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How does My Summer Job Effect College Admissions?


Every student hopes to balance rich extracurricular activities with meaningful summer experiences. Where does a summer job fit in? Ideally every student would hold a summer job, while still leaving enough time for internship opportunities and volunteer work. With only so many hours in the day it can be difficult to choose the right mix of options.


If you are a successful student working this summer in industries such as fast food, life guarding, babysitting or landscaping, you may worry that how you are spending your summer will hurt your college admissions chances. Do not worry; your job may actually help bolster your college application. College admissions counselors realize that students need summer jobs to help pay for college, and these jobs often demonstrate a student’s maturity and college readiness.


There is a notion among high school students that every job and activity they perform must illustrate to colleges their eventual career choice. College admissions counselors understand that cutting grass, while a great way to earn money, is not reflective of one’s dream of becoming a microbiologist. Of course, if there are unpaid microbiology research opportunities that could also fit into the student’s schedule, it is certainly a bonus. But admissions counselors overwhelmingly state that there is no need to justify a “menial’ summer job on a transcript. They recognize that many positive values, like time management and work place cooperation are gained during summer jobs.

There are wonderful life lessons gained from volunteering at an orphanage in Africa or attending an elite summer program like Johns Hopkins Engineering Innovation. But admissions counselors know that such experiences are cost prohibitive for many high school students. They stress that contributions a student makes in one’s local community are equally important. If a student can demonstrate maturity and drive by obtaining and successfully performing a summer job, while pursuing internship opportunities and staying committed to volunteer activities during their high school career, they will be a very competitive college applicant.


If you are unsure of how your child should maximize a summer schedule, contact us. The Essential Colleges Coaches have met with admissions counselors across the country and will guide your student to make the optimal choice.


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