Spike Series – Programming, Hackathons, and FIRST Robotics

CollegeAdvisor.com (formerly Bullseye Admissions) presents its spike series webinar on Programming, Hackathons, and FIRST Robotics in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with a Bullseye advisor. Our presenter will share their insider perspectives on how to develop an application spike in this area and how they applied successfully to colleges with this spike. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!

Date 10/18/2020
Duration 56:07

Webinar Transcription

2020-10-18 Spike Series – Programming, Hackathons, and FIRST Robotics

[00:00:00] [00:01:00] Hey welcome everyone to another presentation in the spikes series for Bullseye college admissions. Today, we’re going to be specifically focusing on Programming Hackathons and FIRST Robotics. But before we begin, just to give enough people some time to, to join the webinar, we’re going to wait until 8 0 2 to start.

So in the meantime, if you just want to sit back and relax, we’ll get started in a bit. A minute or two.[00:02:00]

All right. Cool. And get started. So my name is Amanda, and I’m really excited to be presenting to you guys today. Another event in our psych series with Bullseye college [00:03:00] admissions. And today we’re going to focus on programming hackathons and first robotics. So throughout the presentation, if you guys have questions, you can feel free to post your questions in the Q and a, and then after we get through my part of the presentation, we’ll go into Q and a mode where I’ll try to answer all of your guys’ questions.

And if we don’t have time, I’ll give you guys my email in the end. So you can get in touch with me if you have any more questions. So begin with a little bit about myself. As I mentioned, my name is Amanda and I am a current student at MIT. I finished up my bachelor’s degree requirements in June of 2020, just last semester.

And I am currently in my first semester of the master’s program at MIT studying cybersecurity. And in my free time, of course, when the pandemic is not happening, I love to ski in the winter time, see Broadway musicals all year round. And I also really love mentoring students because I had a lot of [00:04:00] help growing up myself from mentors who are older than me.

So I’m always looking to pass on their advice to other students a little bit about the college process that I went through. I knew I wanted to major in some form of engineering, not I wasn’t exactly sure which part of engineering until my senior year. But I applied to a lot of different engineering schools and I was accepted to most of them that I applied, including MIT Cornell, which were my reach schools, Northeastern and WPI, and then a lot of other good engineering schools in the Northeast.

And the primary extracurriculars that I had on my application were in programming, different hackathons that I had done. And I, a big part of my high school experience was first of all,

So as far as the advice that I can give you guys when it comes to programming, doing different hack-a-thons and of course, first robotics is that throughout the whole process, teamwork is so important finding [00:05:00] teammates who you want enjoy working with and are good teammates with, meaning you always give each other credit and you have similar.

Yeah. It is really important because you need people who will support you throughout this process. Programming doing hackathons. First of all, it’s not easy. So you really need to have a good support network. Another thing that oftentimes people get their heads wrapped around is winning in competition.

Winning is pretty cool. I w to be honest, it’s not the main priority that you guys should have your main priority when doing these types of things should be learning about what you are passionate in. Because once you know what you’re passionate in, once I found out that I was really passionate about cybersecurity, nothing can stop you from taking that next step in your life and pursuing that passion.

And if you’re passing. Work won’t seem like work will seem like fun and you’ll never want to stop. And the more time you put into it, the more [00:06:00] innovation, the more excitement and the more things happen. And with those things come rewards and recognition. So it’s hard, but a big part of what I did when I was in high school is I found.

Who would support me in that process? Not only my friends and my parents, but also mentors from industry who had experienced the things that I was wanting to explore and pursue. And they sometimes they helped me debugging my code. Sometimes they helped me brainstorm an idea for an app that I released before applying to colleges, or sometimes it was all of the above.

And I would just go to them when I had a technical issue of some sort that they were the expert in. So finding mentors is really. And some places that you can look for mentors is on LinkedIn. Look, people up on LinkedIn who work at companies that do the things you’re interested in. Look people up on LinkedIn who majored in the major year that you’re wanting to concentrate in whether that’s computer science, [00:07:00] cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, whatever it may be in the programming world.

Look them up on LinkedIn. And also you can utilize the people that, even if they’re not computer science majors or software engineers or AI researchers. They probably know people who are, and they can connect you to. So whether that’s coworkers of your parents, whether that’s your neighbors, whether that’s coworkers of your neighbors, reach out to all the people that you know, and find those mentors, because those will be the most important thing that you can have at your rate.

No, as underclassmen, if any of you guys are not seniors first off, great job getting at this. At your your age. What I would recommend is explore a lot of different areas. Try things. Because how I found my passion in cybersecurity was trying things out. I tried out a software engineering internship.

I’ve tried out artificial intelligence research. [00:08:00] I tried out just pure programming. I tried out a different machine learning internships, and then I tried out cyber security and that’s when I knew that’s what I’m into. So the more you try things out, the more data points you have to go according to in what gets you up in the morning.

Cause ultimately. If you’re going to be majoring in this, you’ll have a lot of assignments to do in college, which will be a lot of work. And if you end up doing this for your career, you’re going to be working for 40 plus years. So you’ll need to kneel. You’ll need to find something that you enjoy. So try a bunch of different things and figure out what excites you the most.

And then once you know what you’re excited about, develop time in your schedule to really get more experience with that, reach out to your mentor. And ask them what they recommend, reach out to people at companies that you want to get internships that or people at colleges that you want to go to ask them what they recommend and dedicate time to it.

So for upperclassmen though, you guys are a little [00:09:00] bit more close to applying to college. So when you’re filling out your applications, use your experience that you have in these technical areas to take on new leadership positions in the clubs you’re involved in. And when you take on these positions really have the mindset that you are going to make a difference in the organization that you’re involved in positive changes.

What I like to call that because there’s always room for a club to improve. There’s always a better place that you could get in a competition. There’s always new things that you can. And when you have a passion and a technical area, your passion can be contagious to other people. And once you get people aligned with your mission and rowing in the same direction as you, that’s, when you can create effective change and that’s what college is looking for.

And then additionally, another recommendation that I would have. [00:10:00] Is when you’re working on these technical activities, whether they’re doing your own projects, doing a hackathon, competing in a program in competition, participating in first robotics and going to the FRC regionals, for instance, document everything. What I would recommend specifically is make two kinds of summaries. First is a summary that will be able to, when you actually apply for colleges, refresh. On the specific technical things that you needed to do for that activity or project, right? Write down what programming languages you use.

Write down what libraries you imported into your code, write down what algorithms you use and what the runtime was for those algorithms. Write down all of these different things, such that if you do need to reference the technical material someday, you will have it all in one place. And then additionally it’s great that you understand all of that technical detail of what you were doing, not everybody does.

And certainly the people that are admissions [00:11:00] officers reading your college applications. It probably didn’t major in computer science if I had to guess. So they won’t understand what you meant, what you mean when you say that you see that you use looks at convolutional neural networks, right? That was no cool.

Instead, what you’ll want to use is you’ll want to use generic terms that they would understand such as saying I used machine learning to be able to match input data without results, on whatever type of project you’re working on, whether it be medical or, sports predictions or whatever it may be.

Use generic terms that admissions officers can understand and stuff when you’re actually. Right after you have an experience or when you’re in the moment of it, for instance, during the first robotics season, right? A non-technical version of that too, that the admission officer can understand, or the way I always liked the tempo, I always like to think of is if I were to give this paper to my history teacher, would he or she understand what I just said?

If the answer is yes, [00:12:00] Revise it a little bit such that your history teacher can understand it. And that way admissions officers will completely understand how big of an impact and what exactly you did without getting into the technical details.

So going back to my individual experience. So when I was applying to colleges, I had I had done a couple of hackathons. I participated in first robotics all throughout high school, and I had found a dentist in person. And my senior year, and I really included all of these experiences in my personal statement.

I included them in any essays that revolved around my activities, depending on which application I submitted. I also made sure to mention some of this. I think that we’re, that were asked about how you impacted your community? Because I took my passion for computer science and did a lot of things with my community, such as mentoring middle school and elementary school girls, or lead leading a new [00:13:00] initiative in the area.

And then also remember that when you’re applying to schools, oftentimes it’s a bi-directional interview that takes place. While the admissions committee is wanting to see, okay you have been fit for this university. You’re also wanting to make sure that the university is a good fit for you.

So when you’re going through those essays about why do you want to attend Carnegie Mellon, or why do you want to attend MIT? Or why do you want to attend Harvard or whichever schools you’re applying to make sure to mention your experience. And that’s what I did. And it led to a lot of success for me.

And then specifically regarding the. If you have a lot of different technical activities that you did try to avoid repetition because repetition while it’s great and really indicates that how deeply passionate you are about one area, it might not necessarily be utilizing the whole application to its advantage.

So find a different point about each of your [00:14:00] activities to put in each let’s say activity section in the common app or. Each essay on the MIT application or whatever it may be and make sure to indicate to the level of the severity level that activity had about your passions. What did you get from doing this project?

What was the impact that first robotic pet on your life? What was your favorite part about developing this app? Whatever it may be, make sure to put your personal touch. In your essay response. And again, same thing, as I said before, when we’re writing all of this down and documenting our activities for ourselves, the whole purpose, why we want to write that second summary that our history teacher can read is because we can’t get too technical in our applications for admissions officers.

So make sure you don’t get too technical in your writing because then admissions officers may even be turned off by it and not even reveal the activity. So make sure not to be too tight.[00:15:00]

So outside of essays, remember that you have a lot of different opportunities to tell the admissions officers how passionate you are and the impact that you have. So resumes are one example of that. So basically when you’re writing your resume for the purpose of college applications, usually you want to highlight the awards that you got individually.

For first robotics. A common question that I did is my team won the chairman’s award. Should I put it on there? If you had a direct impact, if you were, let’s say the awards captain and you applied for chairman’s award and you did all the work then yeah, definitely put it on there and indicate that you were the one that did the work.

But if it’s just, if you were, let’s say a member of your first robotics team on the programming, And you, the work that you didn’t necessarily directly contribute to winning the chairman’s award, that’s more of a team award rather than an individual work versus the first Dean’s list [00:16:00] award. That’s an individual word.

So by, by far, put that on your application, if you do win that award. So highlight the awards that you individually contribute to either individual awards or that you have an individual impact on protein. And then also, if you do have the opportunity to get a job in a technical industry, either an internship or a job with a local it company, or even volunteering and not getting paid for it, put those on there because those are mighty impressive for college admissions officers.

So underclassmen, if you have the opportunity to get those opportunity, or if you have the opportunity to get those internships or technical things, Definitely searched for them, because that would be my recommendation because it’s a really strong part of the application. And then on the resume, you might want to go into a little bit more technical detail.

So at the languages that you use, add the library that you are important to your code, add the runtime for the algorithms that you use are [00:17:00] designed because your resume is eventually going to turn into your college resume and on your college resume for internships. You definitely want to have the technical detail.

Here, you can see an example with a hackathon project. So this is not my direct experience with just a made up one. But so for instance, here in the Sequoyah mine hackathon in March of 2020, someone built an SMS based platform. So technical detail, right? Their SMS based bot. May to help hospitals handle the burden of exponential patient flux.

So right there, they state the impact that they have. Because the impact well, while it’s cool, what TA what the technical details involved, admissions officers also want to hear the impact. And so do companies when you’re applying for internships and then they went on to describe how they did that.

So by remotely connecting users to healthcare providers for triage, and always make sure to give credit to other people. So don’t say that this was an [00:18:00] individual activity, unless you were the only one that did it. That’s why I always recommend for chairman’s award or team-based awards and row.

Don’t necessarily say, it’s your word because it’s not only your award, it’s the team’s award and you would need to make sure to highlight that on your application. You can see a lot of other examples here, but you always want to provide enough detail, but not too much detail. The golden rule that I use is that a resume is supposed to give somebody enough insight, such that they want to ask you additional questions about the activity or experience.

Don’t don’t throw away anything, but throw don’t throw out anything on your resume, but make sure to put in there enough to capture them, to capture their attention. And if any of you want help with your resume, you can always get in touch with the bulls-eye advisor about that.

So another thing is activity lists. So if you have a lot of different. [00:19:00] Oftentimes, if you have too many activities to fit in the limit, whether that’s for activities to the mic application or 10 activities for the common app or whatever it may be, then you can all, you can oftentimes combine different projects together into one activity spot.

So for example, saying made web apps with teams, right? And then in the description section, they mentioning which different apps you actually make. That can be a really great way to still indicate to the admissions officer. I have a ton of experience making web applications, but be able to use the application to your advantage and not have to take up.

Let’s say 1, 2, 3, 3 different activities sections in the common app for your or your MIT application for interview preparation. Oftentimes if you do have interviews, especially on my TN. They will ask you, tell me about a technical project that you did. So my recommendation with this is be ready to [00:20:00] give them a 32nd elevator pitch, the name and the name as the name implies an elevator pitch is supposed to be a pitch that you give them in time for when somebody gets on the elevator and by the time they get off, your pitches is done.

So cover the who you were working with, what you were actually doing when and where this topic. And then how that actually took place and why you were motivated. And again, you the interview questions are meant to get interviewers, to ask more clarifying and follow on questions. So you want, you don’t necessarily want your answer to be a 10 minute monologue about this one project, but you want it to capture their attention and get them interested in asking those clarifying questions that will excite them.

And then one really important thing to do. What do you do for college applications or not? Or if you wait until you get to college, and if you ended up majoring in computer science and going for software engineering or AI or a [00:21:00] technical field is making a personal website and documenting your code on GitHub.

When you create a get hub account, you’ll be able to create different repositories for each project and committing your code. Is something that every single software engineer, if you were to ask them, they would say, yeah, I commit my code at the end of every single day. So getting into these habits early on is a really useful thing.

And it doesn’t necessarily take that long. There are templates out there to make your personal website and get have is just about creating an account and then learning how to commit your code. And I would say you can do that in a matter of a week.

So at this point, we’re going to go into a poll. So I’m curious to hear. Which activities are you guys mostly involved in? So I’ve opened the poll there. If you guys can put in there, which activity you guys are mostly involved it. Be curious to see that we’ll give you guys about 30 seconds to fill up.[00:22:00]

Looks like first robotics is coming in with the strong winds. So far,

we got 60% of you guys saying that you’re involved with first year.

All right. Very cool. So it looks like first robotics in first with with programming, an independent project, taking a close second place. So that’s amazing. All right. So as far you guys might be wondering, okay, these sound like amazing things that we’ll be able to do. Before or in the midst of applying to college, but how will I get involved with all of these things?

There are so many different programming opportunities. Not only can you create your own projects, [00:23:00] think about an area of your life that you would be happier with. If something was improved about it, that detects a problem that technology could solve. But there are all these different programming opportunities that you can get involved with you’ll you guys will be able to receive the floods.

This is don’t feel like you have to take a screenshot or copy this or anything like that. But there’s so many different opportunities involved throughout the U S and the world that you can get that you can get involved with. So be sure to take advantage of them for hackathon opportunities. The site that I go to most often is hackle.

Although some of them. Is dev post and then major league hacking majorly packing is mostly for college hackathons. So if there are in the rare case that some college hackathons are accepting high school students, you could look on, MLH for that. But for hacker list, the really the reason why I would really recommend this is because you can actually filter out hackathons that are specifically for high [00:24:00] school students.

And that can be really easy because often. You’ll find all these hackathons that are available, but they might say you need to be 18 years old or older, or they might say you need to be enrolled in college to be able to participate in them. So with that said, you can actually filter out hackathons that are specifically for high schoolers, which can be really useful.

So first robotics opportunity if any of you guys are involved with first robotics, which it seems like a lot of. For sure there are plenty of oh, ships that you guys can apply for. There are scholarships that are designed for both the FTC league and the FRC league, as well as if you were involved in FLL junior, junior FLL before that, but there are way too many scholarships that do not get taken advantage of every single year.

I applied for a ton of them in senior year and I ended up actually getting one to MIT, which was really cool, but Again, college is expensive, but if you guys are involved [00:25:00] in these robotics opportunities, you make sure to take advantage of those scholarships that are available to you guys outside of first five, there are also some additional opportunities such as zero bar robotics, Rover race, and also vex robotics.

Although I didn’t necessarily do that myself, so I don’t know as much information about them, but you can definitely look them up. Yeah. All right, so we’ll go to another poll. So are you guys planning to take advantage of any of those opportunities that were mentioned?

Give you guys about 30 seconds to fill up the pool.

A bunch of people are saying yes, which is amazing.

All right. And we also got a couple of, no I’m already involved in these, which is amazing.[00:26:00]

All right. And it looks like we have a tie between yes. And maybe I’m still studying. So if you are still deciding what I would recommend is highly consider these because computer science, software engineering technology, that is a growing industry to this day, there are so many job opportunities and all you need to get involved with that.

The college degree in computer science or electrical engineering, or some form of engineering and these operations. Can not only give you a really good advantage in applying for those majors with college applications, but they can give you the experience themselves that companies are looking for and they can help you get internships early on when you’re in college.

So some of my final remarks to give you guys are, again, school clubs are a really awesome way to find teammates to participate in the projects that you ended up doing or the program. And if you find your [00:27:00] passion and you have opportunities, but these clubs take on leadership positions because they give you a lot of experience.

And college admissions officers are looking for leaders to join their campus because as a college admissions officer, your question is always, how will this person impact our campus? So they see that you’re a leader in high school. They will be thinking in their head, oh, they could probably be leading the robotics club on our campus too.

That would be pretty cool. I want this person to attend my college, but even if you don’t end up during the robotics club on campus, because you’re too busy with classes or research or whatnot, that’s always a question that admissions officers are asking themselves. If you don’t. This is probably the biggest piece of advice that I have for you guys.

If you guys don’t have these opportunities directly, do not let that stop. From finding those opportunities and forming them on your own. In my high school, I only had an FTC team [00:28:00] in my high school, but I really want him to get FRC experience. So what I did is I just stuck to a local FRC team in my area and asked, Hey, I don’t go to your school district, but would you mind accepting outside of school students?

And they said, yeah, sure. I love that idea. You’re welcome to join the team. And I was involved in both FRC and SPC. But had I not really taken the initiative myself, I wouldn’t have had the FRC experience, which is very different from the FTC experience. So do not stop, do not let the opportunities that you don’t have directly available to you, stop you from forming them yourself, because that is ultimately going to be an even more powerful thing to show on your application.

Is you creating those opportunities for yourself? Not just taking advantage of what you already have given. When you’re filling out your application to stand out among the other people, applying to those college to those colleges, make sure you discuss your projects, not too technical, but [00:29:00] to enough degree to make the admissions officers understand the significance of what you accomplished.

Talk about what your learning experience was, what things did you learn and what lessons did you take away from that experience? And among all of these, the biggest thing that you want to indicate is your passion and your drive when it to choose the word you use on your application and very carefully, because admissions officers can tell the difference.

If it’s, let’s say if it’s the written equivalent to someone saying I was involved in first robotics and my school was a really cool activity. I love the experience that I learned. Versus first robotics was my life in high school. I dedicated so many countless hours to that activity and I am so thankful that my mentors were able to teach me a lot of different concepts from machine learning, to coding, to, different data sets.

In Java, right? The difference of the words that you use can make the difference of verbally. What you guys just heard from me right there. [00:30:00] Someone who’s really passionate and who really enjoys the activity versus someone who shrugs their shoulders and says, yes, it was just mom. Them, activities are cool, but not the majority of my life.

So make sure to convey your passion. Also remember to balance the technical needs. With the bigger picture of your activity and make sure that when you’re talking about these activities, go through many reflections and talk about what your experience was and what you learned from it. Not just learn as far as technical details, but learned as far as what did you learn about yourself?

Because if you’re able to personally reflect on yourself, that’s a really good skill that college admissions officers will. And you might be thinking I won’t really be able to get awards in these activities, but awards are great, but they’re not necessary to stand out. So many students that I know at MIT, they didn’t get an award for their activities, but they did learn something personal from it.

And they did have a project to put on their [00:31:00] resume at the end of the day. So you don’t need a word. Your contributions are way more important than your words or your teams or. But make sure if you do let teams awards, make sure you clearly outline it as a team award rather than an individual one, because that could be crossing the ethical boundary right there.

All right. So at this point, we’re going to go into Q and a mode. So I see that there are a couple of questions that were posted in the Q and a. So I’m going to start answering them. And feel free to put more questions in the Q and a as time goes on. So for your the first question is for your internships, where, and how did you apply?

So for internships in my senior year, I applied based on, I actually ended up going to an early college program at Carson university called the Clarkson school. I’m happy to talk with any of you about that experience, but I was, I had access to Clark [00:32:00] university’s career. So I ended up talking to those companies at the career fair, and that’s how I found my first sophomore engineering internship.

I made my resume stand out. And then I also developed an elevator pitch that I really impress the recruiter with, which I found out later on once I got the internship offer and talked with her later that summer. But I’d say apply to a lot of opportunities. And what would have got, gotten me way more opportunities is if I utilize the network that I was exposed to talk to your parents, they probably know something.

Who’s working at a tech company or internet industry that you want to get experienced with, and if they can connect you, that could make the difference. And it doesn’t need to be a paid internship. It could be a volunteer internship, so never be afraid to get more active.

All right. Again, feel free to post questions. We don’t have any more questions at this moment. But if you guys, do you have any feel free to post in the Q and a tab and we’ll get around to answering them [00:33:00] for now in the meantime though? Nope. We have another question. What type of community service did you do that reflected your passion in stem?

Yeah, that’s a really good question. So what I did for my what I put for my community service response to the MIT application, and also listen to me in the additional info section on the card. Was the fact that I had mentored about six different FLL and junior FLL girls teams at my school, because that was something that I didn’t necessarily have exposure to at when I was in middle school and elementary school.

And it makes the difference. If you expose people to stem and spark their passion at an early age, rather than at a later. So I got involved as a lead mentor for my middle school and elementary school girls, robotics teams, and went in to see them every week, helped them with their robot design and do really cool things such as giving them a little 3d printed name tags, for instance.

So that was something that I definitely don’t regret doing because to this day, not only [00:34:00] did it help my application clearly, but it also just gave me a lot of personal pride. So summer camps list There wasn’t a direct question with that but yeah, definitely consider doing different summer camps in the industry.

Whether it is camps that are sponsored by companies or MIT has a lot of Ivy tech camps. So you can look into those as well then also feel free to. Look up different robotics, plants and camps as well. If you’re participating in robotics. And if you’re interested in that, but summer camps can be a really good way to take that first step, especially if you’re an underclassmen to take that first step and find what exactly you’re passionate.

Be a good chance to get an in-depth small an in-depth experience for a small amount. All right. Internships for grades 10, 11, and 12 available. Yes. There are internships for grades 10, 11, and 12 available. They’re not as many because most internships are targeted at college students for the purposes of hiring.[00:35:00]

But I know Microsoft has an early internship for high school students and their senior year. I know that some other companies are able to offer internships that are on. Again, internships seem seems as it seems that people have this idea that internships need to be paid. That’s not at all true internships.

You can do work at a university or do work at a company while not getting paid. And I can give you a really valuable sense, the experience. Again, reach out to your network, ask your parents if they know anybody that works in the it office at their company or at the, at a tech company. And if they.

To ask them to get it, to get in touch with them. And once you can get in touch with them, they’ll see how amazing you are. And hopefully something will come out. An opportunity will come from them. All right. Another question. If we got an award at the district competition for FTC and another one in the state competition in the same season, do we need to [00:36:00] include both as separate awards or in the honor section?

It depends on what type of award you are talking about. If you’re talking about the Dean’s list award, specifically, the differences you mentioning, if you are a Dean’s list semifinalists, which is at the district level or a Dean was finalist, which is at the state level. So if you are a Dean’s list, finalists, you’ll mention Dean’s list finalists and your honors and awards.

If you are a Dean’s list, semifinalists, you mentioned Dean was semifinals and the honors and awards, but that is for individual awards, which is the Dean’s list. For things like the inspire award or for the engineer’s notebook award, for instance, that are team-based awards. Be careful on putting those in the award section because, Hey, you, weren’t the only one that did work to get those awards, the whole team was, and that can be crossing the yes.

Colon on whether or not you were the one that solely did the work there. And admissions officers do know about first robotics or there’s an assigned admissions officer that does, and that’s to look over your [00:37:00] application. Because they are knowledgeable about first robotics and the details of the competition, they will be able to know, oh, this person says they got the engineers award, but their team really got the award.

It’s not them directly. These are all good questions. Keep them coming. Yeah. In the meantime I’m going to put an offer in on the screen for you guys. So you guys will have the opportunity to yep. Let’s see.

There you go. So you should see that offer pop up for you guys. So we do have a lot of subscriptions available at Baalbek that you guys can take advantage of. First off, we have the starter plan, which is $49 per month, and that’s our most affordable plan. And you can get one hour of advice. With a bulls-eye invol advisor, who’s trained to advise you guys and you can mess with an advisor of your choice, whether it’s an advisor you’re looking for, that goes to a specific school or an [00:38:00] advisor that is majoring in a specific major.

You can do that. And you can also cancel any time. There’s also the scholar plan, which is the exact same thing, except you get two hours per month of private advising instead of one. And with both of these plans, you are able to get in touch with other bulls-eye advisors. If you’re wanting to. On a one-time basis, someone from specific schools, you can get help with scholarship searching and financial aid.

You can talk about your application strategy and your college lists getting a certain number of safeties decents and reach or safety targets and reach. I always called them decents myself. But and then also when it comes to planning out your essay or building up your common app activities list, or building your resume for interviews or prepping for interviews the advisors can help you on all that.

All right. So we have about 15 to 20 more minutes for questions. So keep those questions coming. I want to make sure we have time to [00:39:00] answer all of your guys’ questions. So don’t hesitate to ask questions. You can also get in touch with me via email at the end as well, but let’s say we have a question here.

If we were. In FLL prior to high school and my team received a champion award should be include that only things we received in high school. So good. Two, two answers to that right there. First, if you were involved in first robotics before high school, But did not include did not continue first robotics.

I wouldn’t necessarily include first robotics on your application because generally admissions officers want to see activities from high school, not for middle school, but with that said, if you’re involved in FLL and then got went up levels into FRC or FTC, then you can definitely include that you were involved in first robotics for however many years you were, because that can be a really good thing because they want to see commitment to an activity.

So the more years you were doing. The more, the better, [00:40:00] because basically the rule that I use is admissions officers want to see everything from high school back if it was a continuous for the same period of time. So for instance, if you played piano and starting at age four and you still play piano, since they would love to see that.

But if you let’s say we’re playing. Another instrument from fifth grade up until eighth grade, but then stopped in high school to necessarily put that on there. So same thing with robotics. And the second thing is that, remember if your team wins an award seriously, consider whether or not that will help your application.

In my opinion, teen awards aren’t as useful as insights about what you specifically did to help the team get that award or individual wards, like the first team.

All right. If I was the engineering notebook, please, should I include the single word in the honor section? Also since the inspire awards is a team-based award, should [00:41:00] be completely not mentioned it in our application, if we can. Where should we? So this is expanding on what I said in the last question where if you are directly responsible for something, if you were the one that every day during class, Or during robotics meetings, you went around and asked every team at the end of the day, what they did.

And you wrote the engineering notebook and you were the only one that wrote the engineering notebook. Definitely put it on there. But if you weren’t necessarily the ones, if you were, let’s say the scouting captain or the programming captain or something like that, and your team won the engineering notebook, you didn’t necessarily contribute to that engineering notebook 100%.

So I would question whether or not it’s a good use of the space on your applicant. The fake award is maybe a different story because it’s a little bit more prestigious. Again, admissions officers are trained in first robotics on the when they’re looking through your applications. So they will know what the think award is.

But again, I think award [00:42:00] is really, it’s a team award. It’s not necessarily an individual award. So really think about what did you contribute to your team? To help them get think words, oftentimes when you’re describing it from patients, if you want to end the sentence with demonstrated by the fact that we won the team wars, or sorry, that demonstrated by the fact that we wanted to think award or the inspire award or whatever it is, you can say that you can do that as a validation metric that you include in your application, but you shouldn’t be claiming it entirely for yourself because that is crossing me up. What is a spike activity?

So a spike activity is just a very specific activity that shows the spike in your passion, through your application. These are all good questions here. We have about 15 minutes left. So you guys do have more questions. Keep them coming. Otherwise else we can end a little early as well. Again, you can always get in touch with Bullseye [00:43:00] advisors, including myself for an appointment or two.

If you want to purchase another package, you can select them as your man advisors.

All right. Since the inspire award is a team-based award, should be completely not mentioned it in our application, if we can. Where should where should we, so again, same thing that I mentioned the inspire award is a team-based award, so it’s not just, you. That gets the team, the inspire award.

So if you play a significant part in your team, for instance, you were the programming captain, or you were the scouting [00:44:00] captain, or you did the engineer’s notebook or whatever it may be, then you should mention, I was in charge of X, Y, and Z on the team. And we had a successful season demonstrated by the fact that we won the inspire award and made to read, made it to regional.

That could be an instance where you do mention. But you shouldn’t just mention in honors and awards inspire a worst because that isn’t entirely your award. So instead, how you could do that is you could mention it in the description of your activity. What stands out in robotics? This is a hard question.

I, again, there isn’t necessarily a golden formula to admissions, but definitely the individual first Dean’s list award is an attractive award to have on your applicant. I, if you can talk to your keen coach to nominate you for that would be great. But I would say what stands out on an application related to robotics is somebody who really demonstrates how [00:45:00] passionate they are about first robotics demonstrated by the fact that you have some that you have activity.

That you have first robotics in your activities, whether or not you list it. If you’re mentoring FLL junior FLL teams, whether or not you list that as a separate activity, that’s up to you. And I would recommend talking to your bulls-eye advisor about that to get some strategic insight. But what Devon’s what really stands out to admissions officers is people who want to explore computer science or programming or something related to the tech industry.

And they try first robotics and they end up leaving. And they properly described that in their application. So that’s the really important thing is make sure your passion stands out. It doesn’t necessarily need to be robotics. Isn’t the gold key that unlocks all admissions officers or that unlocks admission into all colleges or anything like that.

It’s just one of the ways that you can demonstrate passion, if that is what you’re passionate. This is a good question. I’m the only girl on [00:46:00] an all-boys robotics team. Is that something I should mention in my application? If so, how should I word it? I would say that is really based on your individual experience, if you are.

I shared the same experience that you have. That was my experience in high school too. I mentioned it just as a side. And, as the only girl on my team, I was often pressured into doing the finance things or the administrative tasks, but I really pushed myself to get involved in the technical aspects.

And I add the kid for myself. So using that as a really, as a side detail that can really iterate your main point about how you advocate for yourself or how gain self-confidence over time. That can be a good idea, but don’t necessarily make it the main point of your essay.

If you do write about, first of all, if you want to reach out to me via email, you can you can feel free to do that. And I’m happy to talk with you individually about this.

Again, all great questions that are coming here. So feel [00:47:00] free to keep that up.

So since we don’t have any questions yet coming in I’m going to start answering some of these. Pre panel questions that we prepared for this. So one question that I often get is if there are no hackathons near me, what are other alternatives to develop a spike in this area? So if there are no hackathons necessarily near you there are many hackathons that are virtually online that you can get involved in.

Mostly every hackathon nowadays is going to be virtual because of COVID. So if that’s the case, COVID is a good thing. It allows you to have more access to hackathons but never be [00:48:00] afraid to reach out to somebody if you know that they’re involved in organizing a hackathon, because likely if somebody involved in organizing a hotspot, they know all the other hackathon organizers around the area, or even in the country in some cases.

So utilize your network to get, to find those opportunities. Another question came in. How do I get in touch with you? Exactly. I’ll give you guys my email at the end of the presentation, and you can feel free to email me afterwards.

All right. So another question that we get is what is the best program or website to use to help me prepare myself? Does it see it in the future? Also? What, which programming languages best? So there is no one best programming language nor one best web. What I would recommend is go online to can be the ex.org.

They have tons of different programming classes that you can take in all different languages that you can imagine, but to prepare you [00:49:00] for a career in computer programming, there is not one language that you need to learn, or because everybody, every company, every software engineer, they use different languages.

The hardest part of learning how to program is learning that first line. Once, that first language, it’s a lot easier now that, let’s say Python, for instance, to look at C plus, and now that the basis of what exactly is involved in the programming language, there are different data types.

There are functions, there are classes, right? So functions have instructions that can be run right. Once you know the basics about coding, then you can really apply those. And it’s a lot of just syntax differences that you have. For instance semi-colons and curly brackets versus no Senate cones in curly breakfast.

Another question is what ages are these competitions open to? So these competitions are open to people of all different ages. It really depends on the competition that you’re getting involved in. And if you go online to the [00:50:00] website that is hosting the hackathon or something like. You, they, you can see what the restrictions are, if any, but hopefully nowadays there are programming competitions that are available.

Always get involved with certainly on edx.org. You can get involved with those classes at any age. Are we able to access the link for the PowerPoint presentation? We will be sending you the slides, the PowerPoint presentation.

Again, if you guys do have any other questions we have about five more minutes left for questions. So feel free to post them on Q and a and we’ll get them answered.

So another question that we get is how did I get into this field? How did I get involved in computers? I got involved in computer science through first robotics [00:51:00] and programming competitions in high school, which is why I wanted to present to you guys about that today, because that was my primary experience.

Another good question is also how highly do stem companies look upon teams on a first robotics team? There are internships specifically designed. For first robotics, high school students. So there’s a whole internship section in the first robotics website that you can go on and they tell you either they’re looking for first robotics to still be on your resume when you get into college or in some cases, they even have access for internships for high school students.

But it is a really useful thing because first of us did they. Competition, it’s not very easy. There’s a whole game that you have to dissect and then build a robot and a matter of however many weeks in your, if you’re an FRC or a couple of months, if you’re an FTC, so it’s a hard thing and [00:52:00] it teaches you valuable skills that are really sought out by industry companies.

All right. So at this point, if there are no other questions that you guys have. Again, if you do a question, feel free to post it in the chat. We’ll get them answered in the next seven minutes, but otherwise you can feel free to email me. There’s my email right there. Amanda dot H at join bulls-eye dot com.

You can get in touch with other bulls-eye advisors. You can just go on to join Bullvine dot com and there’s a list of all the advisors. That are available for you to talk to you can purchase if you haven’t yet purchase a bull’s eye package, you can just purchase an individual session with one of us.

Or if you do have a bulk buy package, you can feel free to reach out to any advisor in the whole bulls that network and use some of your hours with them. So again, I got my bachelor’s degree in, in ECS studying cyber security. If you’re interested in. And I was accepted to a lot of different engineering schools.

And the reason why I wanted to tell you guys about programming hackathons and first robotics is because [00:53:00] that’s what I did in high school. And it got me there. We have another question here. Is there a big difference between combining electrical engineering and our computer engineering between doing either of them as a major?

Yes. So computer engineering is all about hardware engineering. Electrical engineering is more pure electric Alaska electricity and magnetism and Gildan circuits and all that type of stuff. But computer engineering really looks at it from a low level systems, point of view, which can be very interesting.

And if you are interested in talking more about cybersecurity builds on top of computer engineering versus software engineering is all about coding. And so it was computers.

So next up, we’re going to have another spike series presentation on student government from Armand and Austin who are they are Monae graduated from U Penn and Austin. We’ll be on to Stanford next year after he takes his gap year. And again, thank you guys so much for attending this presentation and you can feel free to attend [00:54:00] any more of our spikes series events in October.