Advice from the Whisperer Anew- Writing the College Personal Statement

~Hello Everyone, the Whisperer is here to talk about college applications and give some all-around helpful advice! Here is what I said last year and the same information holds true today, enjoy!

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Its that time of year again and for all high school seniors it can be a nerve-wracking and a very trying time. Many of you for the past couples of years or so have been frantically learning about and researching this previously strange thing called “College” (unless you have older siblings or relatives in higher education) and trying to study its every move in order to become part of it. Some of you might have or are preparing to visit various campuses on weekends and holiday breaks to take the tours and get a general feeling for your future intended places of study. But you have to choose only one!

You probably have taken practice versions of the SAT or ACT exams in order to do well in this last year of school. And yes on top of it all it IS your LAST YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL! You now have to begin filling out the long online applications for the colleges you wish to attend while trying to keep between a 3.0 and 4.0 GPA, enjoy your extracurricular activities, maintain good relationships with friends, significant others, parents, teachers… and then there’s the college essay you have to write. AH!!!

Ah yes, the Personal Statement. Another deciding factor for college admissions staffs to use in order to determine why they should choose you in particular for their institution. Going back into the recesses of my memory (covered with dust and cobwebs) I thought about how I was like YOU at one time (boy, that was long ago!).

This is one of the best opportunities you have to show off your stuff. You can write about your accomplishments, what you enjoy doing the most, even highlight areas that you recognize are challenging and still need in improvement on, but ultimately are overcoming.

So here are a few helpful tips in order to help you write a truly remarkable statement!
To keep it simple, I chose three:

1. Ask one of your favorite teachers who you trust to help you edit your essays.

2. Choose meaningful personal experiences to write about that will show you are a well-rounded and caring individual. This can but does not necessarily need to relate to your intended major or field of study.

3. Write about something that you know you have been lagging behind in and explain how you are or have been overcoming it.

You should check out the websites for the universities you are interested as many of them will include some information about how to write a personal statement such as the Purdue University’s OWL Writing Lab.

Stay tuned for more next week!

 

P.S. You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn for updates, events, competitions and generally learn about Areteem Institute!

What kind of opportunities can arise of a High School internship?

By  Cameron Yanoscik

Read our last blog in this series about “High School vs College Internships”.

Throughout the interviews we conducted, we learned much about the benefits and challenges involved with high school internship programs. To close this blog series, we asked the three college counselors to tell us what they felt were the positive outcomes for students involved in academic internships.

Robert Pierce of CSU Fullerton added that,

“…internships should be about you trying out a profession. See if it is something you are interested in and can be passionate about. That’s really what they exist for and why thousands of students are doing internships each year.”

As we have learned, high school internships provide students a wonderful opportunity to explore their interests in a variety of fields and careers along with:

  1. Real work-related experience,
  2. An acquired practical skills set, and
  3. Future professional contacts

All can be helpful in influencing a student’s decision to study an individual major and pursue unique career goals. High school internships thus equip students with the knowledge to be successful, helping them to discover what they really want to do after college and beyond. We at Areteem Institute hope that by allowing students to participate in our private school internship programs they will be able to take some initiative in their own lives, go out and explore their own passions, connect with people and become tomorrow’s compassionate and successful leaders. So go ahead, try out an internship near you!

Thank you for reading along with us. Join us next time to learn more about educational opportunities in order to get ahead in life!

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Academic Internship for High School

What is the biggest difference between College and High School Academic Internships?

By  Cameron Yanoscik

Read our last blog in this series about all the types of “organizations available for internships”.

The Academic Internship Directors we interviewed differentiated between the two kinds of academic internships. All believe that while a college internship is more specific and relates to relevant coursework and a student’s future career, a high school internship may provide a broader look into a work-related setting. Students involved in a private school internship at Areteem Institute, for example, will be offered a glimpse into the working world where they have the chance to help out their communities and their peers, such as tutoring students in their classes.

Brian Frenette of Yale University notes that college internships are “more likely focused on career-oriented tasks” while high school internships “might have more of an administrative flair”. High school internships provide students a rare opportunity to work with others in different fields and be able to sample individual aspects of the work place they are interning at. Regardless of the differences in expectations, both internships have value, Mr. Frenette says as they “help reinforce the ever-valuable ‘transferable skills’ while also helping [to] introduce the student to the skill sets that will need to be on display as they apply to internships as a freshman or sophomore in college.”

A high school internship could help pave the way to a successful college experience, giving students an upper edge over their peers when they apply for more in-depth college internships related to their majors. College internships can be challenging, especially, as Tricia Oliveira of UC San Diego pointed out,

“…[the internships] may require a higher level of preparation; there’s usually an expectation that students have had some intermediate or advanced level coursework relevant to the internship, and interns should engage in more advanced level projects or tasks.”

She further mentioned that UCSD students involved in an internship program have to make a connection between their internship and their studies by completing a project or writing a final research paper.

For both internship opportunities, students will improve their communication skills, leadership qualities, group cooperation and time management, among others that are needed in order to apply to the best colleges, discover prospective career options and simply live in the world today.

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Academic Internship for High School

What kinds of organizations are available for internships?

By  Cameron Yanoscik

Read our last blog in this series about knowing “when you are in a great internship”.

The answer is more surprising than you may think! There are many opportunities for students to become involved in a variety of fields and interests. High school internship programs, including private school internships, try to find as many available resources as possible to provide to students so they could decide what kind of “work” they are interested in exploring. At Areteem Institute in particular, we try to match our students with an internship program that is more to their taste and also emphasize more of an academic focus such as tutoring services, etc.

Robert Pierce of Cal State University, Fullerton mentioned, in regards to where organizations were available, that they could be:

“Anything and everything from movie studios to hospitals to schools to pharmaceutical companies! There are internships in every career and every major. Really, whatever field you are interested in you can find an internship for. I have had students working on animations for DreamWorks through to assisting with psychological evaluations at Metropolitan State Hospital. The world really is your oyster.”

As mentioned in previous interviews, students should think about their interests and aspiring work-related goals as that will help determine where they will be working at during an internship. Schools will provide knowledge of internship opportunities in the area and help students become more involved in their local communities as well.

Students should remember that internships go beyond volunteer work as they are more geared towards general practical work experience in a job or career. The organizations hosting interns might provide something to the equivalent of a small “salary” during the time students are involved in the program.

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Academic Internship for High School

How should students make the most of their internship time?

How should students make the most of their internship time?

(Click here for the last part of this series, “Knowing when you are in a great internship”)

Answer: Observe and take initiative!

Students need to be the ones to decide how they want to spend their time during a high school internship program. Not only should they actively do something but they should also learn by listening more. Students also learn by watching the examples set by their supervisors and those who are actively working around them.

Tricia Oliveira of UC San Diego says, “observe everything that goes on around you…pay attention to things like processes and procedures, as well as how people interact with each other to get things done so that you can follow suit.”

A high school internship program is all in the experience. Students will benefit from active observation because they have the advantage of being on “the outside looking in”. They can study a group of people firsthand, learning about their unique work culture as well as pick up on verbal conversations, body language and other unspoken dialogue. The private school internship gives students a better sense of a work-related atmosphere as they are able to observe how people interact and “flow” together. This kind of experience will prove invaluable for students when they think about the kinds of work settings better suited for them.

In regards to doing more, Tricia also added the following:

“Take initiative: introduce yourself to people, ask questions, and request opportunities to get involved with tasks or projects that interest you, or that you think would contribute something of value to the organization. Interns who just sit around waiting for exciting projects to fall in their lap usually wait a long time. A positive attitude and eagerness to learn go a long way, and it goes without saying that you must be dependable – show up on time, and follow through on projects.”

As can be gathered, students need to be actively involved in an internship program if they want to see results. From meeting and observing fellow colleagues, finding interesting work to do as well as asking for advice, students become more independent decision-makers and mature individuals as well.

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By Cameron Yanoscik

How do you know if you are involved in a great internship program?

How do you know if you are involved in a great internship program?

(Click here for the last part of this series on Academic Internships, “Red Flags”)

Brian Frenette of Yale University thinks that “the size/scope of the company is not always the best sign, but the clarity in the role, the ability to have a mentoring relationship with one’s supervisor, and the ability to participate in real, substantive projects is very important when determining the ‘value’ of an internship program”.

Academic Internship Directors from UC San Diego and Cal State Fullerton echoed this statement, and had more tips:

1.Internship program supervisors should be people who care about the growth and development made by their interns and

2. Students should be heavily involved in relevant work, projects and assignments where they can use their skills as well as develop new ones.

First, the environment surrounding the internship should be conducive to learning. The employees and other interns involved should all be focused on the work at hand, assisting each other in order to do well. That is why having a responsible and receptive supervisor is important when our Areteem students are involved in our private school internships. The supervisor should frequently check in with interns to see how well they are doing and offer appropriate feedback and advice when necessary. That way, students will be able to connect more with their supervisors, working alongside each other similar to a mentor-mentee relationship.

The more meaningful projects the intern is involved in, the better. Students need to be challenged during “hands-on” experiences where they develop skills they may not have gained otherwise. Students will benefit from engaging more in their internships as they feel they will have accomplished something.

In the end, an internship program’s strengths rely on both the people and the actual work involved. Interning in professional environments allow students to see first-hand what having a “career” is like and ultimately be a rewarding experience where they may even establish some future contacts!

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By Cameron Yanoscik