is trained in “positive advocacy” which means that they are not looking for reasons to deny a student, but are instead looking for reasons to accept. Show them and others why this internship experience makes you a better applicant!

With Spring right around the corner, now is the time to start making internship plans for summer! Many larger companies and organizations have formal internship programs with application dates on the horizon, so you’ll need to plan ahead. As you begin looking for the right opportunity for you, start by looking at your interests and what experience you already have. Are there any paths that you’ve already started creating for yourself that you can continue on? If not, try to think about possible majors or careers that you are interested in. Then, Google is your best friend! Look for companies and businesses in your area that you’d like to reach out to. You’ll meet new people, learn a whole lot, and help prepare yourself for college and your future career – start looking for your perfect internship today!

Feeling overwhelmed? This June, All-in-One Academics is launching our Career Academy program that helps pair students with internships in their desired field. The program consists of a three-week internship along with a professional development course that meets on Friday mornings. For more information about this exciting new program, click here.