4 Ways Students Can Enhance their College Apps During the Pandemic (While Staying Safe)

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This wasn’t how high school and college students (or anyone for that matter) imagined their 2020 summer would play out. Internships have been canceled, summer jobs are limited, and social distancing is making networking a challenge as everyone works to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

While this summer may have been be non-traditional, there are still ways for students to build out their resumes as they prepare to apply for college and/or internships. Outlined below, you’ll find four tips from Eric Oldfield, father of two school-age daughters and Chief Business Officer of Brainly, the world’s largest online learning community with 150 million monthly users. 

1. Learn a new foreign or programming language 

These days students can take on a new language of any type—foreign or programming—with just a smartphone or computer and a strong commitment. This is possible thanks to the seemingly endless resources available through online courses like Codecademy or Duolingo, educational apps, and audio programs such as Rosetta Stone or video platforms like Vidcode. Learning a new computer programming language (like JavaScript, Python, or Swift) or a new foreign language will not only add value to a resume, it can also open up new opportunities and career prospects.  

2. Set up virtual informational interviews

Students should identify a handful of companies they’re interested in interning for and reach out via LinkedIn or email to schedule a virtual informational interview. Doing so will allow them to learn more about the company while developing an important relationship that will pay off when they go to apply down the line. Students can mention conducting these virtual interviews in their extracurricular activities or hobbies section of college applications or resumes to make them stand out from the crowd even more and earn recognition for being proactive and ambitious.

3. Volunteer virtually

While it may seem like volunteering opportunities would be impossible with so many areas facing stay at home orders this summer, the reality is that there are a plethora of opportunities that exist virtually. Many organizations have adapted their strategies to include virtual meetings and are making every effort to continue serving their communities and constituents during this new normal. From video chatting with lonely senior citizens and operating crisis call lines to provide at-risk youth with guidance, or transcribing historical documents for nonprofit museums to make their collections more accessible, there’s something out there for everyone. Catchafire is a volunteer search tool exclusively for online volunteer projects, and it’s a great place to start.

4. Become a moderator for an online learning community

By becoming a moderator for a peer-to-peer learning community such as Brainly, teens can take on leadership opportunities, discover how easy and rewarding it is to help other students of all ages, and learn about working in a team environment. Teenagers and high schoolers can also gain professional experience in brand ambassadorship, content moderation, and community management; develop lifelong communication skills; and earn the prestigious title of being a certified educational content moderator.

With a little time and dedication, the pandemic doesn’t have to slow down your child’s progress toward the next level in their education or budding career. This strange time can actually become a great opportunity to grow, develop valuable new skills, and put them well on their way to making their dreams come true.

ParentsTogether is a 501 (c)3 nonprofit community of over 3 million parents, caregivers, and advocates working together to make the world a better place for all children and families.