Summer Opportunities: Engineering and Mathematics
CollegeAdvisor.com presents its summer opportunity series webinars on Engineering and Mathematics in a 60-minute webinar and Q&A with college students and alumni. Our CollegeAdvisor panelist will share their insider perspectives on specific summer opportunities, how these opportunities impacted their college application, and how these experiences shaped their interests. Come ready to learn and bring your questions!
2021-04-21 Summer Opportunities – Engineering and Mathematics
[00:00:00] Hi, everyone. Welcome to CollegeAdvisor’s webinar on summer opportunities and engineering and mathematics. To orient everyone with the webinar’s timing, we’ll start off with the presentation, then answer your questions in the live Q and a. You can download our slides on the sidebar and you can start submitting questions in the Q and a tab.
Now let’s meet our panelists.
Uh, hi, y’all. My name is Austin Bennett. Um, I am a gap year student attending Stanford university next to oh well this fall. Um, and I’m hoping to study a combination of computer science and mathematics to go into cybersecurity and cryptography. Um, like many of you, um, I was just in the college process. I know how stressful it can be.
And oftentimes we’re really looking forward to kind of, how can I further develop my story for an application? And so the summers are often kind of like a missing piece between the two school years. So what we’re going to do in this session is kind of talk a little [00:01:00] bit about how can we bridge that gap and how can we show our passions for our subject in the summer and what opportunities may be available.
So, um, just start off with what summer programs in engineering and mathematics that I did in high school. Um, so first I competed in the SML, which is a Massachusetts, uh, math mathletes league. Um, that’s just the name of ours. Um, there’s pretty standard as a team league, so it’s not like, um, some of the more individual competitions you guys might know.
Um, the IME or the AMC. Uh, and so that was just as team events, um, simple rounds and it was team score. So it would go into playoffs and stuff, but primarily it was the SML. Um, and I was captain senior year for that. I also competed in the ACA ASL, which was, um, this is individual. Um, but that’s basically like a bunch of computer science and written computer science problems.
So, uh, you have to solve a programming prompt [00:02:00] and then actually do some discrete math, um, that has to do with programming. So like that can be logic gates, um, that can be like, uh, legacy systems that can be like, uh, Recursion kind of like tracing that out. So structures that you often see in programming.
Um, and that was kind of where, um, some of my words were, um, I got to go to the nationals, which was pretty cool with my, uh, with a group from my school. We did not do very well, but it was still fun. Um, and third, I included this just because for me, this was kind of a engineering Matthew, um, act like extracurricular.
Uh, I competed as a trivia team main. So for trivia team, for those who don’t know, some people call it Quizbowl some people call it scholar. Um, basically, it’s like, you can think of it as like jeopardy, but in teams. Um, and a lot of high schools have one. There’s a huge, um, there’s a huge, uh, organization for high school.
It’s called NAA cutie. Um, and I believe actually colleges. Um, I’m not certain though. [00:03:00] Uh, and they run these huge crystals all over the country. So actually, if you think about getting a team, definitely get a team together. And I was the mathematics. Well, two of my specialties were mathematics and CS, so I would have to study a lot about CS history and also some concepts in mathematics to kind of be able to name a prompt.
And I was captain for senior year for that. Um, and lastly for the extracurriculars, um, I held an internship at my school it office, where I, uh, programmed a website for them. Um, cause the old one was really cursed and outdated, so I kind of created a new one for them and also just help with general it setup.
Um, and I also worked at the MIT Whitehead Institute, which is their bioinformatics and bio confrontation center. Um, and well, sorry, that was the lab I worked in. It’s more biology mainstream, but I worked in the bioinformatics and research computing lab, uh, where I mainly made tools for data analysis for, uh, biologists to do research.
And now turning to the academic side. Um, for two years I [00:04:00] attended Carnegie Mellon’s pre college program, uh, for sophomore and junior year. Uh, it used to be called APA. Now I believe it’s called summer session. Um, and basically what they do is they actually take the undergraduate courses from their first year and they condense them from 15 weeks to six weeks.
But then you take two instead of five, so that you’re taking these courses on an accelerated schedule. It’s very nice because. You get academic credit for them. So when you go, if you participate in the program and you get a high enough grade to where it can transfer, um, you can actually send that to colleges and get transfer credit for it, which is really nice.
It’s also just great. Um, for a lot of reasons, I really liked it, highly recommend it. Um, we’ll talk a little bit more about that in the future, uh, future slides. Um, and in freshman year, um, I actually petitioned the math department with my friend Sansa to, um, take a course, Norma met for sophomores to get them on a higher math schedule, uh, to let us do it so that we could just run it off, study math because we’re nerds.
That’s [00:05:00] pretty fun. Um, and so I did that, my, uh, freshmen, freshmen summer going into my sophomore year. So, how did I find out about these opportunities? Sophomore question, not like rough lacking because obviously there’s a ton of opportunity out there, but how do you actually find it? Um, so for tribute team athletes and the NCSL, um, these were school sponsored activities.
So normally your best friend and finding stem activities, uh, is through the school itself, um, schools and school districts, and even regional districts sometimes often have really interesting activities that you can pursue. So don’t just think to your immediate school, think a little bit outside the box there too.
Um, cause oftentimes you can find these programs. So, um, for trivia and team and mathletes, that’s pretty selective in my school. So I did have to try out for those, but the ACL that was actually, we actually did those in class. Um, so I just directly joined it for that. Um, for the it office internship was kind of word of mouth at my school, um, that they were meeting this and it happened every summer.
They always hired people. So, um, [00:06:00] I basically just had to interview and I was tasked with building a website for them. It was pretty fun. I did it for about a month before I left for Carnegie Mellon my junior year. Um, definitely enjoyed it. Highly recommend if you’re looking into kind of the CS side, there’s a lot of, um, it office internships because.
People often do need help with computers. So you can kind of find that work in a lot of different places, so definitely reach out. Um, and so the summer course, um, as I mentioned previously, it’s usually meant for sophomores, uh, who started out, uh, who started freshman year in algebra one to get to calculus by their senior year.
Um, but I conditioned math department with my friend to see if we can do it our freshmen summer. Uh, so we could take multivariable calculus, uh, my senior year, which was really fun. Um, it was great. It was like a four person class throughout the summer, as long as accelerated schedule. Um, and I actually do, if you’re thinking about doing this, um, opportunity at all, a lot of school districts [00:07:00] actually offer this.
So you can reach out to, um, your department heads at school and see if they do that. Um, and normally, and if not, um, it’s, it’s pretty common. So this is like one of the more common options. So definitely. I regretted, I understand voluntary summer school is probably not everyone’s cup of tea. So, um, and Carnegie Mellon pre college, it was literally a Google search for me.
Um, I looked up summer computer science programs, I believe. Uh, and that was one of the first ones that came up. Um, and I applied, I got it. And it was awesome. It was really transformative for me as a programmer and a student, um, in a ton of ways I’ll explain later, of course. Um, but yeah, Google search can kind of be your best friend because Google knows like what people from your time and may not.
Um, so you can find opportunities all over the country. So, um, how can I find these opportunities? Um, the 10 club fairs, talk to your teachers, um, teachers are often faculty advisors for clubs, so they can really give you a good sense of that. Like, oh, I know [00:08:00] this teacher does this club. That’s actually how I found trivia team.
Um, or they might put you in the club themselves, um, or you can start your own. Uh, this kind of gets overlooked. A lot of people believe. That you’re kind of limited to the clubs that are at your school. Um, but reach out to your school student government, because oftentimes, um, they will let you create a club.
So if you’re really interested in like a niche area of stem, let’s say like Marine biology, for example, I want to create a Marine biology club. That’s something you could try to do at your school. So that’s a good opportunity. Um, and for summer organization, well summer opportunities. Um, of course there’s a lot of local opportunities, like for example, it office internship for me.
Um, but also think outside your immediate community. Um, there’s a whole world out there. There’s a ton of online organizations. Um, this can be classes. These can be, uh, volunteer opportunities. These can be jobs that you then, especially since a lot of jobs are virtual now, um, or these can be summer programs, um, like the Carnegie Mellon program.
Just, I would encourage to think like, Hey, like [00:09:00] this whole world out there, why don’t you go to the park? It’s nice. Um, so describe a normal day in these programs. So I’m going to focus on the summer programs as opposed to, um, let just the others. Uh, so there is summer geometry. Um, it’s posed the job, sorry.
Um, which was three hours a day for six weeks. Um, I actually held a job as a camp counselor to fit around, um, that course not sorta my insider’s quite nice. Um, and so, yeah, uh, it was involved so studying, um, a little bit throughout the week, but it was a pastel class, so it wasn’t super intense. Um, and for Carnegie Mellon pre college, it’s actually six week sleep away program there.
So you actually stay in the dorms at Carnegie Mellon. Um, and there were the undergraduate classes on an accelerated schedule. As I mentioned, they went from 15 weeks to six weeks, but it went at three, uh, sorry, five half’s pace because of that. So, um, that actually often meant that you had two to [00:10:00] three lectures or recitations, which I’m not familiar with.
That is, that’s like a, kind of like a smaller group study session for, um, a for stem classes, uh, labs are also kind of similar. Um, and so those, and also I’d say probably about four to five hours of homework. In addition to the classes average first year, it was really only like three, but my second year was like seven.
So it, um, It can really vary, um, maybe like six, uh, but, uh, yeah, and they, so a lot of times you’d be doing that. You’d also, um, maybe go to office hours. Um, so hugely, hugely helpful. Um, I would go see my professors all the time, uh, cause they’re interesting people and also just to get help on assignments because it’s really helpful.
Um, and also there were, uh, occasional programs sponsored in that. So a lot of these programs have granted, I virtually this will be somewhat limited, but for in-person ones, um, they often do have some events like, uh, they always would go to a movie [00:11:00] theater, um, and an amusement park at this place that I went to.
Um, so I did go my first year. I actually skipped to do work my second year. Um, but you can take advantage of those two. So they’re not like an everyday thing. They’re maybe like a once a week thing. And that was the case here. Um, but I think take advantage of those because they can be really fun and like a nice, welcome stuff.
You break from the program. So. How did participating in these programs affect my college application. Okay. So this affected it in a few ways. I’ll break it down by the program. So summer geometry allowed me to accelerate my math curriculum, um, and it allowed me to take more advanced classes in school. Um, so first this allowed me to take multi-variable calculus my senior year, which was really fun.
Um, and it also made me a better math lead. So I have scored higher because I had better exposure to some subjects. Um, so if you’re in mathletes and you’re thinking about doing something like this, definitely, definitely do it. Um, and it also allowed me to take AP [00:12:00] sciences earlier. So like chemistry and chemistry is a soft, uh, calculus concurrent requirement.
And AP physics does have a calculus requirement. Um, AP physics, C, sorry. Um, and so by taking calculus BC earlier, I was able to do those classes earlier, which was nice. Um, and it just allowed me greater flexibility. My school. Uh, it also showed a intellectual vitality. So if you are familiar with this term, this is basically, um, the general term to describe how much do you actually like your subject when you’re applying to college show can show that you’re passionate about what you want to study.
And that’s really important in your college process, because as you kind of create the story around like, Hey, this is who I am, this is why I want to apply. This is why I want the program. Having a piece like this, where you can be like in this shows, I want to study it like we are in writing. We always say show don’t tell show, don’t tell on your college application.
This can kind of show that, Hey, I really, really liked the subject cause I’m volunteer voluntarily, doing extra time in it. [00:13:00] Um, so definitely recommend that. So for the Carnegie Mellon pre college, um, this helped me, I think, more so, um, in a few ways as well, a few different ways. So, um, taking undergraduate classes helped me prove myself academically.
So you actually get a letter grade in these classes and it transfers you actually get a GPA from this course specifically, um, which like the classes transfer as long as you have a C or above. Um, and so it kind of helped me prove, um, that I could handle the rigor of a, a tough course load, which is important when you’re applying to selective schools.
Um, just because like they’re selective and difficult. So it’s, it’s really important, um, that you can kind of show that and you don’t by no means, do you need to do one of these programs? Um, but it can definitely help you, um, in terms of shelter, Uh, and secondly, uh, skills aren’t in classes helped me with the ASL and with getting jobs.
So, um, typically high school. So I took, uh, just for reference to computer science courses, a math course and a statistics course. [00:14:00] Um, so the computer science courses covered kind of, uh, more topics than a high school curriculum. So I’m willing to go up to AP computer science in high school, which is more of like a language and structure class.
Cause you go through object oriented programming, but the classes were faced more on algorithms and like memory. I’m not gonna go into that, but it was like more, um, skills that were necessary for industry. So like learning how to code, um, by proving correctness, like learning how to write very fast code learning, how to write clean code, um, as well as just learning some theory about computer science.
So definitely helped me with getting jobs and also for the ACS cell cause the ACS cell, um, at the national level. Okay. Occasionally at the pre national level, um, has some more difficult programming algorithms, um, that are not, you’re not gonna get exposure to in a standard AP CS class, like recursive backtracking specifically.
Um, so I actually learned how to do that in one [00:15:00] of these courses. So that helped me, um, become a really good ACS cell solver and a place in nationals. So definitely helped me there. Um, and I actually had a really good connection with one of my professors from Carnegie mountain, always going to office hours.
She was awesome, loved her. Um, and she wrote me a recommendation for Carnegie Mellon. Um, and I definitely think that helped me with the process. Um, and yeah, so that, that can be another thing. So if you’re looking for an external rec, um, like a third recommendation, this can be a really good idea. Um, just because it can kind of additionally show your passion in the field and also show you that you can relate to professors as well.
So, uh, and lastly, uh, it helped confirm that math slash computer science is what I want. Um, this can’t be said enough, people often have this idea of what they want to study, but they’re not actually sure about it. So getting experience to either through classes or through a job, um, can really help you determine, Hey, this is what I want to be doing with my life.
So these classes definitely helped me [00:16:00] confirm that I wanted to study math and computer science. Um, and for that reason, I just, I think they were instrumental in kind of choosing that as a major. Um, well obviously I declare my major, but on applying, um, it kind of helped me confirm that I didn’t really second guess myself, which can be really helpful.
So. What programs and engineering and mathematics did you do in college? So, um, I actually took a gap year, so I’m going to be speaking on the programs I did after high school and what I’ve done with this time. Um, so for the senior project, which at my school is like a one and one half month, uh, kind of block where they just cut out your senior year and you’re going to do something.
Um, I worked at the Whitehead Institute at MIT. Um, I worked at the bioinformatics and research computer labs specifically, which focuses on, uh, computational biology. So a lot of my work, uh, consisted of kind of making these tools, uh, to amalgamate and sort data, uh, normally genetic data, [00:17:00] uh, which was actually used by the scientists at the Whitehead, which was kinda cool.
Um, it was kinda like, uh, one of the, it was like a software wing up there. So we would develop tools that’s actually used on other parts of the Whitehead Institute in shot. Um, I also took a certificate course on cryptocurrency from MIT, which was really fun. Uh, loved it. It was very interesting class. Um, and I participated in a lot of computer science challenge platforms, uh, HackerRank and project Oilers specifically.
So, um, quick description of both of these, because I know a lot of your, probably computer science people. Um, they’ll just quick plug for both of these because I think they’re great. Great, great opportunities. If you’re looking for something to fill time, um, hacker rank is more professional, so they actually will test you in specific areas.
So like languages and also algorithms. Um, there’s also a lot of learning apps. So then with those certificates, you can get recruited by, um, companies, uh, or just try out some challenge problems. They’ve got a lot, it’s a great interface. [00:18:00] And, um, yeah, it’s, it’s very cool. Um, and project oil is kind of more of a niche one, but I love it.
Project oiler is kind of like computer science, but also has a map tilt. So you often have to think about how you can represent problems in mathematics. So a lot of the problems based around prime numbers, certain like orderings of numbers. Different possibilities. Uh, and they’re often very difficult. Um, so they take time and research has actually encouraged.
So if you actually learn a lot of really interesting mathematical phenomena along the way, so it’s really cool. It’s also probably easier to use in hacker rank in terms of like, just you sign up for an account, like they ask you what the thing is. And then you just say, put in a number to see if you’re right or wrong.
Um, it’s pretty great for that reason. Um, and so that can also be a good way to spend your time. Uh, if you’re looking to get better at computer science, I’d say project Oilers are really, really good way to develop your algorithmic skills. Um, I also worked as a private mathematics and computer science teacher.
About tutor. [00:19:00] Um, and so I’d normally would teach a algebra one through precal, um, throughout the pandemic. Um, and I also would teach computer science to some of my students who had a solid grasp of the material. Um, if we had extra time at the end, I would teach them a little bit about like, okay, like different programming structures.
How do we design a program around a certain problem, which was really fun. Um, I also held a full-time summer internship in FinTech, um, and where I was working actually on a very interesting project, um, involving natural language processing and, um, data analysis. And I, I got to have a lot of creative control, which was really fun.
And actually, because of project costs to success, they rehired me for full-time for the year. That’s why I took the gap. Um, and I’ve continued to work on this project as well as others, um, before we bring them to production, uh, which is pretty cool because I got to have an impact. So I really liked it there.
Um, [00:20:00] and so on this note, I would say, if you can get a job in stem, they’re not hard, they’re not easy to get, but, uh, if you get presented with the opportunity to take a job in stem, definitely take it. Um, real-world experience is extremely valuable when learning stem like as a program or specifically, there’s a lot of theory and there’s a lot of programming problems that like you get used to solving, but there’s nothing kind of like the real thing.
Like, um, there’s so much thinking you just kind of have to do distilling these real world examples into program. Um, and it just makes it made me a better programmer and it can kind of make you better at your field. Just there’s nothing like the real thing. Um, and I’m just going to speak also a little bit on what I plan to do in college.
Um, there’s a lot of undergraduate research opportunities, so I’m probably gonna do research for two years. Um, and then maybe take a summer internship sometime, um, there. So how do these programs impact my interest in education? So, like I mentioned [00:21:00] earlier, um, they help me confirm that mathematics and computer science is what I wanted to study specifically like discrete math and, uh, systems and computer science, um, and left.
As I just said, it allowed me to narrow my focus to a systems theory and cryptography. Um, which is kinda like, it’s not a very flashy area of computer science, so it’s probably not one I would have found without this experience. Um, like AI is a lot more popular HCI human computer interaction is a lot more popular, so it was kind of nice that I could find this niche that I find really interesting.
Um, and the cryptocurrency courses also made me consider economics as a major. Um, definitely, definitely peaked my interest there. So I’m probably going to pursue that as well. So yeah, explore all you can, because you might surprise yourself with a subject that is. Um, uh, the work of my job is definitely a galvanizing interest for linguistics and NLP.
Um, so like part of the work over the summer, and it was actually linguistic was learned from linguistics, uh, to inform some of the algorithms I was writing. So [00:22:00] that was quite interesting. Um, and NLP is natural language processing. It’s an area of artificial intelligence, which deals kind of speech and kind of how do we distill, uh, speech into information.
And so that was kind of what it’s about. Uh, and finally, the second year of the current New Zealand pre-college program made me want to consider studying mathematics. Um, and there’s a, so the reason for that is it’s probably the hardest course I’ve ever taken. It was an intro to proofs class and a little bit of discrete methods.
Um, And I just love the class. I love going to class everyday. I thought it was so interesting. It was very hard and I’m not going to lie. It kind of looked like hieroglyphics for the first like week I was taking it. Um, if you’ve ever seen mathematical symbols, they are crazy, but I got through it. Um, and it definitely has made me consider a discrete sub mathematics sub planet Stanford.
It’s a specific math major for CS majors. It’s strange. Um, and I probably wouldn’t have considered that otherwise. So kind of the [00:23:00] moral of the story is absolutely explore everything you can with these programs, because oftentimes you’re going to surprise yourself with a field that you didn’t really consider before.
Um, so yeah. Uh, what do I think that summer programs might look like the summer because of COVID-19 it’s tough to say first day I put there. Frankly. I think a lot of it will depend on vaccination. Um, I think primarily they’re probably gonna stay virtual, but that doesn’t mean that you have to. And when I say they, I mean, um, summer college programs us, like for example, summer at brown, uh, Gail hope scholars turning on pre college, uh, summer session at U Chicago, all those, um, I bet they’re probably gonna be virtual.
I don’t know, on a case by case basis. I know some are actually, haven’t made that call yet, so it’s possible they’re in person, but they might require a vaccine. I’ve kind of guessing at this point. I don’t really know. Um, but yeah, I would imagine for those that are virtual, there’s an online class form. Um, if it’s kind of more academic, so, uh, that this intro like cutting out the pre college, for [00:24:00] example, and yeah, some may be in person, uh, mandating vaccines.
Um, so with that being said, I actually encourage a lot of you to go look at work and volunteer opportunities and staff that may be virtual. And don’t just look at kind of like big companies look at smaller companies because they often are more likely to need. Especially in it. If you’re in anywhere in any way, shape or form interested in computer science, they’re gonna be really, really, um, fun and also, uh, helpful to kind of get that experience working with, uh, systems of like, okay, this is like kind of how server works.
This was how like we connect computers and stuff. It’s also just a nice skill to have for in life. Um, knowing how to work with computers and how computers kind of work with each other and how to diagnose problems. Um, and also there are a lot of volunteer opportunities, so, um, One, I didn’t do the summer, but during school was as a volunteer tutor.
Um, but through one organization through my school and also one, um, this kinda like an outreach [00:25:00] program. So I bet there’s a lot of volunteer tutoring, um, organizations that you can probably contact over the summer. So I would definitely definitely look into those. Um, I bet they’re probably all going to be virtual, but in person opportunities will probably start, start to pop up later in the summer so you can wait for it.
But I would recommend just going for something virtual. If it’s something you’d find really interesting and don’t do something you don’t want to do, like do something that you think that genuinely you would be interested in. Um, but don’t limit yourself to in person. There’s probably a lot of virtual opportunities.
And lastly, if you can’t find a program that you like be it, I don’t know because it’s virtual or there’s just not really anything out there. Um, don’t wait for, COVID-19 do something that you like on your own. So, uh, you can do all sorts of things. Like you can start your own volunteer tutoring organization for.
Um, you could see if you could, I don’t know. I’m just, you could take a class, you could self [00:26:00] study a curriculum. Um, you could do something like for Sheffield. I did for a significant portion of time, which is just try to grind out a ton of project oiler problems. Um, that can be really fun. Um, you also teach yourself a new skill.
Um, you can also kind of specialize, so there’s a lot of, um, online courses through Coursera Udemy, um, which are great. You don’t have to just look at like, uh, Harvard extension school. Um, oh, MIT OpenCourseWare also has a lot of courses. So you can kind of, um, take courses that you’re interested in, uh, over the summer.
It’s just not necessarily graded or it gives credit, but again, kind of, uh, if you can’t find something kind of create your own path. Um, and there’s a lot of resources to do those, like the ones I’ve mentioned. Um, so don’t wait for, COVID-19 do what you like. So, uh, what is my advice to someone who wants to apply to these types of programs?
So I’m going to break it down by a few programs. So I did a summer college program, um, which did credit, but there’s a lot more, um, stem [00:27:00] programs that are really good. So for example, um, RSI is a pretty famous one for research. Um, highly selective, highly recommend. If you’re interested in research, really like you do like, um, ICF, like you do a lot of science fair stuff, definitely like our RSI.
Um, There are a lot of diversity outreach programs like mites and Sam’s, um, both really, really strong, um, for Stan specifically, uh, the definitely look into those as well. Um, and then finally, there’s, uh, there’s also some that are specific to a certain area, like, um, promise at BU for math. Um, again, very selective, but you kind of do that.
So, or you can kind of go into one of these more general purpose, um, undergraduate courses, like the one I did, which was Carnegie Mellon. So for, uh, but other than those, I actually just realized to put that child volunteer opportunities first for the jobs and volunteer opportunities. I would just say standard advice, made sure to have a resume and [00:28:00] CV or CV, um, and, uh, include a cover letter to the employer kind of stating like, Hey, this is what I want to do.
This is why I think I could be helpful in my work with you guys. Um, thanks for the consideration of CV, sorry. Extends for curriculum vetay, um, or just resumes, same thing effectively, CVS, a little bit longer. Um, and for the summer pre college programs, um, I would actually give pretty much the same advice I would give for college, uh, application essays, take your time to write the essays.
A lot of students are qualified, but kind of how they can distinguish a lot of the time is by who has good essays, because they want to be excited about a student when they kind of bring them into these programs. Right. And so writing good essays that are personal to you. And kind of tell your story can be a really good way to differentiate yourself in the process.
So highly recommend you take time to read the essays. Um, don’t kind of like sending us to the last minute. All right. Uh, secondly, get a letter of recommendation from a teacher who either a [00:29:00] knows you well, or B is in the subject that you’re applying for, ideally, both, but, um, I would say if you were kind of picking between the two, definitely teachers who knows you well is definitely still the best choice.
Um, but the teacher who knows who the subject can kind of speak to what your passion is and that subject, but still, I would say a teacher who knows you better can probably speak on her personality, which is important. Uh, but yeah, in a perfect world, that should be both. See if you need to find a teacher with belts.
Cause normally they do have a letter of recommendation that is necessary. And lastly, don’t forget to be yourself. Always, always, always, always, always be yourself on a college application, even in a summer pre college application. Very, very important. Um, if you try to pretend like someone you’re not. Guess what?
So we’re like a third of the other applicants type. They’re much more interested in seeing someone who brings something unique, which oftentimes is just yourself to the program. So definitely don’t forget to be yourself in these programs. All right. [00:30:00] And yeah, so we have a CollegeAdvisor, um, summer opportunity database, and I’ll let kind of speak a little bit on that.
Uh, exactly what Austin said. We have a CollegeAdvisor, summer opportunity database, and this database was developed by a handful of our advisors with, um, opportunities that are remote in person paid and on paid that are designed to boost students’ resumes and involvement in the careers. They’re interested in.
It’s a jumping off point for all high school students, freshmen through seniors to start to familiarize themselves with the opportunities that are out there and what’s required to apply. Unfortunately, at this point in time, this database is only available to CollegeAdvisor.com clients through their advisor.
So if you’d like access to this, this is a great chance to work with us. All right. So yeah. Now we’re going to go to the Q and a, um, we’ve collected a handful of [00:31:00] questions before, um, the webinar, but we’re going to kind of be alternating between those and the live Q and a, because obviously there’s some stuff I covered here that wasn’t stated beforehand.
So I’m going to start with a live Q and a, um, cool. Um, yeah, so I’ll answer, uh, the first one. Um, so I took classes over the summer in two ways. So the first semester of my high school, um, my high school offered the summer geometry course, so. Um, that was, uh, that was, um, basically it was a pretty established program, so I just kind of petitioned to do it early because like, we normally people didn’t do this.
Um, but the math department was like, yeah, go ahead. Cause um, he liked how me and my friend were thinking about doing it. Um, yeah. So, and I’ll just briefly answer this before I go to the pretty things I called you. I go to, I go to Stanford, um, for mathematics and computer science. Um, so jumping back to the pre [00:32:00] panel questions, um, So, uh, I’m interested in finding an internship in engineering over the summer.
Are there any that are available to high school students? Yes. Yes. There are. They are harder to find, but normally they’re not through big companies. You kind of have to make your own way at these. Um, and that can actually be sometimes by reaching out to your school. It’s like the, it internship was actually my school’s IP office.
Um, sometimes through, uh, companies, local companies are really looking for that kind of specialty and their love to have people, um, kind of help you with that. So it’s sort of thing where like, if you can do it’s normally a win-win situation. So definitely don’t think about just like, Hey, what am I going to try to find with the Google search and try to reach out, um, in your area as well, like use your community to your advantage.
Um, so yeah, um, Uh, so let’s go to Nicole’s question. Let’s say a person has [00:33:00] a little bit related about on sir. Um, so the person has a lot of extracurriculars. Can he, or she get into a competitive engineering college with 4.0 GPA without any AP class. So, um, colleges are gonna evaluate you holistically, um, normally, which means that they kind of take your application in the context of your school.
So college is never going to fault you for an opportunity. You don’t have just kind of what I would say in that. Uh, so yeah, potentially, um, it really just depends on what your school is, but I would say if you have the opportunity to challenge yourself, definitely do. Um, definitely, definitely, definitely challenge yourself.
That’s partially why summer opportunities are a great idea. I’m gonna flip back to the pre panel Q and a, um,
Let’s do, um, I love math and I am thinking about college with a major involving math, such as business finance or it. So I would like to know about summer opportunities that would help me learn and [00:34:00] understand what should be my focus this summer. So what I would say on that is, um, you can do a few things.
One, if you find a specific opportunity in one of these areas, take it. Um, it is probably the easiest, uh, this, because there’s, everyone needs help with computers. Like they’re not nearly enough it professionals. So if you weren’t good with computers, definitely, definitely, definitely look at it. Um, I would also say a summer pre college program can be a great idea.
Um, they oftentimes have classes in these exact areas. I know that Carnegie Mellon one had one in a few in math. Um, had a few in computer science and they had a business wall. So, um, there are sometimes programs actually that are specialized in these areas. Uh, you’re going to either have to apply to more of a general purpose or specialized in one specific area.
Like it could be math could be business, their programs. All I know for business on MIT launches a pretty big one. Um, but yeah, so, um, let’s see.[00:35:00]
Uh, I would say let’s do, I’ll kind of lump these two together, so Iris in a non yet. Um, any current summer program, internship recommendations or opportunities? Um, I would say, well, our database probably has a lot of. It’s going to depend on kind of where you are. A lot of these opportunities are kind of local there aren’t really a lot of established high school internship programs.
I know Google has one for computer science for graduating seniors though. So kind of a non-starter, but definitely reach out to your kind of look in your area. Um, do you do that sometimes even through LinkedIn, um, you can also do that through kind of like cold emailing. You can even see, we reach out to your school guidance counselor.
Sometimes they actually know of these opportunities ahead of time, which would be really helpful. Um, and how early would you in high school, would you recommend getting an internship? I would say do it when it’s right. Um, don’t feel like you [00:36:00] have to get an internship. Um, I just did, cause it was kind of, it made sense for me to be doing what makes sense for you and where you can actually follow your passion.
That’s really, really important in this process, um, is that you’re kind of letting your passion guide you as opposed to checking the boxes because that’s not really. Can I help you all that much if it doesn’t fall on page. So do do what you like. That’s, that’s the number one thing. So if that’s taking classes in a certain area, do that, um, if that is finding an internship, do that.
Um, but don’t try to force yourself necessarily, um, to get an internship early. You don’t need to do that. Um, but I would say if you’re asked, how early do you think, I think you could, um, normally for stem, they’re gonna want to see algebra. It’s probably sophomore, sophomore, junior year. Um, I would just say for computer, I’m talking from my early computer science, cause that’s what my area is.
Uh, let’s flip back to the pre panel Q and [00:37:00] a, so. Uh, ah, I love this question. Okay. What is a summer opportunity in general? And are there certain classes I need to uptake taken before entering the summer opportunity? Yes. Um, sometimes so I would define a summer opportunity is really anything you want to make it that allows you to study engineering and mathematics more deeply.
Um, this can be through one of your own design, but for this, uh, I would say for classes that you probably should take, um, again, it’s not, it’s never a hard bar, but, um, it’s normally good to have algebra for an it job or one in computer sciences, because so many of the algorithms kind of follow that structure.
Um, I’d imagine for other months, like, let’s say you want to do one Marine biology, probably just the biology. Um, don’t go into it with no experience, but, um, sometimes they actually have opportunities for that. And for summer classes, um, a lot of times they actually offer different levels. So you can [00:38:00] like place into a level based on what you have scored on something.
Um, it isn’t super rigid, but it’s the sort of thing where like, they’ll kind of find a good spot for you. So like at Carnegie Mellon, for example, it’s actually changed it since I went there, but they had three levels of computers, times that were actually undergraduate courses. Um, one was kind of like an intro to CS for people who didn’t plan to do CS.
Uh, one was an intro to CS for people who did plan to do CS and one was second level CS. So, um, the intro for people who did apply the DCS was just a lot more rigorous. Uh, and for the second level you actually needed to have taken that. Um, they sometimes let people, if they had a perfect score on the placement test and a five on the AP, I think they let them pass into the top one, but they normally did not otherwise.
So sometimes there is a requirement, but it’s not as rigid as you may think. Um, so there probably will be opportunities, um, just to kind of help you with looking for them a little bit. So, [00:39:00] um, How did they mention physical? Uh, I’ll do that one first. Um, how did I manage my time during the summer? Um, thanks, Nicole.
Um, uh, admittedly, um, I kinda had busy summers I’m someone who always likes to be busy. Um, so I didn’t really have any downtime. Um, well, and by downtime mean extended periods of doing like nothing. Um, so I, my job and then immediately went to Carnegie Mellon. My second SMAPP second summer, their first summer, I actually did have kinda like a one month wall.
Um, but, uh, the program was kind of like a, it’s like 50 hours a week. So be like kind of gore school around a job it’s quite similar, um, to kind of how I manage my school life. Um, so it’s not that much of a departure if you’re thinking about doing it. Um, definitely good idea. Um, let’s flip back to the pre panel Q and a, um,[00:40:00]
So, um, where would you suggest pursuing in-person summer opportunities for engineering and mathematics and how can summer opportunities build up your college resume? So, as I was saying before, um, the college application should kind of tell a story. Um, and this can be kind of a way to tell that, so like this can be something where you show your passion in the subject, or it can actually be a launching pad for future opportunities.
Like, I really liked this. You can go to college. I say about it, for example, um, or it’s just something that you can list specifically. Um, and so I would say in terms of pursuing those opportunities, we have a really good database. Um, Google searches are often good. That’s how I found like half of my opportunities, uh, I would say also just word of mouth worker, community, talk to your teachers, talk to your guidance counselors, because oftentimes they’re gone no opportunities in the area.
Cause they’ve had students for like 20 years, probably someday. We’ll know what past students have done. They can probably hook you [00:41:00] up with some good ideas. All right. So, uh, let’s flip back. Uh, yeah. Oh, this is great. It’s computer science specifically. Um, thank you, honey. Um, if we took an AP computer science course, but don’t know any specific language in depth, is that okay?
Yes, yes, yes. Yes. So as a computer science major, That’s a lot of computer science is actually kind of learning how to think as opposed to learning languages. So, uh, it’s kinda like math, it’s like in the way that, like, you might not know a specific area of lab, but you know, all the things that kind of are like bring up to that area.
So that’s kind of how learning languages with computer science can normally take you like two to three days if you’re focused at it. Um, and yeah, that’s totally fine. Um, a lot of these computer science programs are actually gonna be entry level. So like Carnegie Mellon’s was, well, it was entry level and quotations for the course I took, but, um, they did have an actual entry level course.
Um, an AP computer science will qualify you for pretty much [00:42:00] every high school, um, call it computer science program because pretty much no students are going to be able to take above AP computer science, even if it’s offered at their school. Um, so that’s kind of, you’re putting yourself kind of in all of those programs.
So, um, let’s see.
What is the general makeup of college courses. And what do these courses normally consists of is from the pre panel Q and a. Um, so there are kind of two different kinds of summer, um, college courses. So this is actually something you should probably look at when you are thinking about, um, attending one of these.
So there are some that go, there are some that are courses designed for high schoolers at colleges. So like U Chicago’s, for example, I like that. Um, it can cover like it’s, normally those are really interdisciplinary. Um, they’re like an interesting, but they’re at U Chicago, their top of each cover professors, um, or they actually are the undergraduate courses themselves.
[00:43:00] So the reason why that can be important as normally the high school courses aren’t necessarily as rigorous, um, because they are meant for high schoolers. Um, Not as rigorous as college courses on the college courses on, they can give you undergraduate credit, which is really, really nice when transferring, uh, because you can transfer that credit upon attending undergrad at some other place.
So I was actually able to do that highly recommend that you do that. Um, so think about that and in terms of what they consist of, um, read the syllabus. So they often will publish a syllabus for the courses, uh, which you can read through and say like, Hey, is this interesting? Or is this not interesting? If you apply some of the programs make you apply to a specific course, so do that before you apply, but some are kind of general purpose and college, you sign up for whatever you want.
So it was pretty much I took in Carnegie Mellon. I was like 40, I want to say 40 undergraduate courses, something like that. Um, and you can just look to the course catalog and decide what you want it to do. Uh, Let’s see, uh, what I like this one, [00:44:00] I’m just going to briefly mention this one. Um, so Alan asks, what coding language would I recommend to learn first?
Um, so that depends. Um, actually, no, it doesn’t really depend on I’m thinking that I kind of recommend this generally. Um, I would say Python Python, the language I work in, it’s probably the easiest, uh, just because, um, it’s very easy. Syntactically so it’s really easy to get ideas out and write quickly as opposed to doing all this like hard work and other languages.
You don’t often do like five lines in Python and like one in like C plus plus, and one line at Python. So that’s good. Um, I would also say, um, a lot of data science and other internships are going to require Python. So I’d recommend that for opportunities just purely because Python has a lot of what are called modules or libraries that are easy to access.
So there’s a lot of tools that you kind of get in Python that you don’t really get as much in other than. And so Python’s kind of like the perfect language one, because it’s easy to learn first because one, because it’s easy [00:45:00] and two, because there’s a lot of stuff that you can do with it. Um, and this is not just computer science.
This is like Marine biology. This is like, um, uh, web stuff. This is like sometimes financial models. This is like all sorts of stuff. Um, and so like, you’ll see now a lot of companies are actually replacing AR, which is like a statistics language with Python and their module. So I’d recommend Python. Um, or if you want it to be a CS person, you know, that’s what you want to do.
I’d say C plus plus it’s kind of like the Latin of programming languages. It’s chaotic and crazy, but it’s, every language is at least a little bit related to not every, but most languages or at least a little bit related to C plus plus. Um, so I would think about that. So flipping back to the pre panel, um, actually let’s take a moment real fast to.
In the middle of the QA talk about, uh, if you’d like to work with an advisor. So if you’d like to work one-on-one with an advisor from our team of over 155 [00:46:00] advisors and admissions officers, then you can sign up for a free consultation with us by going to CollegeAdvisor.com and clicking the green chat button in the bottom, right of the screen from there, just write in consultation and alive team member.
We’ll get back to you to help coordinate your free consultation with us. So I’m sending an offer to everyone at this webinar gets started all ready in fact to the Q and a yes. All right. So I see a car common. I really like in the Q and a, but I’m going to do it and I’m going to go back to the pre-K for, um, let’s see, um, Oh, I love this question.
Okay. Um, did I receive any scholarships or financial aid? I’m going to guess this is probably referring to summer programs. Um, I did not, but that’s actually a lot of the time available for these programs. So you can apply, uh, to, for financial aid at these programs or, um, QuestBridge, which is a huge, um, scholarship, uh, [00:47:00] corporation actually has something called, unfortunately the deadline just passed for this year called the QuestBridge college prep scholars, which can give you, um, basically like a full ride in one of these programs over the summer.
Um, and they partner with the universities to do that. So highly recommending about that. If you think about financial aid for these projects, Because colleges want to make these accessible. And so oftentimes you do that and if cost is still a burden, I would just recommend going on you to me in Coursera.
Um, they’re normally really cheap. Um, and they’re great for that reason. Like I, I take those courses all the time. Also MIT OpenCourseWare is completely free, so you can kind of teach yourself material, which is kind of fun. I’m just going to answer this just because I love this question. I actually get it all the time, which is what they call ask.
Um, because a lot of the times it’s a lot of website buildings. That’s a really helpful one. Um, in Java, if you wanted to learn Java. So this is a little bit different because this is more of a. I actually don’t know if John has a compiled language. I think it’s kind of like in the middle. Anyway, John is more of like system level codes, like Minecraft, for example, is written in Java.
Um, just apply, uh, if you are interested in it apply, it’s really important that you just kind of follow your passions, so no one’s [00:49:00] stopping you. And I definitely think it actually would probably have, if you want to say like, Hey, I’m, don’t really know a lot about it, but I’m really interested in the subject and probably clinically probably work in your favor.
So I would definitely just encourage you to apply, um, because. Yeah, you might get it. Um, I’d say it’s probably harder to get a job. Um, if it’s related to that field, just purely because they are kind of looking for, um, people with a little bit of experience, but for summer programs or maybe some online courses yeah.
Just apply on my kid. Um, let’s see. And,
uh, so Nicole asks, where do you learn coding as a beginner? I would recommend a few places. Um, I would not recommend, uh, well, let’s just say, uh, there’s a lot of good tutorial. I like w three schools is pretty good. Um, Khan academy is actually good too [00:50:00] surprisingly for it. Um, I would say actually the, one of the best ways you can learn, um, you’re not going to be teaching yourself, go to style habits, but those can kind of get corrected in college, um, is by trying to look up, you can look up like beginner programming, like, uh, Beginner programming problems.
So that’s the way to learn about coding is by doing, um, so how you can kind of do that is, uh, you can look up these problems and try to solve them. It can be like a day or two before you get it, but that’s kind of, you learn all about these things and like, oh, okay. Once you figured it out, this is something I can use in the future.
Definitely true for project Euler. I know for me, like I always consult my own solutions. Um, so the best way to learn by coding is doing, um, I would say, and also courses are great just because you kind of get that foundation, um, in computer science, like for something like object oriented programming, for example, which is like Java is entirely consistence of objects.
Um, and it’s, that’s more industry level code. Um, you probably are going to want to take your class, but for scripts and stuff, like little [00:51:00] fun programs, you can make yourself, or even like for some places like MIT, uh, at the Whitehead Institute, I mostly wrote scripts. Um, you can do that just by trying to teach yourself through problems.
A lot of computer scientists, like to joke that they’re professional Googlers, because a lot of the times you are just looking up stuff like, okay, what is a module or a library? Can you use to do something? Um, or like, how do I fix this error? And so it’s kind of like, you can learn computer science by learning the way of thinking.
It’s not so much a language as it is like math. It’s kinda like you learn how to solve a problem. So, um, let’s flip back to the pre Q and a, uh,
Okay. What are good opportunities for someone who wants to get a taste of what it is like to be an [00:52:00] engineer, but he’s never done anything like it before. So I’d recommend looking at summer programs at engineering schools, um, or schools with engineering programs. I would say a class is probably the best way to do that at this stage, just because it’s hard to get an internship specifically in engineering as an undergrad.
I mean, as a high schooler. So courses are normally a really good way to do that. Um, so electrical engineering can be a good one. Some computer science courses actually have a foundation in that. Um, uh, so that too, um, yeah, and yeah, uh, just quickly I’ll answer this answer. Another one. Uh, I learned, I learned C plus plus first, but I would say probably for someone who is just trying to get a landscape of computer science, I haven’t been Python first because it’s the easiest and probably most useful right now.
Um, So, would it be better to get an internship or take a summer class of the summer? Um, I would say whatever you want to do more, um, it is good to have job experience. It’s good to take a [00:53:00] summer class, but really you should be following what you like to do. It’s more important that you’re following your passions than trying to let go, because on an application you can kind of reference this.
You can write an essay about it. So do whatever you like more that makes sense. Um, flipping back to the pre Q and a, um, are there any opportunities for job shadowing or volunteering? Yes. Um, so there are a few ways you can do this, uh, reach out to teachers and guidance counselors, I would say is number one.
Um, they sometimes do that a lot of volunteering organizations partner with schools, um, especially with tutoring. So thinking about being a tutor, do it. I love tutoring. I’m a volunteer tutor. Sometimes my free time. I think it’s great. It’s a great way to kind of reinforce the material and also give back a little bit highly recommend you do that.
And also for job shadowing. Yeah. Um, a lot of the times schools have, if they do a career day sometimes, um, you can ask the professionals there. Um, sometimes they might know something, [00:54:00] um, or a guidance counselor might know something, a good resource just use your school is oftentimes they will have a lot of these, uh, can use available.
Um, let’s say getting back to, uh,
uh, let’s see. Um, so, uh, I like math and want to be in astronauts. Is there anything I could do to help with that early on Devon asks, I would say, um, honestly you could just. Take courses that you think would pertain to that. So that can be physics is probably what you’re normally going to see with that mathematics.
Definitely. Um, you could also just read about it. So like I often took courses just like through online things and just subjects. I was interested in, like I just took one in cryptocurrency just cause I thought it’d be interesting. Um, and a lot of the times they’re free to receive things like OpenCourseWare, uh, love it.
And I T OpenCourseWare so good. Um, of course are new to me offer pretty low cost [00:55:00] ones. Um, so I’d definitely say, maybe explore a little bit about that. Um, or masterclass, for example, sometimes has those splits are a bit more expensive? Um, yeah, I would just say that, um, and. Uh, yeah, I would say solid physics, solid math preparation is also probably a good idea.
Um, oh, uh, Purdue, sorry. I forgot to mention this produce specifically has a huge, um, aeronautical, uh, school. So they probably would have an opportunity. They might have some opportunities in that bait. So check that out. Um, let’s see. Um, um,
So, um, I’ll modify this question a bit. So how can I stand out better on an application of these courses? Um, I would mention specifically what your interest is and your experience. So don’t just say, like, I want to take this course talking about why you want to explain that, take that course, even if [00:56:00] you don’t have experience, just mentioning what you’re interested in and kind of like, Hey, this is kind of how I want to do things can be really helpful because they want to see you taking this course.
They want people who are genuinely interested when you’re taking a course. So I definitely say, um, look at that kind of stuff. All right. Um, see, I’ll just answer this one briefly. Uh, did you have an interview with Stanford? So what questions did they ask? Um, yes, I didn’t interview, uh, mostly standard college questions.
They kind of asked a lot of the same questions. I didn’t really get asked any unique ones in that interview. Um, just about myself. Um, Besides internships, what else could as back to the Q and a pre QA site internships, what else could engineer majors do to be productive during the summer? Um, you can take a courseware MIT.
OpenCourseWare going to plug it again. It’s awesome. Uh, solving problems can be really good way reading. Um, basically anything that you think could further your [00:57:00] education, if you’re not going to try to do an internship, so can also be summer classes, but don’t kind of, you don’t need to rely on some sort of external authority to do that.
You can do a lot of self directed study. I did some self directed study, um, highly recommended. It’s a really good way to kind of gauge your interest and also just learn more about the subject because you can often tailor it to what you’re looking at. Uh, let’s see. Um, well getting a three and AP computer science class reduce our chances of getting a comp plan major and a good college.
Can’t really speak on that. A lot of it has to do with personal context. Um, That being said, it’s typically good advice. Four or five. So you submit threes and below you don’t, but again, that’s actually, that would depend on what your kind of surrounding areas like. Um, you can just not submit it, search your prerogative.
Um, but, uh, I wouldn’t say it necessarily is prohibitive that really, um, at all. Um, and let’s [00:58:00] see, oh, how can international students find research opportunities or internships in the field of mathematics? Um, can’t speak on that directly, but you can actually probably reach out to some professors. Um, normally they won’t take high school students, but I actually did have a friend who did mathematics research in high school.
Um, and so she actually just called email professors and one from Harvard got back to her. So you can’t actually do that. Um, As an international student, I don’t know specifically. I bet probably wouldn’t change a lot. Um, you can also compete in competitions like the AMC. That’s a really big one for college admissions for math.
So I get the MIT Carnegie, Mellon and Caltech applications actually ask for your AMC score. If you’ve taken it, you don’t have to take it. But if you have, um, it’s a nice thing that you can mention there. Uh, is there is computer science and community college equivalent to computer science in high school.
It would vary. Um, I would say only if the syllabus syllabus or the same computer science is really broad [00:59:00] topic. Um, so like you might be taking a course in web development and that’s gonna be totally different than an algorithms course. Um, really depends on what you’re studying. Uh, I’ll just do for the last question, because I know we’re running short on time here.
Um, one final question from the Q and a, um, let’s see.
briefly mentioned that, uh, anyone have any other questions they want to quickly put in the chat, um, or I can just go back to the pre Q and a
I’ll answer one for the pre QA, the meantime, and then I’ll see if there’s any more and then we can do that. Um, so, uh, what’s
uh, what is the acceptance rate of some of these programs? Um, so [01:00:00] the sexy, quite nice because now these programs are a lot less selective than the colleges themselves. So like the one I did, for example, for computer science credit union is like a 4% acceptance rate, but for their pre college program, it’s like 50.
So it’s can often be a good way to get these, this exposure without actually being in the program itself. So highly recommended. Um, and all right, great. Uh, one last question from Lucas. Uh, what are some viable options? Mixing biology and engineering. Oh my God. So glad I do ask, cause I literally did this.
Um, uh, all right. I’ll answer that one too at the end. Um, is, uh, so you can do bio computation. That’s a huge one. Computational biology learn a little bit of Python. You should have no problems. And for mechanical engineering, Rihanna, um, I would say, yeah, just engineering programs. Um, Mike’s a good one. Sam’s a good one.
Um, for, I know specifically for mechanical engineering, um, probably beaver works and MIT would be good for mechanical engineering engineering [01:01:00] school is probably a good program for that. Um, and, uh, R Python, Java, similar sort of pythons, a little bit more high level than Java Java is more than for the low level language.
Alright. Cool. So, uh, I think that and the QA. Yeah. Thank you all so much for coming. Thank you all. We had a great book. Yeah. Uh, thank you. And thank you again to our panelists. Thank you so much, Austin. And, uh, we have two more, um, webinars in our April series, which are on pre college and computer science and technology.
So hope to see what those have a great night, everyone.