High School Students Passing Up Work Opportunities

High School Students Passing Up Work Opportunities
  • Opening Intro -

    Unlike college students who are eager to earn some money over the summer, high school students are much less likely to work, preferring to take on tasks designed to help them get admitted to college.

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H.S. students spurn summer work for other pursuits.

This follows a trend noted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and reported by “The Columbia Dispatch.” [1]

Summer Experience

Cutting lawns, working as lifeguards and cleaning off tables at fast food joints have been among the ways college bound students have earned money in summers past. Those funds have often been used to save toward college, but these days an increasing number of students are doing what it takes to build their college resumes.

Students are pursuing a variety of activities including participating in church mission trips, attending sports and academic camps, or volunteering. Each of these activities can help students as they apply to colleges or seek scholarships.

College Applicants

College entrance requirements are tough with many schools looking at what applicants have been doing with their time in and out of the classroom. While a summer job can certainly show initiative, applicants are expected to show much more including their contributions to the school and community. [2] Grades, test scores and college essay are important, but it could be just how you spent the summer between your junior and senior year that is of most interest to the committee that will review your college application.

College enrollment is up with record numbers of young people pursuing a degree. Admissions at most two-year public colleges is open, which means almost any student who wants to attend community college can do so.

For four-year institutions, particularly sought after private schools, the competition for open seats is stiff with some schools admitting fewer than one in 10 applicants. Indeed a March 2011 article in “The New York Times” has shown that Stanford University accepted just 7.07 percent of applicants, down from 26 percent just 25 years ago. [3]

Altruistic or Something Else?

Although volunteer work can certainly seem altruistic, not every activity pursued in the languid months of summer is. Sports camps can enable the volleyball player to hone her skills, improving upon her talents just enough to win a full Division 1 college scholarship. Science camp can help a student demonstrate that he has the engineering acumen to succeed on campus, providing a beneficial addition to his student body.

Regardless of the reasons why high school students choose other summer pursuits instead of working, the timing may not be so bad. Unemployment for teenagers far outpaces the general unemployment rate, giving college bound students one more reason to get prepared for college right now.

References

[1] The Columbus Dispatch; Summer Jobs Take a Back Seat for Teens Angling for College; Jeffrey Sheban; June 9, 2011

[2] Warren Wilson College: Application for Admission

[3] The New York Times; Why You Were Rejected; March 31, 2011

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