3 answers

How will colleges view my academic profile?

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So I accepted the apprenticeship for the rail company. But the problem is that it's every other day. (My school is set up as an A/B day with different classes on either day. So I go to the apprenticeship one day, and go to school the other.) So I can't take all the classes I want to. It looks like a great opportunity to get my foot into the door for the engineering industry, and it pays $10/hour for my first year, $11.50/hour my second year, and $13/hour my third year. I get an associates out of it and a guaranteed job after it. It's the first apprenticeship in the state, so I'd be one of the very few (12 or so) pioneers. But I will also have to quit my job that pays $9.00, and the people there are really fun. I can't take any AP classes during school, and I'll have to take online classes after school to catch up on credits. I'm just curious how colleges and employers will view it. I'm also doing cross country. So will it look better if I do an apprenticeship (It might be fun and has good training, but I honestly probably won't complete the three years)? Or, will a strong academic record with athletics and an after school job look better?
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3 answers

Andrei’s Answer


Hello Christian,

Not sure if there is more than 1 Christian from Boise Idaho, but I noticed that you may have posted a few questions. I too wanted to be a jet fighter pilot once, and joined the Civil Air Patrol, and dreamt of going to the Air Force Academy and taking an engineering major.

First, lets start with the apprenticeship. Kim is right, you should never start anything if you don't plan on finishing it. Quitting this could be viewed negatively by many, since it could affect others. This is an extraordinary opportunity! Think about it, only 12 people have been given this chance, and the continuation of this program could be based on the success and performance of this pioneer group. This is invaluable experience that can benefit you for a life time in many different ways. Other companies and organizations will appreciate the effort and perseverance of completing this program. Having said that, if you really feel that this is not a good fit for you and you don't see a future there, then get out, the sooner the better.

Now for the rest. Civil Air Patrol was a great experience. It gave some great leadership training, and it also showed me some aspects of the military life. It may help you decide if the military is something you want to pursue. I remember lots of kids would join, and soon decide that the uniforms , structure, rules and regulations were not for them. The military Academies look for very well rounded individuals. Academics and a great SAT score go a long way with them, but they also want to see that you are willing to do more. Sports activities, volunteering, extra curricular activities show that you are involved and want to achieve more and help others. I remember taking all the AP courses I could, but it backfired for me. My grade average dropped slightly and all the extra studying limited my available time for other activities. In the end, the academies did not care what classes I took, they just wanted to know what my grade point average and what my SAT score was. I went thru Aviation HS, which is a technical school, that did not put much emphasis on the SAT test. If your school is like that, I would suggest some SAT prep courses. Now, the AP classes, did make it easier for me in collage. Because of the AP classes, I was able to get my Bachelors Degree in two and a half years. To be a military jet fighter pilot you need to go thru Officer Candidate School, which requires a collage degree, preferably from a military academy, but a regular collage with ROTC will work as well. Did I mention that there is a little bit of a pilot shortage out there.

I realize that I am rambling on here, but hopefully gave some food for thought. A strong academic record is always great to have. Athletics could be a plus, depending what school you apply to, an engineering school may not really care about it but the military academies might. The apprenticeship program is a much better choice than an after school job. After all, not too many people will be able to put "I was one of 12 apprentices statewide" on their resume. Hope this helps. Good luck.

Thank you so much! This was very enlightening

Sean’s Answer


Hi Christian,

It depends on your future plans. I agree with Kim that making these sacrifices would only make sense if you plan on completing the apprenticeship (and see the rail company as a future career path). With that being said, colleges tend to care more about well-rounded individuals than strictly your grades. If you are able to balance your apprentice work with your current class schedule, as well as cross country, it will demonstrate your ability to prioritize tasks and manage your time effectively. If you are applying to schools who have strong programs relevant to this industry, your willingness to sacrifice a traditional path in order to secure more experience can show them how passionate you are about their program. It will also provide you with invaluable experience and connections in the industry, both of which can help you down the road. So, I'd worry less about the impact on your grades if you'd like to continue in this industry in the future. But once again, I'd make sure that this is the career path you want to pursue before making this decision.

I hope this helps!


Kim’s Answer



Congrats on being accepted into the apprenticeship program! My initial thought was it will be good for you, however, three things concern me.

  1. You are entering into it without plans to complete it.
  2. You will not be able to take AP classes.
  3. This is the first year of the program. Having people who don't complete it could have consequences for the program as a whole.

While not everyone will look at your profile the same way, the fact that you are sacrificing the AP classes to take an apprenticeship might be okay, but only if you complete the apprenticeship. You don't want to be looked at as "A quitter." If you are still considering military academies, you definitely need to take a hard look at their entrance requirements and get as much info as possible.

Hope you are enjoying your summer!