Admissions Tips from a UNC Sophomore: Spend your high school summers on self-development

February 14, 2014

AdmitSee intern, HelenWang, shares how her work at a local hospital led to a great college application essay, and offers advice on choosing summer programs:

image via volunteennation.org
image via volunteennation.org

I spent the summer after my junior year completing a program called VolunTEEN at REX hospitals in Raleigh, North Carolina. I worked as a sales representative in the Gift Shop, which was not necessarily medicine-related, but still provided for a great experience. Working in a hospital environment taught me the importance of catering to the needs of others, especially those under stress. It was not always easy seeing the families and friends of patients worrying about their loved ones, so I did the best I could by giving a customer the warmest greeting I could, offering prompt assistance, and always making sure I completed flower deliveries on time. 

Not only was VolunTEEN a character-building experience, it definitely also played a big role in my college acceptance. I ended up writing one of my essays about a co-worker named Thelma that I had the privilege of getting to know. In this essay, I described the admirable qualities that Thelma exhibited, notably the fact that her old age did nothing to stop her from being the cheerful and bubbly consultant she was. Working alongside Thelma taught me almost everything I now know about humility.

I had other friends who worked summer jobs, completed missions trips, and even studied abroad. Ultimately, I don’t think it matter what you do with your summer as long as it contributes to your self-development. This lesson is not only applicable to the college application process, but also to your life. As cheesy as it may sound, a summer is three months of free time that you won’t get back. Spend them doing something you won’t regret!

Read the author’s application essay about her summer experience by unlocking her profile! Use the invite code LIBRARY to get 25% off your purchase.



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Hey! I'm a freshman at University of Rochester Class of 2020 interested in double majoring in Biology and Spanish, eventually applying to med school. I'm passionate about studying science, doing research and learning new languages.
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