Internship experiences provide valuable lessons

– Neil, Virginia Tech

Neil is a great example of a student who voluntarily took a gap year before starting college to pursue his passion for mechanics. Motivated by a desire to gain practical knowledge and experience related to his undergraduate degree he completed two, month-long internships after his grade 12.

The first was at American Axle & Manufacturing (AAM), which assembles truck axles for Daimler Benz, and the second at Superior Drinks, the local bottling partner for Coca-Cola in India. These internships helped Neil reaffirm his interest in mechanics and were invaluable in teaching him about the role of an engineer and the importance of developing a strong work ethic.

The gap year also gave Neil the opportunity to devote time to his other interests – he took his Trinity Grade piano exams, played soccer and volunteered at the Mouth & Foot Painting Artists, an organisation which supports artists without hands.

Neil’s now on his way to Virginia Tech. If he had to do it all over again, he wouldn’t change the path he took to get there, happy to have had the opportunity to explore his field of study before committing to four years of studying it.

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The fundamental role of independent educational consultants is to help students explore college opportunities and find the right place for them to succeed academically and socially. IECs don’t get students admitted—they help students demonstrate why they deserve to be admitted at appropriately chosen schools. They help students find colleges they might not have heard of—often out of their region—and they help students put their best foot forward.

Here are 5 things families should consider when looking to hire an IEC:

  1. Does the IEC belong to a professional association such as IECA with established and rigorous standards for membership?
  2. Do not trust any offers of guaranteed admission to a school or a certain minimum dollar value in scholarships.
  3. Ensure that the IEC adheres to the ethical guidelines for private counseling established by IECA.
  4. Find an IEC that visits college, school, and program campuses and meets with admissions representatives regularly in order to keep up with new trends, academic changes and evolving campus cultures.
  5. Do they attend professional conferences or training workshops on a regular basis to keep up with regional and national trends and changes in the law?