Going Beyond The Academics: A Guide For High School Students 

It is not an exaggeration to state high school as the foundation of future career aspirations; it acts as a guiding force towards choosing the right career path. Thus, it is important to make the most out of your high school years. 


The first and the most important step is having the right mindset, which is built through exploring your interests and your strengths and weaknesses.

By assessing the subjects you’re more leaned towards and find more interesting, your career path becomes clear. Moreover, it’s pertinent to use social media platforms like youtube and reddit to explore different career paths which can interest you.

For further clarity it’s important to attend different webinars and other informational sessions to get more information regarding this. This leads to the next step: choosing the right university.

It’s always a good idea to fully prepare yourself, which can be done by making a list of universities that offer your desired courses, as well as going through the requirements each has. A proper plan towards the short term and long term goals is necessary. 

Acquiring Technical Skills 

1. Learning a coding language

Without a doubt, learning a coding language is becoming a necessity due the integration of tech in almost every field. With the rapidly evolving technological advancements it is important to learn languages like Python which will help you later to adapt and work with machines. In an artificial intelligence driven world,

It has become essential to learn coding as it fuels critical thinking and problem solving skills in several areas such as healthcare, policy making, education and technology.

Furthermore, it also fosters creativity as you can utilise your coding skills for personal projects like game development etc. Most importantly, coding opens new career paths for you such as Data science, Cyber security, Quantum computing, etc. 

2. Attending Bootcamps

However learning a coding language itself might not help you gain the full benefits. In this age of competitiveness, it’s important to have a thorough understanding which can be gained through online courses and bootcamps. It’s important to take courses about potentially intriguing fields to figure out your interests and career aspirations for the future.

This includes courses on atomcamp about Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, and Data Science. Moreover if you’re someone studying non STEM subjects you can delve into courses in your desired fields.

Conversely, bootcamps are far better if you wish to learn relevant skills, network and make connections as well as gain practical work exposure through projects.

During your high school journey, taking a bootcamp alongside your education can really broaden your perspective and help you make a better choice regarding what you want to pursue. 

3. Low code no code skills

In case you’re someone who doesn’t like coding, low code and no code skills are the right start for you.

With minimum or no coding you can use your creativity to build personal projects such as web applications. Most importantly, low code no code AI lets you build AI applications without any advanced skills and knowledge. 

Practical Work Exposure

1. Personal Projects

By equipping yourself with skills through bootcamps and online courses it’s important to use creative thinking to experiment with building different projects.

For example, after taking the AI bootcamp, you can build different computer vision and large language based projects. It’s important to note that the main mindset towards this should be learning, experimentation, challenging yourself and most importantly creating solutions for real world problems.

One thing our education system lacks is encouraging kids to solve real world problems and practically using the knowledge.

Start with a small project like building a calculator but consistently improve and experiment to build something unique. Although learning by following instructions is one way of doing things, experimenting yourself leads to exponential growth. 

2. Freelancing

On platforms like Upwork, doing freelancing can really boost your career. As it’s more about the skill and less about your age and educational background, freelancing is an optimal opportunity for high school students to gain work exposure.

Additionally, in this growing economic crisis it is becoming essential for kids to earn money and support themselves in university.

Especially for people opting for universities abroad, freelancing is a safer and easier way to support yourselves instead of getting into work permit complications as well as doing jobs which are irrelevant to your career path. This allows you to polish your technical skills alongside education. 

3. Internships

Summer internships are an excellent way to get valuable work experience. This step of moving from the classroom to the professional world prepares you for the real world experiences.

Moreover, by interacting with professional people you can get mentored as well as make connections which are valuable. Internship will also give you an edge while applying to competitive universities as it will showcase your dedication and willingness to learn and grow.

It’s also important to make the most out of your internship by documenting your entire journey and focusing more on learning rather than just getting the job done.


Research work: For highschoolers research is an important opportunity to broaden their knowledge and gain analytical, quantitative, and critical thinking skills. 

1. Research Programs

Research programs offered by the universities are an excellent opportunity to gain relevant experience in the interested field of study.

For example Lums summer research program is an opportunity for high schoolers to indulge in theoretical research, field and lab designs, data design, data collection etc.

Likewise, the RISE internship also offered by LUMS includes research and mentorship of LUMS faculty. Apart from these, international opportunities like RSI from MIT and lumiere research scholar program offered by Harvard and Oxford universities are an excellent opportunity for high schoolers.

This can improve critical thinking, scientific writing skills and data analysis skills, which can accredit students’ academic dedication to universities as well as broaden their knowledge and perspective. 

2. Working with professors

Another way to do research is to reach out to different university professors whose research work inspires you the most. A lot of professors are willing to guide and mentor students and show real interest in their academic work.

This can be done by sending out sincere and thoughtful emails to express your interests. It’s also important to showcase your relevant experiences and skillset to give them a reason to choose you.

Also, the experience gained through this can result in a more clear understanding of conducting research, as well as will help to make connections which can be helpful to get recommendations for the university. 

3. Personal Research project

Additionally, research on an individual level, through a personal project, can also be conducted to explore your topic of interest.

Choose a niche topic you’re passionate about and thoroughly research academic work done on it  to get the idea of what is presently known. Afterwards, it is important to plan out the tests and finalise the research methods.

All the steps taken should be recorded in detail and measures should be taken to ensure maximum accuracy and reliability. Lastly, the findings and conclusion should be mentioned in detail in a report or a presentation. 

Extra Curricular

1. National and international competitions

Through participation in international and national level olympiads, hackathons and other competitions, team building skills are developed alongside the technical and knowledge based skills.

Moreover, healthy competition builds confidence and promotes motivation. Apart from ensuring a better understanding of concepts and applications, the competitive environment prepares you for the workload demanded in university.

The participation in international hackathons and other coding and science competitions increases the exposure regarding the level of international competition that exists.

High schoolers should also participate in national level competitions conducted in local universities which can be a promising way to showcase their dedication while applying to universities.

2. School clubs and societies

It’s important to be an active member of your school clubs and societies such as science, debates and maths societies. Moreover, it is important to take new initiatives in case your school doesn’t have your desired society.

Take initiatives to start a society such as Artificial intelligence, Robotics, Arts etc. By being a part of a society, propose innovative ideas and strategies regarding team building and successful participation in different competitions.

Additionally, organise seminars and workshops by collaborating with your school’s administration. Engagement in discussions regarding different topics relevant to the society is also important to promote critical thinking and knowledge sharing.

STEM societies members should ideally engage in experiments and group projects which will allow them to gain out of text book skills. Moreover, it will give an edge while applying to universities.

It’s important to note that the key is to utilise the maximum resources available and to always take initiatives to create opportunities rather than relying only on existing ones.  

3. Volunteering

Community service is an excellent opportunity to gain more awareness regarding different problems in the community. It also promotes empathy for the underprivileged and motivates individuals to do something for others.

This can involve teaching kids in orphanages, planting trees, raising awareness, collecting funds etc. This can be done by being an active part of different non-profit and student body organisations.

Moreover, it’s also a good idea to use your skills like coding to benefit the marginalised communities of society.

Apart from helping to bridge the existing societal gap, it equips the future leaders, engineers, policy makers, and educationists to understand the disparities that exist within their societies and come up with better solutions which can help people.

Community service can also be done through volunteering in the hospitals and different government institutes. Thus, one should utilise their skills and knowledge of any area to benefit those around them to the fullest.

Apart from resulting in personal development,  collaborative, communication, and leadership skills are also formed, which ultimately helps in universities. 

Personal Development

1. Communication skills

It’s important to have good communication skills to compete in the rapidly evolving world and to effectively get your point across.

Writing can be improved not only through reading and journaling, but also by indulging in your school’s newsletter or even through volunteering for different writing related opportunities.

Language fluency and becoming articulate is important, which can be done by participation in public speaking activities like Model United Nations, and debates. 

2. Time Management

The highschool journey should ideally prepare you for the high workload required in university education. Thus building time management skills is the key towards that.

By using tools like Notion, it’s important to streamline tasks and ensure better management. Moreover, methods like pomodoro technique, and time boxing can help with efficient management. Procrastination should be avoided by properly prioritising your tasks. 

3. Linkedin

It’s also important to showcase your skills and experiences along with the journey of acquiring them on linkedin.

This is important for building connections and a network which promotes healthy competition and growth. Moreover, by joining platforms like linkedin it can be easier to know about new opportunities and get guided by experienced professionals. 

4. Computer skills

It’s also important to familiarise yourself with Microsoft and Google tools such as Word, Excel and Docs. This can be done by learning through youtube or other free courses.