There are almost as many reasons students work summer jobs as there are types of summer jobs available. But no matter what type of summer job you do, or why you do it, you can make it work for you on your college applications. Maybe you work a summer job as a short-order cook at a fast food restaurant because you need to earn money. Maybe you work a summer internship at a local television station because you’re interested in a career in video production. In either case, you are learning valuable skills and life lessons. It’s all a matter of how you frame it to admissions counselors.
Here’s an example: You have an interest in chemical engineering so you manage to get a summer job in the lab of a local chemical plant. This is great on a lot of levels. You’re learning soft skills, showing responsibility, and earning money. But, you’ll also show colleges that you’ve taken the time to gain valuable insight into the career path that interests you. A bonus: You’ll also develop your networking skills
Here’s another example: You land a job as a counselor at a summer camp for kids but your career interest trends toward a field of study in finance. How do you make this work for you on your college application? First off, you’re developing transferable skills; things like prioritizing, time management and interpersonal skills are important in any career. You’ll also be an authority figure with a huge amount of responsibility to the children you work with. Even cashing your check at the end of the pay period can pay off for you on your college application. Colleges will appreciate that you are taking steps toward ensuring financial responsibility for yourself.
Your summer job can help you learn a lot about yourself. Perhaps you think you want to go into the field of geology. You end up with a summer job at your local grocery store where you find yourself regularly helping the senior citizens that shop there. You could realize that you feel a sense of satisfaction every time you help them and a sense of giving back to the community that you hadn’t considered before. This new knowledge could lead to a change of heart about your career path. Understanding how to put it into words on your college applications can make a difference to a college counselor.
Lack of Extracurricular Activities
Many students may worry that getting a job will mean they don’t have time for extracurricular activities and organizations that they assume all colleges are looking for students to have. But the college admissions process is not a formula. They are looking for students who are going to bring something to their campus. Students who are well-rounded individuals, who are ambitious, and who have a curiosity about the world around them are going to catch the attention of admissions counselors. The student who spends the summer at home lounging on the couch and playing video games is not such a head-turner!
Putting it in Perspective
In the end, it’s all in how you interpret your experience on your admission application. When you look at your work experience as more than just a job and as a life lesson instead, you’ll be taking the first step in making it work for you when it comes to admissions applications. College Foundation of North Carolina offers a lot of tools that will help you with college admissions and career choices. Check us out at www.cfnc.org.