Maximizing Your Time at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology

Krishna Cart's two sons are both TJ alumni. The Masterpiece Academy (aka Young Scholars Circle) has successfully been preparing TJ students for more than a decade since 2009.
Krishna Cart's two sons are both TJ alumni. The Masterpiece Academy (aka Young Scholars Circle) has successfully been preparing TJ students for more than a decade since 2009.
Congratulations on your acceptance to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST)!
As you embark on this exciting academic journey, it's essential to consider how you can maximize your high school experience. The Masterpiece Academy, with over a decade of experience preparing students for TJHSST and insights from alumni, offers the following tips on choosing extracurricular activities that enhance your learning and strengthen your college applications.

1. Choose Clubs That Align With Your Interests

TJHSST offers a wide range of after-school clubs and activities. When choosing, consider what truly interests you rather than what might look best on a college application. Whether it’s robotics, debate, or environmental science, engaging deeply in an area you are passionate about will be more fulfilling and impressive to colleges.

The Robotics Club at TJHSST is renowned for its competitive edge and innovative projects. Participation in this club could be a great asset if you are interested in engineering or computer science.

MIT Campus Photo
MIT Campus Photo

2. Balance is Key

While joining numerous clubs and activities is tempting, quality trumps quantity. Focus on a few activities where you can take on leadership roles or make a significant impact. This approach allows you to manage your time effectively and demonstrates your commitment and leadership skills to colleges.

Additionally, maintaining this balance is crucial for managing your academic responsibilities, particularly your GPA, which is a critical factor in college admissions. Colleges consider your GPA a strong indicator of your academic ability and discipline, often weighing it alongside your extracurricular commitments to gauge your readiness and fit for their programs. Thus, it is essential to strike a balance that allows you to excel both in and outside the classroom.


Krishna Cart, CEO of The Masterpiece Academy and parent to two TJHSST alumni, strongly advises students to limit their involvement to three clubs. This strategy ensures that students can dedicate sufficient time and energy to each, allowing for meaningful contributions and leadership opportunities within these activities.

3. Engage in Academic Competitions

TJHSST students can participate in various academic competitions, such as Math Olympiad, Science Bowl, or CyberPatriot. These competitions allow you to showcase your skills at a higher level and often provide valuable networking opportunities with professionals and other talented students.


4. Enrich Your Writing Skills 

Strong writing skills are crucial for success in numerous areas: crafting compelling college and internship applications, submitting articles to the school newspaper 'TJ Today,’ and excelling in humanities courses. Masterpiece Academy offers specialized summer research and writing classes on developing analytical and persuasive writing abilities. These classes provide students with the tools needed to articulate their thoughts clearly and effectively, an invaluable skill in any academic or professional field.


Keep a detailed record of your activities, achievements, and lessons learned from each experience. This will be invaluable when you write your college application essays and prepare for interviews.

A well-maintained portfolio detailing your high school journey can be a compelling narrative of your growth and explorations.

Enrolling in the Masterpiece Academy's summer writing workshop can help you craft essays that stand out in your college applications. Contributing well-written articles to 'TJ Today' can enhance your portfolio and showcase your communication skills.

Teenagers Young Team Together Cheerful Concept

5. Leverage Unique Summer Activities & Internships

 Krishna Cart's youngest son, JR, exemplifies the impact of exceptional internships. JR was accepted into the prestigious MIT Introduction to Technology, Engineering, and Science (MITES) program, where he completed a challenging internship and won an award for his outstanding contributions. Furthermore, his participation in a hackathon led to a first-place victory, showcasing his innovative thinking and technical prowess.


Exploring internships similar to the competitive MITES program can provide invaluable real-world experience and significantly boost your academic resume.


Krishna’s eldest son, Aldrayne, likewise pursued unique opportunities by securing an MIT Architecture internship program spot.  Additionally,  he volunteered alongside college and graduate interns in a scuba diving cleanup project in the Mediterranean Sea in Spain, showcasing his dedication to environmental conservation and community service. This experience enriched his academic journey and highlighted his ability to collaborate on significant global initiatives.


Look for internships that align with your academic interests and participate in global volunteer opportunities to broaden your experiences and contributions to societal issues.

By following these tips from The Masterpiece Academy, you can ensure that your time at TJHSST is academically enriching and profoundly rewarding, preparing you for college and beyond. 


Remember, it’s about finding a balance that works for you and allows you to thrive personally and academically. We are proud of you and wish you the best at TJHSST!

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