Congratulations! You are about to or have graduated high school! Or, in some cases, you have completed your time at a community college, and it is time for your four-year degree! How exciting, or what? You have put in so much time and effort, working your but off day-in and day-out… weekends, holidays, in-person or online. Now, you are at the cusp of your next step, the verge of your next chapter. I am sure whatever you set your mind to; you will continue to be successful.
These steps are not only helpful to those in all levels of high school but to those in the beginning stages of college as well. So, here are 5 ways to help with your success – 5 ways to buff up your university application:
1. Honors Society
As you pick your classes for next semester or next year, ask your high school guidance counselor if there are honors options. Some schools have multiple levels, some that you may test into. But it is never too late to try something new and really push yourself in the subjects you enjoy.
Then, when you look through the college class catalog, you can see that a lot of classes have honors options. This way, you can pick and choose when to do honors classes, (for your best subjects), and when to do the regular classes, (for those you struggle with). Especially if those classes are relevant to your major and future career, having done the honors classes will look great on your applications and resumes. This not only shows a general intelligence for those subjects but an overall dedication and understanding of the seriousness of learning and the education experience.
Just remember, every student enters their first semester with a 4.0 GPA, and it up to them to keep it. Even so, most honors programs and societies have a window of 3.5 to 4.0 for their accepted GPA. Often, colleges and universities will have their own honors programs, but you can also look into honors societies – such as Phi Theta Kappa – which can be statewide, nationwide, or international. Through these honors societies, you can apply for scholarships, have connections for university and ivy league transfer opportunities, and find internships or jobs.
Through Indeed, Handshake, business websites, and private postings, you can find an internship for just about anything online. Depending on your focus of study and intended career field, you might even get to do the internship remotely. Though some are still unpaid, there are paid options as well, and either way will help with your university or job applications. (Keep in mind the start and end date, if you have another job, and your course load so you can commit to it and not be overwhelmed. Plus, if possible, try to find out that is between three to six months.)
Not only will internships help you have real-world know-how with your intended career field, but it also gives you experience that may be expected even at entry-level positions. Paid or not, it is an investment of time and a learning opportunity that one should not take lightly. There are thousands of students just like you who are looking at internships all over the country, just trying to get a head start. Internships are a fantastic advantage and show that you know what you want to do, that you have a plan, and you can commit to a contract.
It can be a little scary at first but remember that everyone has to start somewhere. Whether you are 18 or 28, it is always a good time to better yourself and take the leap. Though a finished degree helps, sometimes it is not always needed to jump into the career you have planned for yourself. And if you ever get confused or need help, ask around! That is what co-workers and bosses, other students and teachers, friends and family are there for.
3. Degree-Relevant Jobs
Working retail, at a grocery store, or at a restaurant is all good and dandy… but, it might be time to start thinking about your future. Yes, you are young. Yes, you have little to no experience. Yes, it is scary, and you did not think you would worry about this until years from now. But! Why push off to tomorrow what you can do today?
Just like with an internship, making the choice to start a degree-relevant job is one of the best moves you can make. English major? Be available part-time in a bookstore or as a freelance writer. Law degree? You can start as a secretary. Planning to be a vet? There is always a pet store, doggy daycare, or groomer. These options not only give you experience in your career field, but it also looks way better to your future employers than working at Walmart or Olive Garden.
Again, everyone must start somewhere. Even though it is depicted in the media that you get a degree and within weeks start your brand-new career, more often than not in real life, it takes many, many steps to get to your primary goal. Even if it is two steps forward and one step back, that is still one step forward. (If I had not published my first novel at seventeen, I would never have reached the level of skill and ability I have now.)
4. School Offered Activities
The difference between a job and a career is the dedication of time, qualifications, and pay. But, another difference between a job and a career is that you can start and stop a job at any time, while your career is for life. At a job, you are just a number… totally replaceable and you are there for a paycheck. While, during your career, you are working as a vital member of a team. So, though this one seems a little outdated, doing school-offered activities shows that you have a sense of community.
Instead of going to school, keeping your head down, staying quiet, and then heading home, you are showing that you have made connections with other students and teachers. You are showing that you want to be a part of the extended high school and college environment. This shows that it is in your nature to be part of the teams and offer more than the minimum required.
The whole point of an application or a resume is to explain how you stand out from the crowd. So, to show that you care about where you study or work shows that you will not just be the “short brunette” but be “Sarah who works on the third floor and makes amazing brownies”. But also, it shows that by investing your time off, you are willing to go above and beyond for those who matter.
Volunteering is always, always a good idea. Very stereotypical, maybe, but who cares? Volunteering shows not just how good-hearted you are, but that you have a fantastic moral compass. It shows that you care about others and you rather help than hurt. Why might this be important or helpful? Well… think about it:
There are a lot of jobs and careers where people could easily steal products or money. There are a lot of jobs and careers where people can take advantage of others. So, volunteering is a clear, understood way to show that you are a good person who will follow the rules. It is a clear, understood way to show that you want to help the company instead of hurt.
This is easily the most superficial of the five but can be one of the most beneficial. As you look into internships and degree-relevant jobs, as well, some companies have their own outreach programs and volunteering opportunities. This would be the best of all worlds, doing what is relevant to your future employers, showing a sense of community, and your great moral compass.
One of the most important parts of any resume or application, with school, internships, jobs, or careers, is having a personality and a unique presence. You have to make yourself stand out in the crowd and make sure they know that you are the best fit for the position. The 5 steps above are only a few ways to help with this. Look through Society19 or comment below to find more ways to make your resumes and applications as one-of-a-kind and spectacular as you!
Author | English Major | #RealLifeBelle | Academic Romance | "This was no accident, this was a therapeutic chain of events." | www.TheMousyGirl.com