The Advantages of Having a Job Before College

Preparing for can be an all-consuming endeavor. There are the extracurricular activities, the volunteer work and of course, the heavy courseload. On top of this hectic schedule, teens often choose to secure employment as a way of earning their own paycheck and establishing independence from their parents. Whether teens are working a summer at the local ice-cream shop or logging hours as a receptionist after school, they can learn valuable skills to serve them well into adulthood.

    Enhanced College Applications

Students who work may stand out more to college admissions officers, according to Seth Allen, dean of admission and financial aid at Grinnell College. Having a job on your college application shows you’re motivated, responsible and independent — all attractive qualities in a candidate for admission. In addition, having a paid job can provide the training for them to apply their college education to the real world.
    Extra Money

Having a job isn’t just a way to finance your shopping trips and social outings. You can also put the money you earn into a savings account to help you pay for college tuition, books and other expenses. That way, you won’t have to depend on your parents as much or apply for as many loans.
    Work Experience

Working at a job before college exposes you to the ins and outs of the working world. Even if you don’t pursue a career in the field you’re working, you can pick up important skills to transfer to any workplace. In fact, teens who work master key soft skills such as showing up on time and working well with supervisors and co-workers, according to Jeylan Mortimer, a sociology professor and director of the Life Course Center at the University of Minnesota. Mortimer also found in her research, published in her 2005 book, “Working and Growing Up in America,” that jobs allow teens to gain greater self-esteem.
    Improved Multitasking Skills

When teens have jobs before college, they learn how to juggle school with work, along with their social commitments and personal lives. That balancing act is something they will likely encounter throughout their lives. They will also be able to prioritize more effectively in college, because they’ll be drawing on the lessons gained from working during high school.

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