Summers just aren’t what they used to be for high school students, especially if they want to get into their dream school. Should your child get a job? Should they consider other extracurriculars? A summer paycheck is unquestionably important when college tuition is high and money is tight. But if parents can afford to pay their teen’s way through college, they may wonder if their teen should be spending the summer pursuing something else. Parents eyeing college admissions often think volunteer work, internships, or team sports appear more impressive on their child’s application, and depending on the type it might be, but a hard earned job with a letter of recommendation from their boss will likely be equally impressive.
The value of a summer job goes beyond money earned. Your teenager will likely not lose the favor of most college admissions officers when they choose a paying job instead of an unpaid internship or volunteer work. While elite colleges may give more weight to an internship that directly correlates to their major, most schools value both options equally when evaluating candidates. Both choices demonstrate they didn’t devote their entire summer vacation to playing video games.
Your teenager shouldn’t pass up the important life skills they can learn working a paid or non paid summer job.
Summer Jobs Improve Academic Performance
Summer jobs pay off by helping high school and college students improve their classroom performance, according to Stanford University research. Academic performance especially improves among lower-income teens who find seasonal work.
Working a summer job helps teens build skills sought after by employers in the real world. Working students can demonstrate their work ethic and good work habits. They are able to show they have experience working as part of a team and cooperating with co-workers.
Teens who find summer jobs learn how to communicate with customers, solve problems, stay calm under pressure, and accept criticism from bosses. A summer job can teach students how to listen, write and think critically. Working teens learn even more skills on how to follow through on their commitments and responsibilities.
Soft Skills Serve Well in Future Jobs
These are all vital “soft skills” that are just as important in the job market as knowing how to do the job itself. These basic skills and habits can be acquired at almost any job, and they will serve teens well on most jobs they will hold in the future.
Although these ”soft” job skills are considered fundamental, many employers don’t think new potential hires have them. Only 42.5% of employers surveyed in a recent study said recent college graduates are proficient in work ethic and professionalism, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2018. The bosses’ outlook contrasts starkly with the 89.4 percent of surveyed recent grads who gave themselves passing marks.
The survey results indicate that young employees who have learned to show up on time and meet their job responsibilities with professionalism are probably ahead of the game. No matter what your high school teenager does this summer, be sure it is something that will teach them important skills. Playing team sports, attending an academic summer program, volunteering, working, and interning are all things that colleges like seeing on applications, so why not try more than one!