When you have to work on weekends or after school, it can be somewhat impossible to participate in extracurricular activities. Being a part of a marching band, theater cast, or sports team will not be a viable option for you.

The reality is that several students are entrusted with supporting their families. As a result, they may have to find jobs, help around the house, or assist with the family business.

These responsibilities can keep them from joining the swim team or chess club. But how will this phenomenon affect your college application?

Well, the answer is that competitive colleges search for students that boast significant involvement in extracurricular.

Therefore, those that cannot partake in these activities may see themselves as handicapped in the race for degree program spots.

However, you may not know that almost all colleges recognize the significance of having a job. Furthermore, they also look for personal growth that only comes through work experience.

One woman writing in a notebook while the other reads a documents
If you want to know how to improve your college application, try to get a part-time job or an internship. Having a job adds a shine to your college application and increases your chances of getting into your preferred college (Source: Unsplash)
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Other Aspects Considered By Admissions Departments

Social media involvement is also known to play a significant factor in college application. However, it can also hurt your chances.

This is especially true if you have a history of posting and sharing problematic narratives. Also, if you’ve been open about your disdain for your job on social media, admissions officers may think twice.

Additionally, the admission staff looks for students with diverse backgrounds and interests, and indeed work experience provides one piece of the overall equation.

Institutes Prefer Students With Work Experience

Someone working fifteen hours every week at a departmental store can compete with someone who has a leading role in the annual school theater production.

This is because both are learning experiences, but the job entails real-world pressure. Of course, colleges want to enroll actors, musicians, and athletes; however, they also look for students with practical experience.

Remember, even when your work experience hasn’t been intellectually or academically challenging, it still holds great value.

Let us go through some reasons why job experience stands out on your application for college:

Teaches Teamwork

Students with job experience have essentially learned to work as part of a team. You cannot work selfishly as an employee since success is dependent on working well with your colleagues.

These collaborative skills ultimately translate to you working well with other students. It tells admissions officers that you can:

  • Negotiate various issues
  • Recognize the impact of your actions on others
  • Work on group projects

Time-Management Skills

High school students that have successfully held down a job for a substantial amount of time prove that they can effectively manage their time.

Doing well in school while devoting significant hours to your work is an immense challenge. Therefore, efficient time management is also another vital skill that will ultimately lead to your college success.

Teaches Discipline

Even a small job like flipping burgers at a burger joint or washing dishes provides value to your application.

You learn ways to be responsible, make sacrifices to achieve long-term goals, and serve others. Maturity and work experience tend to go together.

Helps You Value Your Education

When you work to save money for college, you will value every resource, facility, teacher, and opportunity you get there.

Thinking that your hard-earned money is going towards your education shows the admission committee that you will be entirely committed to your education.

They want candidates not to be entitled to a college education; instead, it is one of those things that you must work hard to make happen.

This commitment represents great value for the college committee regarding graduation rates, retention rates, and overall student success.

Shows That You Have Practical Perspective

Lastly, in the eyes of the college admission committee, you carry a perspective that many other aspirants do not.

As someone with a job, you have personally experienced the type of work many people do without having a college degree.

Therefore, you will have higher motivation to succeed in college and go on to work in a job that is more satisfying personally.

Two women talking to each other while one of them takes notes.
There is great importance of student involvement in college, but you have to get through your application process before any of that. It is not easy to get a good job in high school; your college application does not need your job credentials; instead, they ask about what life skill you learned (Source: Unsplash)
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Whether Some Jobs Are Better Than Others For Your College Admission

Any job, including the ones at a local grocery store and a burger joint, is technically a plus in your college application.

As discussed above, your work experience says so much about your discipline and your potential for success in college.

However, with that being said, some work experiences do accompany added benefits. Consider these following job descriptions to prepare better for your college admission

Jobs Showing Entrepreneurial Ability

It is awe-inspiring for the admission committee if you have an entrepreneurial mind and start your small business, whether mowing lawns or making jewelry.

Entrepreneurs are known to be self-motivated and creative, a quality that makes into great college students.

Jobs Giving Leadership Experience

Colleges look to enroll future leaders, and your present job will show your potential to the committee on this front.

It usually is not possible for an eighteen-year-old part-timer to become a manager. However, some jobs will have you calling the shots. This includes being a:

  • Camp counselor
  • Academic tutor
  • Lifeguard

In various other jobs, you can also ask your shift supervisor to give you added responsibilities. Therefore, you may be able to train new employees or help the organization gain outreach in the community.

A person writing something on paper with a pen
If you want to know how to improve your college application, get a job. However, knowing which career to choose will enhance your application. Your leadership abilities and creative thinking acquired from your job will ultimately help you in your process (Source: Unsplash)

Jobs That Give Field-Specific Experience

Suppose you have a purpose and sense of what you want to study, whether business, art, medicine, English, chemistry, or any other major. Having work experience in a specific field will go on well with the admission committee.

Many students only want to pursue medicine due to its attractive salary package and not because they love the profession or sciences.

However, an applicant that has worked in any hospital and acquired hands-on experience will become a much more compelling and informed applicant.

Just like that, a future computer science major who has active work experience in tech support will provide a convincing and well-informed application.

Internships

As a student still in high school with a very thin resume with no relevant work experience, you might find it challenging to get a job in your study area. However, an internship can be an option for you.

Most of the internships are unpaid; nonetheless, they are pretty valuable.

The hours you will spend working at a law firm, chemistry lab, or publishing house will open various doors to future opportunities.

It will also provide you with an in-depth knowledge of your academic field (which most college applicants will not have).

And even if working as an unpaid intern is not your cup of tea, you can try to divide your time; do twelve hours a week in a paid job and 6 hours a week working as an intern.

What About Extracurricular Activities?

The most common question asked by college aspirants is, “if I work during my extra time to polish my application, what should I add to the extracurricular section of the application?”

The good news is that internship and work (paid) are both listed under the ‘activities’ section. Therefore, working in a job means that the extracurricular activity portion of your application will not go blank.

However, some schools have work experiences and extracurricular activities as entirely separate application sections.

The reality behind it all is that you might also be pursuing different extracurricular activities alongside a job. And some institutes prefer that.

If you think about it, there is an extensive range of activities that count as extracurricular. Therefore, you will find that there are multiple items that you can list in that application section.

Furthermore, it is also imperative to understand that not participating in various after-school activities does not preclude you from involvement in extracurricular activities.

Students governments, music bands, and National Honor Society membership are things you can do outside of school and still add to your extracurriculars.

Other activities like your summer volunteer work or involvement in local church activities can typically be scheduled around your work commitments.

College Applications And Work

Having a job will not weaken your college application. As a matter of fact, you can strengthen your college application by leveraging your work experience.

Moreover, your work experience can give you excellent material for your college application essay and personal statement.

And if you have continuously maintained a tremendous academic record, the college you are applying to will be impressed by your discipline.

Furthermore, you can also try to maintain various extracurricular activities. However, there is nothing wrong with using your job to show that you are a mature, responsible, and well-rounded applicant.

Remember, guidance before applying for college is critical, but proper advisors might be hard to find.

Therefore, you can get in touch with hundreds of tutors from Superprof near you and understand the importance of student involvement in college and how to improve your college application.

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