College Preparation: How to Stand Out in the Crowd

    Just having a stellar GPA and a great high school activity list isn’t enough to ensure success in college these days. In order to gain admission to top tier colleges and universities, kids can really shine by broadening their horizons outside of campus.

    Many prestigious organizations offer summer internships for high school students, giving them an added dimension to classroom learning and an edge over those who opted to stay home and lifeguard or babysit. Not that those are bad choices, they are just not as competitive if one is aiming high.

    The United Nations offers internships around the globe, focusing on UNICEF, Climate Change, and any number of current global issues. Not only does it look good on paper, it really gives a global perspective to kids that have not been out of the United States.

    The Smithsonian also offers valuable internships related to numerous aspects of disciplines like history, science and art. Students 16 and older are assigned a summer project and perform valuable work toward that end.

    Julliard offers summer programs in music and dance for high school students. While not an internship, the programs further young careers in the performing arts through some of the most accomplished artists in the world, giving kids not only some great skills, but also a good frame of reference.

    Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) also does internships focusing on painting, sculpture, and even accounting. However, if one is really into the numbers of business, a Wall St. internship might prove more valuable. Companies all along the first street of finance offer very competitive internships for select high school students. It helps to know someone, so be prepared to network.

    Many colleges offer summer programs for high school students with emphasis in a wide variety of disciplines. Those interested in the sciences can get a peek at what various medical careers hold for them through summer at Johns Hopkins, Stanford, Georgetown, and many other top schools. Students interested in engineering can tap their genius at MIT, University of Michigan, or Carnegie Mellon.

    American University’s National Student Leadership Conference gives students an inside look at the operations around Capitol Hill, the Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian. The weeklong, residential program teaches skills related to team management, ethics, goal setting, and public speaking, and provides a huge advantage to those students focused on serving in public office.

    Microsoft, Facebook, and many other computer-related organizations hold internship programs throughout the summer for a select group of students that show promise in the areas of IT, computer design, marketing, advertising, finance, and all things related to the business of running a business. Being fluent in a second language is also a big advantage, as many companies do business overseas and need translators.

    Getting an internship or enrolling in one of the programs at the many prestigious colleges offering high school students an opportunity to meet other students with the same passions and interests builds bonds that last a lifetime. Additionally, students begin to see how the world works, from what to wear to how to make it through a five-course dinner. Yes, these internships and programs are competitive, and not everyone gets the opportunity to participate. Remember, however, you don’t get what you don’t ask for, so get out and ask.

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