4 Important College Prep Skills You Can Learn From A Summer Job

Monday, April 9, 2018

summer job college prep skillsA Summer Job Can Help You Earn Some Extra Cash and Develop Skills That Will Take You Through the Admissions Process and College

Academic courses or summer programs and MOOCs aren’t the only options that students have in order stay productive or keep learning this summer. In addition to exploring your interests through summer activities, a summer job can help you develop a new skills that are sometimes difficult to develop inside the classroom. No matter the job, taking on a paid position with a defined set of responsibilities will challenge you in new and exciting ways.

While it’s important to continue to explore your interests over the summer through course work, a summer program or internship, or outside reading, the reality is that many teens will also choose to take on a summer job to make some extra money. Any job that requires filling out an application and working with a manager can build college prep skills that are beneficial not just in the admissions process but also in life.

The key to developing college prep skills at your summer job is to treat it as more than a paycheck and try to learn as much as possible from your coworkers, their experiences, and the work that you are doing. Most student-friendly jobs, like retail and food service, can help high schoolers develop the following college prep skills:

Time Management

Whether it’s dealing with multiple orders or answering the phone while ringing something up, most jobs require serious time management skills. You will learn how to check items off of your to-do list efficiently and complete multiple tasks within the same time frame. This also applies to your personal schedule, too. Balancing a job with differing shift schedules with your social life will help you learn how to prioritize, take responsibility for your commitments, and, most immortally, show up on time and prepared. This is key to managing your time and schedule in college, as varying class schedules will require you to be on top of your schedule and on time to class.

Attention to Detail

Your manager will notice if you don’t fold clothes exactly the right way. When you are getting paid to perform a task, you are expected to learn the proper way to do it. This type of attention to detail will help you perform well in the classroom as well as on your college applications because you are aware of how important it is to follow instructions and execute the tasks asked of you as best as you can. While picking up on small differences may seems tedious, attention to detail is a trait that is greatly valued by admissions officers, college professors, and bosses in almost every setting. Developing it early will give you an edge not only in the admissions process but in college, as well.


Dealing with an angry customer or collaborating with co-workers to problem solve and issue at work may be stressful, but it’s also a great learning experience. Thinking of a solution for multiple situations and learning to interact professionally with different kinds of people will be beneficial for a variety of career paths. Collaboration is also key during the admissions process, as you will be working with your college counselor, teachers, parents, admissions officers, and more to make sure your application is complete and reflects the best version of you. Conflict resolution and problem solving are also skills that can help you have a rewarding college experience, as you deal with roommates, professors, group projects, and more.


Pretty much every job requires you to think on your feet from time to time. Whether it is coming up with a unique solution based on a customer’s request or merchandising product in a new way, a summer job will teach you how to be creative in a professional setting. This is especially beneficial when writing college application essays or making an impact in your extracurricular activities.

The skills you can develop from a variety of summer jobs are just as important as the job itself. A student who uses this opportunity to learn about their community and get a jumpstart on picking up real-world skills can rest assured that they were productive and learned a lot during their summer break!

At IvyWise we work with students to help them determine the best and most productive ways to spend their summer break. A part-time summer job is a great way to build additional skills that will help them become better students and employees. In addition to a summer job, students should continue to engage in their current activities and develop their interests. Contact us today for more information on how we can help you create a productive summer plan that will help you stand out when it comes time to apply to college.

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