background image

Coding Your Way to College: How Aspiring STEM Students Can Set Themselves Apart

17 JAN 2021

Do you have dreams of pursuing a degree in technology or engineering? From computer science and software engineering to app development and UX design, coding has become an increasingly valuable and versatile skill — and learning to code early can set you up for success at university and beyond!

For students interested in STEM, coding capabilities can go a long way on college applications. On the practical front, learning to code as a high school student will give you a headstart on the skills you’ll be taught in your college classes and, by extension, the skills you’ll need for internships and jobs down the road. What’s more, on the college application front, knowing how to code indicates that you have a sense of self-discipline, can solve obscure problems and are eager to tackle complex tasks.

There’s a wide range of opportunities available for students who want to learn to code, but figuring out where to start or how to make the best use of your newfound skill can be challenging. In high school, it’s important to build your college application around this unique capability if you want it to set you apart from the competition — that way, your strengths will shine and admissions officers will understand the roadmap you’ll follow as a student on their campus.

At Crimson, we’re experts in identifying students’ strengths and passions and channeling them into robust college applications that help students stand out. If you’re keen to explore the world of coding, we’re here to help you navigate it — and to help get you started, we’ve compiled some tips from a few of the accomplished students Crimson has welcomed as guests on our Top of the Class podcast.

Self-Learning

While many students can benefit from coding camps and classes, for those with more self-directed tendencies, coding is a self-learner’s paradise. With thousands of YouTube videos, short-courses and free uni courses on offer, the sky's the limit. Not to mention, being self-taught illustrates a high degree of dedication and initiative!

Satvik, whom we chatted with on episode 21, is a diehard Marvel fan who started learning to code when he decided to try and recreate Ironman’s artificial intelligence program, Jarvis. From there, he taught himself 14 different programming languages and developed two apps for the Google Assistant — one of them being a Marvel Super Quiz that has reached nearly a million downloads! On Top of the Class, he shares his tips for self-learning, his favourite coding language and more.

Advocacy

Another string to Satvik’s coding bow is that he started the Techvik blog to share his love of all things computer science, coding and artificial intelligence. The blog now has 70+ contributors and readers from all around the world! The blog has become a service of sorts, where people can go to learn about a wide variety of tech related topics.

Another way to take your coding hobby a step further is to get involved in student-run organisations like Elevate the Future, which explores the intersection of business and tech. In episode 2, Ellen Xu, the Global Director of Elevate the Future, shared how she has been using her love of tech and algorithms to solve real world problems including the diagnosis of rare heart diseases. Both Satvik and Ellen turned their passions into tangible projects, which is a surefire way for students to stand out.

Entrepreneurship

With a strong foundation in coding, your abilities may even lead you in an entrepreneurial direction. In episode 17, Australian student Nick Mihailou shared his journey from creating his first gaming app to now having his own app development company. And in episode 19, Kaushal Reddy Ottem shared insights into his coding journey after creating two companies and fast-tracking his education to Harvard Business School at the age of 17. Both students have in common a belief that in the world of coding, age is just a number and being a student shouldn’t limit your business aspirations.

No matter how you look at it, the best way to turn your passion into the cornerstone of a successful college application is to find unique and authentic ways to showcase your knowledge and dedication. For students with ambitions in STEM, learning to code could be a perfect place to get a headstart! Curious how to begin your coding journey, find opportunities for young people in coding, or discover the universities where coding skills are highly sought after? Crimson can help. To learn more, click the link below to schedule a free consultation with one of our Academic Advisors.

Alex is the co-host of the Top of the Class Podcast

Written by

Alex C.

Alex Cork manages the Top of the Class podcast and has worked in the education sector for 10 years. He has interviewed more than 300 students and has a genuine curiosity in student achievement whether this be in sport, music, extracurriculars, academics, business or activism.

Want to turn your extracurriculars into a successful college application?

Crimson Education is the world's leading university admissions support company helping students get into universities like Stanford, Cambridge, Yale and more!