Admissions Tips from a Sophomore at Duke: Network with college coaches during your summer

February 17, 2014

This week we asked some of our Admits, current students at top schools, to share how they spent their high school summers. Our goal is to inspire high school sophomores and juniors to start thinking about what they can do to optimize their summers. It’s a critical time to work on self-discovery, explore schools, and/or build their resumes.

Here, RuHo, a sophomore at Duke, shares what she did to stand out:

My main advice to this is: 1) get out of your comfort zone, and more importantly, 2) do something you’re passionate about! My friends/peers worked at summer camps, apprenticed at bakeries, traveled abroad, volunteered at hospitals… These experiences helped them grow and provided inspiration for college application essays. I did something a little bit different—I was focused on improving my chances of getting on a Division I track & field team.

I spent the summer at Stanford’s track and field summer camp (I can’t thank my parents enough for this opportunity). There, I was able to meet the team, talk to the coach, and get a feel for what it would be like to attend Stanford. While there, I reached out to the head of Stanford’s track & field program, whom I had emailed questions to six months earlier. Side note: Don’t be afraid to email coaches, professors, instructors, etc at the prospective schools you want to go to… worst case scenario, they don’t respond! To my surprise, the head of the program remembered my name (or at least he pretended to) and it was a great conversation starter. I built on this experience when reaching out to coaches at other top schools.

image via ussportscamps.com
image via ussportscamps.com

Which brings me to another piece of advice: if you are visiting a college and you have a particular interest in a division of the school, whether it be about a particular major, sport, theater interest, music department, etc, reach out to a professor and see if you can schedule an appointment with them. If they don’t respond, stop by to see their facilities/classrooms when you visit! Reaching out like this helps you learn whether the school is right for you, and it lets the college know of your strong interest. You’ll also be able to reference it in your college application essays. It’s all about NETWORKING! Just make sure you aren’t annoying by displaying an obsessive interest in their school or ask questions that you can easily find online.

Hope this helps, and don’t forget to have fun!

The author of this post is a sophomore at Duke university, who was also accepted to Cornell, Georgetown, UC Berkeley, and BC. Read her application essays and advice by unlocking her profile.



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