FAQs by Sophomores About College Admissions
This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Giebien Na in a CollegeVine livestream. You can watch the full livestream for more info.
- Should You Have Internships in High School?
- What Should You Look For When Applying to Colleges?
- How Many Schools Should Be on a College List?
- What Is the Biggest Change from High School to College?
Should You Have Internships in High School?
High School Internships Are Rare
Many students ask about the importance of participating in internships during high school, but the reality is that internships at the high school level are quite rare. If you do get an internship during high school, that’s great, but there is no expectation by colleges for one. Most internships are not available to high school students, so admissions offices are not looking for them on applications.
Even in college, it can be hard to get an internship, and many freshman and sophomore college students won’t get one either, as employers are typically looking for applicants with more experience. Ultimately, you shouldn’t worry if you don’t get an internship during high school, as you won’t be behind the pack by any means.
Applying to Internships in High School
If you do choose to apply to internships during high school, look around to find specific programs, and identify their application to your future goals. For your best chance of having an internship or internship-like experience in high school, you can try to email a local professor, an alum of your high school who has come back to work in the area and is involved in the field that you’re interested in, or another local professional contact. Your high school teachers may also help guide you toward potential professional connections.
When you reach out, ask if you can do things like shadow them or work in a lab with them, even if it’s not via a formal internship program. Experiences like these often take place during the summer, but things like lab work could be during the school year. Even if you don’t get a response or they are unable to fulfill your request at this time, you can still keep the line of communication open should an opportunity with them ever become available. The time that you spend reaching out to these connections is an investment in your network and potential access to opportunities in the future.
What Should You Look For When Applying to Colleges?
Compare the Undergraduate and Graduate Experience
When applying to colleges, you should keep a few factors in mind. If you are exploring research universities or large colleges, dig into the undergraduate experience. A college may have a reputation for being well-established or prominent in specific academic fields, but those accolades may come from its graduate-level institutions.
A college like this may not be the best option for you if its undergraduate programs in certain disciplines are not that strong. To avoid this mistake, be sure to separate the undergraduate experience from the graduate experience.
Think About Your Future Career
Remember, going to college is not an isolated experience; it exists to prepare you for everything that will come after college. As you apply, keep in mind, at least a bit, what you want to do afterward, even if you are still considering multiple fields. Doing this will ensure that wherever you go, you will be set up for a potential career.
For example, if you want to return to your home state and work locally after college, going to your state’s flagship public university campus makes more sense than a big-name Ivy League school. Even though a prestigious university can seem to be the best option, it may not actually align with your future goals.
How Many Schools Should Be on a College List?
When making a college list, many students are unsure how many safety, target, and reach schools to include. The conventional advice is to apply to 10 schools, with three to four safety schools, three to four target schools, and two to three reach schools. This way, students end up with a good range of college options and hopefully, several acceptances once college admissions decisions are made.
What Is the Biggest Change from High School to College?
One of the most significant differences between high school and college is that in college, students have free time within their days but also more tasks to complete. In high school, students typically wake up, go to school for six hours, and maybe have clubs or sports afterward. In high school, time in class is a significant portion of one’s day, and students may not be at home for long.
In college, students don’t have as much class time, but they have much more work to do, making for less free time overall. The amount of free time that a college student has depends on the classes that they take, their time-management skills, and any extracurricular involvement. To succeed in college, you must learn time-management strategies to help you prioritize your tasks within the free time that you have outside of class.