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Is there Anyway to Turn a Passion for Networking and IT into an Extracurricular for University Applications

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In my sophomore year, I took a networking class, which got me really interested in IT. Although I'm going for software engineering, I would like to showcase my passion for IT one way or another in the form of a material achievement that can be used on my University applications. Any suggestions? #college-admissions #university #software-engineering #computer-networking #it

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8 answers

Ning’s Answer

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Hi Aun.

In addition to what has already been shared, if you have a keen interest in networking, there are free courses and programs online which can add weight to your resume for university applications AND future job applications.

Cisco Networking Academy has a free course in 'Networking Essentials' which you can find at the below link. There are many other free courses which may also interest you.
https://www.netacad.com/courses/networking/networking-essentials

LinkedIn Learning offers a variety of free networking courses which you can select from based on your interest
https://www.linkedin.com/learning/

Hope this helps.

Cheers!
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Wojciech’s Answer

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See if they have programs especially at summer semesters that you could volunteer in IT department
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Krishna’s Answer

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Hi Aun, Hope you're well!
Embarking into a completely new field feels awesome. To start with -
1. You could find a meetup group for networking , IT in your city through meetup.com, which is great and you can attend the regular meetups that they have. Those meetups usually consists of introducing to new features in the field and also it is a great chance to start networking with like minded folks from thereon. I personally embarked on a journey in Big data and this proved to be an amazing experience for me.
2. Once you know some introductory things in the field, you can start working on a POC. Get your hands dirty in it, probably locally or on some cloud like AWS which gives a free tier EC2 instance. Once you do this, you'll know what happens on the field and what all issues you can come across. For taking an example of a small POC , you can search it on any of the freelancer websites, and just take the goal/project headline for this networking field, and start doing it on your own local env. This surely gives you a lot of hands-on knowledge and you can be in touch with whats happening "currently in the market".
3. Thereon, you can add on these projects in your resume, mentioning it as the things you like to work/start on in your extracurricular part, before you start applying to internships to universities.
Basically, as an individual, if we have the yearning to learn, and some little past experience or knowledge on how things work in any field, it makes us a perfect candidate for the internships.
Hope this helps, and good luck~
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Karen’s Answer

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) This answer might seem a bit different but here's what I would do. I work for a software company that has several products in the Ed Tech space. There are software programs that manage the admissions process, course manangement (lms), advising and degree requirements, transcripts. Think of all the software you are currently using at your high school. I would meet with your school IT Director. Learn what software is used, understand the architecture and integrations, and then ask the IT Director if there are any projects you can work on. Maybe you can build out digital hubs for student organizations using cloud software. Maybe you could research and find best texting software to communicate student announcements. And if your school doesn't have any opportunities, see if there is a local church or non-profit organization where you could volunteer to help them with researching different software options to meet their needs. Once you find a project or place to volunteer, see if your school newspaper will write an article about you.

2) Look for a robotics club in Illinois
https://www.firstillinoisrobotics.org/

3) Find a faculty member who will sponsor a team from your high school for a STEM competition
https://www.iste.org/explore/computer-science/8-competitions-get-your-students-fired-about-stem
https://www.youngwonks.com/blog/Top-Computer-Science-Competitions-for-Kids-in-the-US
https://www.idtech.com/blog/ultimate-guide-to-stem-competitions-events

4) Search website of local community college in Chicago, like Moraine Valley. They usually have STEM events where you can connect with Computer Engineers, Programmers, etc. https://www.morainevalley.edu/events/voyages-computer-engineering/
Thank you for this answer, those suggestions were amazing! I'll be sure to implement these as extracurriculars. Thank you again, Ma'am, and all the best! Aun M. Translate
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Wayne’s Answer

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Good day Aun. Yes indeed! There are many ways to turn a passion for networking and IT into an extracurricular for University applications.

Here are a few:

Join or start a Club. They provide you with a community of like-minded peers who can provide insight and perspective that may be new to you, they provide structured activities to learn and grow from, and they provide a school-sanctioned outlet for pursuing your passion, which translates easily on a college application.

Educate Others. Finding a way to give back to your community through your extracurricular activities is always a great idea. You will not only build important relationships and experience the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve done good, but also you will build a college application that exemplifies your generosity and willingness to serve others. In computer science, one way to give back is to share your skills and knowledge. A great example is to volunteer to teach a computer literacy class.

There are also some cool competitions that you may be interested in such as The American Computer Science League, CyberPatriot or First Robotics.

Hope these suggestions help and good luck!
Thank you for the amazing answer! Those were some great ways to showcase my passion that I hadn't thought of! additionally, would you recommend doing the CCNA while in high school, or is that a waste of time? Aun M. Translate
Any certification that you take can help you with your future education and employment goals. IT certifications usually end up paying for themselves many times over with the potential of increased salary and the peace of mind that comes with job security. The Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) credential has become one of the most highly reputed entry-level networking certifications in the industry. Go for it! Wayne Archibald Translate
Thank you for the encouragement! I'll keep in mind these words while pursuing yet another passion. Thank you once again for an insightful answer that will keep me struggling until I see success! Aun M. Translate
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Melinda’s Answer

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Build something!
Select a topic you are interested in or that you think could bring value to others.
However, don't bite off more than you can chew.
Here are some ideas to get you started: https://nevonprojects.com/project-ideas/software-project-ideas/
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Melinda’s Answer

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Build something!
Select a topic you are interested in or that you think could bring value to others.
However, don't bite off more than you can chew.
Here are some ideas to get you started: https://nevonprojects.com/project-ideas/software-project-ideas/
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David’s Answer

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Don't force it! Definitely start or join a club if you have the time and effort. However, I would say don't try to twist an interest into something it's not. If it seems unnatural to make networking and IT an extracurricular activity on an application, I'd caution against it. However, as someone who has applied to college a few years ago myself, I would encourage writing an essay that includes some of your interests!
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