Admissions

Is Real Job Better than Unpaid Internship?

Question: About a week ago, I went on a college tour where many colleges recommended employment as a way to boost admissions chances. I was recently accepted for an unpaid internship at a local lab this summer. Would most colleges consider this employment, or would they prefer it if I found additional paid employment employment in addition to or instead of the internship?

Many admission officers do have a soft spot for applicants who have held real-world jobs … and often the crummier the better (e.g., flipping burgers at Mickey D’s trumps working as a counselor at your favorite day camp). But I would never recommend giving up an unpaid internship in a lab in order to don an apron or a whistle. In fact, if the internship is consistent with your academic interests and/or future major, this can help boost admission odds, too.

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