High School Jobs Improve College Applications
By Dr. Gina La Monica
Getting a job has enormous benefits for high school students along with impressing the college admissions staff. Colleges recognize the commitment, personal growth, and maturity it takes to maintain employment during a student’s high school years. Hence, working gives students an advantage not only for their college applications but also in life in general.
With the advent of COVID, many employers lost their dedicated middle-aged workers. As a result, this gave a segment of our population an employment opportunity: high school students. Never before could a high school student get hired instantly at the first interview. Many of them are taking advantage of this rare opportunity not only to improve their “soft skills,” but to increase their chances of admission to highly competitive colleges.
I have seen firsthand the beneficial influence employment has on college admissions. Many of my clients who have maintained a job throughout high school have been admitted into highly competitive colleges that were thought to be unreachable. It is now one of my prerequisites for college admissions; all clients must be employed. This is a paradigm shift from 10 years ago when none of my clients ever had jobs, but college admission is a very different construct now than before.
What type of job looks best on college applications? If possible, find employment or an internship related to your field or major. For example, if you plan on majoring in business, find a position in an organization that will advance your skills and knowledge in this field. This experience and personal growth can then be detailed in your college essays describing your journey navigating through the world of work.
Other worthwhile jobs include ones that build character and attributes that colleges are looking for, such as leadership, teamwork, work ethic, and social consciousness. Moreover, seek a position that will teach you the skills and knowledge you would like to strengthen or learn - that will not only help you get into college but benefit you personally. Restaurants are one of my favorite recommendations for employment because you must have effective “soft skills” to survive. Therefore, if you can work successfully at a restaurant, you can work anywhere.
The transformation a student goes through from working is priceless; this experience will have everlasting effects throughout one’s lifetime. As an educator, I can always quickly identify those students who have jobs from those who do not. These students tend to be more responsible, have an exceptional work ethic, and most importantly, demonstrate emotional intelligence.
As you prepare for the college admissions process, remember employment is as or more important to have listed on your college application. It will give you a significant advantage over other applicants in this overly competitive college admissions climate.
Website of the Week: https://blog.collegevine.com/good-jobs-college-applications/
Dr. Gina La Monica has a Doctorate in Education and has worked as a high school counselor, college administrator, and professor at many universities and colleges including the University of California, Los Angeles, California Lutheran University, California State University, Northridge, San Diego State University, etc. She was a tenured professor and an expert in career technical education and adult learning. She currently teaches at a local college and helps students of all ages from kindergarten to the university level with career exploration, college admissions, learning assessment, tutoring, and education plans.