Curating your career starts in school
Teenagers are well accustomed to curating their personal image on social media. They select what to share, who to tag and how to display their interests and activities in a single image, or 280 characters. The next step for Generation Z, those born after 1995, is to start curating their career. Whether preparing to apply for a competitive university programme or starting an entrepreneurial venture – there is great value in starting to think about how to express one’s professional interests from an early age
“Gaining acceptance to top international universities is challenging and students need more than just good marks to succeed. Curating your extra-curricular activities during high school is important, as a well-rounded candidate with an engaging personal story stands out from the crowd,” says Duncan Parsons, Country Manager of Crimson Education, a mentoring company that helps build high-schoolers’ candidacy to apply for universities in the States and United Kingdom.
Founded in 2013 by Jamie Beaton, a high-schooler who was accepted to the top 25 universities in the world, and his South African-born partner Sharndre Kushor, Crimson Education places an emphasis on exploring a variety of interests and demonstrating entrepreneurial drive. Not only does this boost their application, it gives learners the confidence to apply to a university that best suits their passions and skills; “Crimson students often start small businesses or launch social initiatives while still at school – our mentors offer guidance and support through this,” says Parsons, who sold watches online during his school years before getting the full-ride Robertson Scholarship to Duke University.
According to Parsons, schools and parents can place too heavy an emphasis on academic success alone, when well-roundedness is becoming a crucial part of an applicant’s success. About 30% of an application to an American university is based on activities outside of academic curricula; “Colleges look for and fund students who demonstrate that they’ll use the university’s resources to the fullest – they want to see initiative and the potential to become a leader in your field,” he says.
Growing up with access to vast amounts of information through the internet, Generation Z are well poised to think creatively and disruptively about business, as well as social and environmental problems. “A great university education, at an institution with leading research groups, lecturers and students from around the world is a very powerful starting point for future change-makers,” says Parsons. “Landing that opportunity is challenging, but not impossible, for driven South African students who apply their online curating skills to their careers.”
Crimson Education recently launched in South Africa, making the company operational in 30 cities around the world. Parsons and his team regularly host information evenings for parents and learners interested in studying overseas and have recently introduced a career exploration service. For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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