Building Your Profile
A profile (also commonly called a resume or CV) is a collection of activities and experiences that develop and highlight your strengths as an individual, and helps you distinguish yourself from others. Employers, universities, and society at large are interested in how you have and how you will continue to contribute to their communities. Below are suggestions on how you can develop in this sphere.
Before focusing on what you can do, it is important to actually record and reflect upon the development that is taking place. There are many ways to do this, which at CDNIS include developing an I-folio, updating your Managebac records, and creating a professional online resume such as a Linkedin profile.
Outside of your regular studies, students may wish to extend their knowledge and understanding in key academic fields. Higher Education institutions value “demonstrated interest” beyond minimum requirements. There are many ways students can demonstrate their extended learning independently or through specific resources available at CDNIS.
Oxbridge Library Collection
CDNIS library has developed an “Oxbridge collection”, which is shelved together with the IBDP collection. These texts can also be found in Destiny by searching “Oxbridge”. All titles are recommended by the colleges within Oxford or Cambridge as preparatory reading for their courses.This kind or wider reading is valued at any university around the world. There are over 125 books on this list and it will continue to grow.
Cambridge Summer School
There are many summer school options in the world but none are quite like this unique opportunity at CDNIS. To our knowledge, the CDNIS Cambridge Summer School is the only one in the world that has 100% University of Cambridge academics teaching the courses. It takes place annually in the latter half of July and courses typically run for one week. They range widely in subject matter and in general skills areas. Each class is capped at 20 students and provides 15 hours of contact time.
Attending these courses will extend one’s knowledge in a specific subject area and, more importantly, provide exposure to how University of Cambridge academics think and teach. Places are open to the public (age 15-18) but located on CDNIS’ campus, it is a tremendous opportunity for our own students.
Other Summer Schools
When looking at summer school options it is vital to consider the content of the courses and not to focus on the name of the school. Whilst it is tempting to focus on big brand providers there is no evidence that any institution in the world favours students who have attended specific summer programmes. Instead, they are interested in the knowledge and skills gleaned through these experiences. Smaller universities often provide interesting and high quality options and we highly recommend investigating these opportunities. Students and parents are encouraged to discuss options with guidance counsellors to ensure that time and money is well spent.
As well as academic considerations students are also advised to spend time developing non-academic skills as these tend to be transferable across all disciplines and into later life. Instead of trying to develop in ALL areas, students should focus on deepening their involvement in areas that they enjoy and find fulfilling.
Leveraging family/friend connections can allow students to access a wider range of interesting career pathways so that they can experience the reality of these careers. When considering career-shadowing, it is important to have a clear understanding of the specifics of what you will be doing and seeing. There is little value in sitting in an office and summarizing a policy manual or filing documents, but it is realistic to understand that the students’ role may be limited. It is advisable to have in writing the scope of the experience (dates, times, responsibilities, etc) as this is valuable information when developing a future resume/profile. Reflection is also key when considering how an experience has progressed a student’s interests and/or knowledge.
Leadership is an important term in profile building. Leaders must understand how to follow, as well as to lead and thus joining an existing organization/club is an excellent way to start developing these skills. Long term involvement to an activity/club is also important in demonstrating commitment and dedication to a cause. Creating a club can be useful in developing skills but only when there is a need that is not being met and there is demonstrable interest in forming a group. Leadership comes from being challenged, by overcoming obstacles, dealing with setbacks and working with others. Understanding this means that many activities can develop leadership skills such as a few examples below:
Stepping out of one’s comfort zone is a great way to experience real personal challenges. These can include: working with people not in one’s immediate peer groups, learning new skills, accomplishing physical and technical tasks, being presented with different scenarios allowing one to problem solve and discovering the cross-discipline nature of many skills. Because of the nature of some of these ‘risks’, it is advisable to join an existing programme to access opportunities. At CDNIS, we partner with organizations such as the International Award for Young People (AYP) – globally recognized as the Duke of Edinburgh Award, and the 1st Hong Kong Canadian Scout Group.
Participation in sports, especially from a young age, is a well-proven route to develop leadership skills, resilience, teamwork, time-management and also excellent interpersonal skills – all key for any profile. In addition to all the health and social benefits of sports participation, many universities (especially in North America) greatly value high-level performance (typically at national level) and often reward such performance with preferential admission and/or funding. It is important that students with a elite-level sports participation discuss their options with their counsellor as early as possible. CDNIS has an enviable range of sports available to all students.For more information, please visit the Timberwolves site.
Participating in special interest groups, initially as a general (yet active) member and then progressing to an executive role is a great way of developing skills for social interaction and leadership. These special interest groups are a microcosm of the world at large. They are great analogies to work environments and students who really get involved are able to draw on these experiences, as well as showing commitment to a cause or area of interest. Students do need to be careful not to overcommit or take on too many extracurricular activities as they also need to demonstrate balance and commitment.
There is a general belief that being able to play a musical instrument to a “Grade 8” level is, in some way a distinguishing factor. Though many skills can come from this achievement, the truth is It does not add value to one’s application. Extending one’s commitment to an instrument, however, through participation in a larger ensemble, teaching, performance and/or playing for personal enjoyment are ways that authenticate the skill and commitment to the instrument.
The Arts, of any sort, allow or even require the participant to think in a non-linear and non-logical way. This is one of the key benefits of being involved in the arts (Visual, Musical, Performance, etc) even at an amateur level. To take Arts to a higher level requires excellent time-management and perseverance, as well as developing a nuanced cultural appreciation. It is these factors, especially if articulated and understood, that serves to stand out in a job or university application. The CDNIS community is incredibly supportive of the arts; the school has first-rate instructors, managers and facilities and students have access to a wide range of formal and informal Arts activities. Like sports, the fine arts are good for the individual skills and confidence they help to develop.
Two of the best traits of CDNIS students are their kindness and giving nature. It seems embedded into the DNA of the student body to focus their time and resources to worthy causes. Apart from the social good created by the student body, they are also, individually, growing as leaders and influencers in the world around them. Those individuals running charitable events are learning about real world issues, social justice, economics, politics and philanthropy. Those students participating are demonstrating their belief in sharing resources for the common good. CDNIS students have tremendous character and their attributes are highly valued by universities and organisations around the world.
Many students and parents believe that universities want students who are “well-rounded” and thus seek to be involved in many or all of the above activities and events. Whilst it is true that universities like rounded students, they also highly desire students who have extended their passions in one or two main areas. So if a student is an all-rounder with eclectic interests then that is great, but if the student is a specialist at heart then that is also highly regarded. Universities and employers want both – so students are encouraged to be the best that they can be in the things that give them pleasure and where they have skills to share. It is then that students will be well set for the world ahead!