Whether you’re working this summer to save funds for college, or simply to earn a bit of spending money, your summer job can be another great resource for a strong college application. Even the most tedious of jobs, such as working fast-food, retail, or summer camps, can help you develop valuable skills and experience before head off to college.
Build Your Network
Bonding with your coworkers can not only make your job more enjoyable, but can also teach you a valuable lesson in teamwork, as well as build your connection to other students like yourself who will be entering the career workforce in 3-5 years. Take a moment to think about the people you’re working with and what you’ve learned from them. While you won’t be in your summer job forever, chances are you can walk away with a valuable life lesson that you’ve learned from working with your colleagues.
Keep The Education Mindset
While it might be tempted to put your brain on auto-pilot during the two months in which you’re flipping burgers, it would be a mistake. Your brain is a muscle, and like all muscles, it will atrophy if not used for long periods of time, leaving you struggling to get back into the educational mindset come September. Consider looking into learning opportunities at your summer job, whether it’s requesting additional training, cross-training for a different role in the same business, or taking on additional responsibilities in things like health and safety or inspections.
One of the reasons that large franchise chains are so successful is due to their focus on systems and training. As an employee, you have a front-row seat for learning how large corporations break down the components of running a successful business into discrete tasks and operations. Observing how they run their businesses and train their employees can be valuable knowledge whether you’re going to be navigating the college application system shortly, or you’re going to be looking at a business-related program after high school.
Keep Your Eye on the Prize
Often times, high school students are tempted to push off college for a year or two years when their employer from a summer job offers them a full-time position. While each scenario is different, if you find yourself in this position, ask yourself if the summer job that you’re doing is something that you would be happy doing for 10 years (the equivalent amount of time you would need to equal your college education), or whether it’s something you could consider doing part-time while in college. College graduates on average earn far larger incomes and have more employment opportunities than high school graduates; look at the big picture before you make a decision.