Job Shadowing 101: Worth Spending Your Summer On?

Jami Wang
Jami Wang

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It’s the summer before your senior year and you are so close to the finish line! All of the late night studying, long standardized exams, and volunteering hours has led up to this moment. For the first time in your life, you are no longer answering questions about biology or English, but answering questions about yourself. One of the best ways to find interesting answers to those questions is through job shadowing.

Job shadowing, or shadowing, is an opportunity to learn about a career by observing a professional. For example, if you are interested in pursuing medicine, contact your local clinics through email and request to shadow a physician for the day.

In addition to discovering your interests, there are several other benefits to shadowing:

Major Selection

The majority of colleges will ask you to select an intended major for the application. While you can always change your major, shadowing professionals is a great way to get an idea of what major you may be interested in. You can also ask the professional you are shadowing what they had previously majored in during their undergraduate.

Extracurricular Activity

If you shadow a professional for a long period of time, you can even include this as an additional extracurricular activity. This is a great way to show colleges that you are dedicated to exploring your interests. Be sure to keep track of your own hours and roles throughout your shadowing experience.

Mentorship and Networking

Another great benefit of shadowing is that you can expand your professional network. The professional you are shadowing may know of additional career-related opportunities, even after shadowing. If you are able to develop a close relationship with the professional you are shadowing, consider asking them to be your mentor. A good mentor can provide a lot of additional guidance and support throughout your career. 

Tips to Make the Most of It

Throughout shadowing, keep notes on what you are learning and start thinking about how to draw connections between these various parts about your life. Is this career something you can envision yourself pursuing in the future? How do you plan on pursuing this career in college? Drawing these connections early can provide a good framework or theme for your college application.

Shadowing is a great way to not only improve your college application, though. Also reflect on how college can help you reach your future goals. For more help with college applications or career advice, chat with one of our many education experts about your path and how to ensure that you succeed on your way.

Questions? Let us know!