Admissions Tips from an NYU Junior: Gain work experience during your high school summers

February 15, 2014

NYU Intern JCL521 shares how he spent the summer before senior year of high school gaining valuable work experience and why you should too!

During my junior year of high school, I had the opportunity to intern at a small immigration consulting firm. What started as a dreaded weekly routine surprisingly ended up as one of the most rewarding experience I have had. I dreaded going to the internship because the work seemed boring, the hours long, and on top of it all, it was unpaid. I would much rather have been outside playing basketball with my friends.

However, as my responsibilities grew, I realized that I was learning so many things that high school wouldn’t have been able to teach me. Prior to the internship, I had little to no background in computer programming, law, business, or database management. My supervisor taught me skills that I carry to this day in my college internships. He taught me how to code HTML to design the company website, how to use Quicken to help the company accountant keep the books in check, and how to create databases to organize client green card information. On top it all, I gained valuable insight on business development and the world of immigration law.

image via nyulocal.com
image via nyulocal.com

When I got to college, I fully realized the impact the internship had on my college career. Interviews for jobs became increasingly easier because I had substance to talk about, and employers love to see prior work experience. The programming and business development I did in high school turned into a real passion; I now have work experience at three tech startups doing marketing and business development. I never would have known that this is what I want to do if I hadn’t had that experience in high school.

I often hear stories of stellar students, 4.0+ GPA students with perfect test scores and honors, struggling to land jobs. Maintaining good grades is definitely important and should be a high priority, but work experience provides a hands-on, real-life learning experience. The skills that you learn in the workplace are the skills that you carry on long after you graduate. No internship is perfect; I have had plenty of rough days in my previous work experience. However, the technical skills you learn, the interpersonal skills you develop, and networks you gain from work experience are a great investment for your future. 

The author is NYU Admit JCL521—unlock his full profile now!



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