Why You Should Encourage Your Teen to Get a Summer Job


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With summer here, nudging your teen to seek a summer job or internship can be daunting. While they’ve worked hard during the school year, balancing academics and extracurriculars, it’s natural to wonder if they should take a break or continue working. However, as an admissions counselor, I can assure you there are several benefits to teens getting jobs or internships in the summer, not only for enhancing their college applications and resumes but also for enriching their skill set for future endeavors. Here, we’ll explore three such benefits.

Related: How Your Business Can Benefit From a Micro-Internship Program

1. Skill development

Getting your teen involved in a structured workplace this summer can accelerate their skill development. While they can hone their academic skills in the classroom, work settings offer a unique environment to enhance their social and professional skills. Internships, in particular, provide practical experience that goes beyond academic learning. Teens have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge in real-world settings, which can deepen their understanding and enhance their problem-solving skills. However, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea of finding the most prestigious internship. Still, the truth is that any job experience will help them learn how to communicate effectively, collaborate with a team, manage their time and work well under pressure.

Take a student who starts at the lowest level in a restaurant, for instance. They can work their way up, showcasing increased leadership and the ability to work in a high-pressure environment. These experiences are eye-opening and help build a versatile skill set. I always advise students that they can work in places like a pizza shop or retail store, where they will interact with diverse people, take on more responsibilities and demonstrate real growth, all of which enrich their resume.

Related: Do I Really Have To Pay My Interns? What Business Owners Need to Know About Internships and Labor Laws

Colleges also understand the significance of these experiences, which is why career centers are dedicated to connecting students with suitable opportunities. These experiences help students understand their interests, professional dynamics, good work ethics, and how to build essential relationships for their future careers. Students can begin building their professional networks in high school by connecting with mentors and professionals who can guide them in their career paths. This early exposure to the professional world can be a significant advantage, setting them apart from their peers and laying a strong foundation for future success and better opportunities in college and beyond.

2. Application building and interview experience

Internships at prestigious companies, like major banks and consulting firms, are renowned for their fierce competition and, thus, undoubtedly look good on college applications. However, these positions also often involve rigorous screening and interviewing processes, compelling students to work hard to craft impressive applications.

Gaining this experience can be invaluable for teens, allowing them a chance to present themselves as top applicants in an increasingly selective college admissions landscape. As I’m sure we can all remember, first interviews tend to be our worst. However, experiencing them in high school allows teens to improve over time. By the time college interviews roll around, they’ll be more confident and prepared to make a good impression on the admissions officers. This early preparation can help your teen learn how to articulate their achievements and goals effectively, further refining their communication skills. Considering that confidence, communication, and competence are essential in college interviews, this practice can significantly affect their chances of admission, potentially leading to more acceptance.

Related: 16-Year-Old Interns in Singapore Are Managing Billion-Dollar Portfolios. Here’s Why.

3. Financial empowerment

Financial skills are increasingly important for young adults, but they aren’t taught in the classroom. While most internships available for high school students are unpaid, there are paid opportunities out there that your teen can pursue.

Having income from their summer employment can help teens better understand the importance of financial responsibility and the value of hard work. It’s an excellent time for us parents to introduce them to healthy spending habits and the basics of investing. To stay afloat in today’s economic climate, teens as young as 16 have their parents set up savings and investment accounts on their behalf to begin building their wealth early.

Given the skyrocketing cost of tuition, this is a smart strategy for teens and parents. By setting goals to invest a portion of their monthly earnings, they can establish good financial habits that will serve them well throughout college and beyond. While they may not be earning significant interest initially, these habits can continue into college, giving them a substantial financial cushion in the future.

Final thoughts

While letting your teen relax and unwind this upcoming summer is tempting, getting them involved in a summer job or internship is a wise investment. It will help them develop critical professional and social skills to better prepare them for college applications and lead to greater financial responsibility. These skills will equip them for a smoother transition into adulthood, ensuring they’re prepared and poised for success.

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