A longtime careers writer and coach, Krasi Shapkarova serves as an associate director of coaching and education at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School in Washington, DC, and is also the editor-in-chief of Carey the Torch, the official blog of the Career Development office. She is a Certified Career Management Coach with The Academies, an MBTI Step I and Step II certified practitioner, and has completed training in the Career Leader assessment. Prior to joining the Carey Business School staff, Krasi worked as a counselor at the distance education department at Houston Community College. In that role, she assisted students with career exploration, degree planning, course selection and study skills. In addition, Krasi has extensive experience as a writing tutor assisting students with resumes, cover letters and scholarship essays. She also interned at Shriners Hospitals for Children and has a background in the non-profit sector. Krasi holds a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Houston-Clear Lake and a Master of Arts in International Human Rights from the University of Denver. When not in the office, Krasi enjoys hiking and camping.

"Will this get me in?" That's one big question that high school students ask themselves as they consider activities to prepare for college. Though seemingly straightforward, the question is a misguided one. Approaching college applications from such a perspective can result, at best, in pursuing opportunities you are not even remotely interested in and gain nothing from, and at worst, being burned out before you even get to college.

What you may want to do instead is intentionally pursue jobs that align with your curiosity. As challenging as it may be, think beyond the paycheck and the resume. In recent years, many colleges have become test-optional and are putting heavier weight on other factors, including application essays and interviews, two aspects many applicants struggle with. A job will not only complement your academic performance, but it could also help you collect stories that grab admission officers' attention for the right reasons.

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