The Value of an Internship
5 hours agonizing over the short response questions – 2 hours perfecting the “extracurricular activities” section 10 hours brainstorming, drafting, reworking, and finalizing the essay 7 emails asking for letters of recommendation.
The above items are just a few of the components of a college application. The hours spent are strenuous and heavy and can take months to prepare. On the other hand, the college admissions interview is twenty minutes, and can’t be prepared completely in advance.
Usually, interviews detail involvement in high school clubs, sports, activities, and hopes for college. Mine almost never took this format because of how I spent this past year. Last spring, I graduated a year early from high school to spend nine months as an intern at Olenick. I wanted to have a chance to explore my interest in the software development lifecycle in a practical setting, where people worked with software quality engineering every day.
My time at Olenick became a major asset in my college interviews. Sometimes a few minutes into an interview, interviewers would put away their defined set of questions once they understood my situation. The interview then became a conversation, and I felt like there was genuine interest in my path and intentions for taking it. For example, during my Stanford interview, the interviewer had worked as a consultant in an environment that was very similar to Olenick – we spent nearly thirty minutes talking about how our experiences were similar or different, and what I had learned from working so close to important roles such as project managers, business analysts, software engineers, recruiters, and business development professionals. We also discussed how my work experience had impacted my hopes and expectations past graduation; instead of talking about my least and most difficult class, we discussed the challenges associated with working in a dynamic, deliverable-oriented environment.
I will be attending University of California, Santa Cruz this fall to continue my education after this yearlong internship. I truly believe that working at Olenick gave me an edge in the admissions process due to the interest from interviewers regarding my experience, my unique perspective concerning life after graduation, and my desire to go back to school after such a break. Overall, my intern experience at Olenick was a massive help not only in the college admissions interviews but to my perception of life after school and what day-to-day work is like in an office environment. It was an opportunity I would recommend to high school graduates that have a desire to broaden their horizons and try something new while also improving their college resume. Going forward, I hope to use this knowledge in building my career, using my time at Olenick as a stepping stone into a world of possibility.