How do you stand out from the thousands of college applicants? Through your real-world work experience. Here's how to talk about it in applications.
Whether you’re neck-deep into university applications or nervously looking forward to them, don’t worry, we get it. It can be hard to cover everything you’ve done and differentiate yourself from the thousands of other students all applying alongside you.
Did you know that real-world work experience is a great way to do just that? It might be simple to discuss a casual job or volunteer experience, but it can be tough to talk about the newer concept of a micro-internship. Let's look at a few ways you can talk about your real-world work experience in your college essays and interviews.
Most applications to universities and colleges in the UK and the USA have essay, interview, and personal statement elements. When you’re talking about your skills and experience, we recommend talking about your micro-internship using this kind of framing:
“In Grade 11, I took part in a career exploration and micro-internship programme in Data Analytics which taught me useful skills and allowed me to tackle a real business problem to get a feel for the world of work. This extracurricular/holiday experience taught me the value of teamwork, improved my ability to communicate, and gave me crucial insight into the world of data analytics.”
You could also look at it from another perspective:
“In Grade 11, I took part in a career exploration and micro-internship programme in Digital Marketing which not only taught me skills I still use today, it also helped me understand that Data Analytics wasn’t the career for me. The next term, I was able to take part in another programme in Data Analytics which is where I really found my passion. It is because of the real-world experience that I am applying to study Data Analytics today.
Remember, applications are read and vetted by real humans who want to understand where you come from and how you plan to get where you’re going. Describing your experiences exploring your options gives them an insight into your personality, your tenaciousness, and your willingness to learn, as well as the likelihood of your succeeding in your chosen course of study.
When you reach the interview stage, it can be daunting to try to explain your school experience in a way that helps you to stand out. Your real-world experience is one great way to do just that. Some common questions could include:
For the question "Why do you want to study this subject?" you could use your iX LaunchPad course to frame the conversation.
"In Grade 11, I took part in several career exploration courses which included a micro-internship portion. After learning all about data analytics from an industry professional, we tackled a real business problem and I really felt I understood what working in data analytics might be like. It was so exciting to have that experience and made me even more sure that I want to be a data analyst."
"What achievement are you most proud of?" could also be framed in terms of your iX LaunchPad experience. Taking an intensive career kickstarting bootcamp during the school term or the holidays is something to be proud of. It shows your commitment to figuring out your path after school, which is a great attribute to share with interviewers.
"In my school holidays, I used my time to take a career exploration programme in Data Analytics. Although it meant less downtime for me during the break, I was determined to explore this in-demand career path. It can be hard to find ways to learn about careers outside of those my parents work in, so when my school offered this experience, I grabbed it."
Framing is key when it comes to talking about your experiences. College and university interviewers are primarily assessing your likelihood of success at their institution. If you can show that you are educated in the field already, have shown interest in the career, and have had a taste of what working in the field is like, that's a great way of showing that you are already primed for success.
Support your own college application and apply for our iX LaunchPad Data Analytics programme that kicks off on February 21 2023. This four week extracurricular programme will take students through data handling, from sourcing and cleaning to analysing and extracting insights, right through to visualising your insights. Paired with a micro-internship in environmental science, this is sure to be an experience worth having.