Summer internships/programs and college applications


National Retail Foundation

At the age of 14, students in Va. can opt to work. With TJ being a STEM highschool and the majority of students doing a summer internship or program, students can set themselves apart by taking up a job and gaining working experience.

Aarya Kumar, Team Leader

In a top-rated school like Jefferson, students take advantage of summer programs or internships to improve their college applications. While I am not an admissions officer and, in fact, have been drawn into the stigma of doing a summer program, I wonder why there is such a push for these opportunities in comparison to pursuing alternatives like a summer job. 

From teachers and counselors advising on summer programs to students talking about cold-emailing professors, it should definitely be considered that these programs have value and importance in one’s application. Without a doubt, students being published, doing research with a professor, or getting into a prestigious program can increase the chance of getting into an elite university.

However, I think there is a limit to one’s academic success. If we consider the fact that these prestigious programs are already accepting academically accomplished students, what is the real impact of another line of academic prestige on an already loaded resume? While one could gain real-life lab or work experience through these programs and internships, many of these skills can be developed later in a college setting. These opportunities may show a continued interest in a major, or field but branching out could actually portray a student as more well-rounded. 

As opposed to pursuing one of these opportunities, a summer retail or service job can give a student real-life experiences that cannot be found anywhere else. Additionally, leadership and collaboration skills can be shown through being able to manage customers and help run a business. Beyond developing skills of collaboration and leadership, a summer job serves as an initiative towards making an income. Managing a disposable income can show a transition to adulthood and present a more mature candidate in the eyes of colleges.

With colleges openly admitting to wanting “students who uniquely contribute to their community”, it can be better for students at a science and tech high school to look outside their pursued academic interests and showcase a unique element like taking up a summer job.