How to Make the Most of an After School Job
Whether it’s bussing tables at a local restaurant or babysitting your neighbor’s kids, after school jobs are an excellent opportunity for students to gain real-life experience while getting a head start on savings.
While any work experience can be extremely valuable for high school students, there are several ways to go the extra mile and utilize your work experience throughout the college application process. Keep reading for tips on how to make the most of a part-time job and ways to incorporate this experience into your applications!
Choose Something That Relates Your Interests
Much like extracurricular activities and community service, the most meaningful job opportunities are often ones that relate back to your key interests. Instead of signing up for the first after school position available, reflect on your passions and what kinds of positions will closely relate to them. A student who is interested in pursuing a career in education may wish to look for tutoring or camp counselor jobs, while someone who’s more fashion-oriented may prefer a role in retail.
When it comes to starting a job, evaluate how much time you can realistically devote to work and what your schedule might look like. Some students may wish to work additional hours to boost their earnings, but it is important to remember that school comes first. Before committing to a work schedule, set aside ample time for your current obligations including after school activities and test prep. It is often better to start off slow and increase your work hours if you have additional time than to take on too much and feel overwhelmed.
Keep a Work Diary
Some students may discover that their after school job is a meaningful learning experience that allows them to broaden their horizons and connect with people of different ages and backgrounds. If this is the case, you may choose to reference your work in a college essay. In order to write about this vividly and reflect on what you have learned, it may be helpful to keep a diary detailing your experience. Even if you choose to write about something else, journaling about a job can help you stay on top of your tasks and remember important details and procedures.
Make Connections on the Job
In order to gain the most from your work experience, don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and get to know your co-workers, supervisors, and clients/customers. A job can be an excellent opportunity to build your collaboration and leadership skills, especially because many positions employ a diverse set of workers with different ages and experiences. Be sure to stay in touch with supervisors, particularly if you work closely with them, as they can become great resources for internships and serve as future references.
Seek Out Growth Opportunities
Instead of viewing your job as a paycheck, think of it as an opportunity to learn in a new environment. While some positions may include more mundane tasks like sorting clothes or cleaning dishes, most jobs will also require you to pick up something new. Pay attention to details regarding tasks and ask questions during your first few weeks. As you become more familiar with the day-to-day responsibilities associated with your position, look for opportunities to enhance your skill set and continue learning. Reach out to your supervisor to brainstorm ways you can contribute you more to the company while also building up your own set of competencies.
Juggling a job, schoolwork, and extracurricular activities isn’t always easy, but it can be worthwhile, especially if you stay organized and plan ahead. If you feel overwhelmed, our team of tutors and admissions counselors can help you re-vamp your work habits and create a balanced list of after-school activities and commitments.