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Your Network is Your Net Worth: 6 Tips to Help Grow Your Network



The Value of Your Network

Have you heard the saying “your network is your net worth” and questioned what that actually means? Networking is important because the connections you have can make or break your access to opportunities. 


Many summer programs and college applications request letters of recommendation from individuals that can speak to your character and work ethic. While the strength of your academics is important, the connections you have are equally valuable. Having esteemed individuals that can vouch for you and what you will contribute to a program’s community is crucial! Great letters of recommendations are a direct reflection of the value of your network. Letters of recommendations aren’t the only reward—access to educational opportunities, such as research and internships, can come from your network as well. 


So What is a Network?

We use the word network a lot, but what is a network? A network contains connections with individuals that may provide mentorship, advice, and knowledge. In turn, networking involves interacting with and exchanging ideas with individuals that have commonalities to your academic and career goals. You may network with teachers, your internship supervisor, a manager at work, or a fellow student that is interested in similar research. The point of networking is to establish a relationship with individuals that share interests and get to know them better. Networking is mutually beneficial—so much information, advice, and mentoring can be gained from networking.


Who Should Be in Your Network?

It is important to start growing your network as soon as possible, starting as early as 9th grade! Your network becomes your character witness as you start applications for summer programs or college. It is recommended that within your network you have at least one STEM teacher, one Humanities teacher, and one outside recommender (a supervisor, boss, coach, club advisor, etc).   


6 Tips to Help Grow Your Network


1. Attend events relevant to your major and interests

Examples of events can include school/community clubs, festivals, lectures, camps, and conferences. By attending events that are relevant to your interests, you can meet fellow students or adults that can share knowledge and resources. For example, you may create a relationship with a professor whose research you enjoy or find a fellow student to co-found a club with.


2. Develop an elevator pitch

An elevator pitch is about 30 seconds and explains who you are, where you go to school, and what your interests and goals are. Having your elevator pitch ready when you meet new individuals will help create connections right off the bat. 


3. Join school organizations and outside extracurriculars

Joining organizations increases your exposure to professionals and events and opportunities related to your interests. Not only does this increase your exposure, it also increases exposure to you and your skills. Connections are everywhere!


4. Reach out to a teacher for mentorship 

Starting at your high school is a great way to look for academic mentorship from a teacher. Find a teacher whose class you enjoy and whose area is relevant to your academic interests. Ask to schedule a meeting with them to share some of your goals and gain advice and mentorship. Utilizing these skills to network on a local level can increase your skills for when you reach out to a college professor or an internship program. 


5. Utilize networking platforms like LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great networking platform to join! These platforms allow you to create a profile that includes your education, career goals, skills, and more. There is also a feature that allows you to reach out to schools and companies for informational interviews about what they offer. You can build a “virtual network” by connecting with individuals that you know or those with relevant interests. You may connect with college professors, job recruiters, and more!


6. Be an active networker! 

Once you start gaining connections, it is important to maintain and manage them. Reach out often and stay in contact with your mentors, supervisors, etc. When attending camps, classes, or programs, ensure that you are engaged by asking questions and contributing to the environment. If you are looking for opportunities, reach out to your network first—they may be able to connect you with opportunities, but you won’t know until you ask! 


B2A is here to help! 

While this information can be overwhelming, we are here to help! We offer 1:1 counseling services for students to receive professional guidance and/or feedback on their application materials.


Our Steps Program for high school students grades 9th-11th, is a college admission counseling program that will help you get a head-start on planning for college admissions. You will meet with an experienced college counselor who will help you step-by-step in sculpting an outstanding academic and extracurricular resume. Our counselors provide 1:1 guidance on course selection, GPA management, internship placement, extracurricular selection, and more. 


Our Gateway program for high school seniors is designed to guide students through college admissions with a designated Gateway counselor. You'll plan and work on your applications and essays with someone who manages your entire college admissions strategy. Not only that, you'll get additional guidance from essay specialists and other counselors in classroom-setting workshops.


Click here for more information and to set-up an appointment with a B2A counselor today!

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