Some parents think that working hard in school is the key to having a strong college application, but jobs are incredibly valuable too. Having a job in high school can greatly increase your teen’s chances of getting into their dream school. Here’s five reasons why jobs help students get into more colleges.
It takes a large amount of student workers to make a college run, so colleges like applicants with job experience. Admissions centers are looking for students that can help the school be more successful by running student organizations such as service clubs, club sports, and more. Students that have prior job experience demonstrate that they know how to meet professional goals that will make student organizations run effectively and accomplish more. Colleges also employ a lot of students to help run different offices on campus, or work in service-related fields for the bookstore or on-campus café. Students with office or café experience, for example, might be seen as more valuable to the school.
The key to a good application is showing a well-rounded life, which means doing other things than just studying and getting good grades. Colleges like to see when applicants have experience working in their local community because it demonstrates they value other aspects of their life beyond academics. Whether your teen is volunteering or working for pay, the job experience speaks a lot to their character, which comes across in their application.
If your teen has a job that they really like in high school, it can help them decide on career paths and goals that they might want to express in their application. A student that can draw on their past experiences and use them to explain why a certain college or program will help them succeed is attractive to college admissions. Your teen could work for a small business in high school and use that to apply to business programs, with a clear idea of what they want to accomplish. This makes it easier for a school to want to accept them as they can be more certain your teen will be inspired to work hard in their program.
Working hard at a job can help your teen form positive professional relationships that they can use to get strong letters of recommendation. Most students get letters of recommendation from teachers and faculty that they connected with at school, but having an employer write a letter really stands out. It shows the school that your teen can be successful in multiple aspects of their life, and shows the kind of work ethic they can bring to the college. Having a diverse group of recommendations makes for a more successful application.
If your teen doesn’t know what to write about for their essay applications, jobs are an awesome source of inspiration. It allows teens to talk about times that they had to compromise to be successful, ways they had to overcome difficulty, and what lessons they gained from working in a professional space. Jobs are a place for teenagers to grow and learn more about the world, so expressing their lessons through an essay could give them a more unique voice than the other applicants. Plus, it might be more relatable to an admissions worker to hear about what a teen learned at work as opposed to lessons they learned in school.
Encourage Your Teen to Get a Job!
There are so many benefits your teen can get from a job, including having a better chance at getting into their ideal colleges. If your teen is defiant about getting a job, check out these tips. You might consider helping your teen find their first job to get them off on the right foot, so they will be excited about learning new skills and having more experience to express in a college application.
A job in high school can be a huge benefit for teenagers, and it can help them at getting into their ideal colleges.
Andy Earle is a researcher who studies parent-teen communication and adolescent risk behaviors. He is the co-founder of talkingtoteens.com and host of the Talking to Teens podcast, a free weekly talk show for parents of teenagers.