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Summer Work for High School Students And Beyond

Having a job builds critical skills for college students, even for students who are not enrolled in school full time, experts say. Sure, the money is a big motivator in most summer jobs for college students, but it’s really the lessons work offers that are most helpful. How can your student’s after-school or summer job help prepare them for success in college?

After-School Jobs and Summer Jobs for Students

“There is something about working that is just fantastically confidence building,” San Francisco-based dad Lloyd Leanse says. “It helps kids calibrate their place in the world in a way that school just doesn’t or at least doesn’t for a lot of people.

Indeed, Leanse has seen that with his youngest son, who  took the community-college route even before graduating from high school.

“He was taking classes on machining and using design software. But, he already knew how to do all that because he spent a lot of time at our local TechShop,” Leanse explains. “So he got interested in working and landed a paid product development internship with a new company started by an MIT engineer. He is so happy, and he’s using all these skills he’s developed.”

What’s more, he’s well positioned to apply to college engineering programs when he’s ready for that step. However, even when he does enroll in a bachelor’s program, says the 17-year-old, chances are he’ll continue to work.

“I’m open to the idea of full-time enrollment,” explains Matt. “But I believe that part-time enrollment combined with a part-time internship or apprenticeship will help me develop more applicable career skills.”

Work for students can help point them towards – or away – from possible career paths. P. Carol Jones, author of Toward College Success: Is Your Teenager Ready, Willing, and Able?, saw work play an important, albeit different, role in her own son’s journey. “When he moved back home, we told him he had to get a job. So, he took the first job he could find, which was selling high-end vacuum cleaners. He hated it. I bet he was in that job for two weeks before he came to us and said, ‘I want to go to college.’”

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