Summer Job Benefits and Why Your Student Needs One

A young waitress serving a customer at a restaurant.

For college and high school students, summers provide a welcomed respite from the rigors of the academic year. With a free schedule it is the perfect opportunity to find a summer job to earn some fun money for the upcoming year, and, most importantly, save for college.

With the rising costs of college tuition, room and board, and other living expenses, more and more students need summer jobs to help pay for their education. According to U.S. News, 72 percent of college students also work during the school year. However, no matter when your student works, having them help pay for college has benefits.

Three Benefits of a Summer Job

A student walking and contemplating education over student loan debt.

1. Reduces Student Loan Debt

Consumer Reports notes that the average four-year education at a state school costs more than $80,000; at a private university the costs double. In the end, the less money you borrow, the less money you’ll need to pay back, which is always a good thing. A summer job is one of the best ways to reduce student loan debt. The hours a student may work vary by age, but that has no bearing on allocating a portion of each paycheck to toward college funding or even more direct items such as textbooks, a college meal plan and required tech gadgets. While your student might not like this at first, they will come to appreciate not having the shadow of student loan debt after they graduate.

2. Learn How to Budget

A teen girl putting dollar banknote into glass jar.

Learning to budget and stay on track with your finances is an important life skill and one that can easily be taught with a summer job. Once your student begins, help them calculate their expected income for the rest of the summer. Then, decide what percentage from each paycheck is to be allocated to their college fund and what is for personal use. College students not living at home during the summer will also need to consider what portion to allocate toward utilities, rent and other living expenses. Having your student take responsibility to help pay for college will not only teach them how to budget effectively but will also help them develop practical money skills to carry into adulthood.

An apprentice mechanic working on a vehicle.

3. Develop Real-World Skills

Communication. Confidence. Independence. Balance. Teamwork. Time management. These are just a few of the skills learned through employment that are hard to learn in an academic setting. At a job, we learn how to communicate with co-workers and employers, and figure out how to balance a job with school or other activities. Plus, we discover what it’s like to be an independent adult. These experiences are gained through practice, bumps and all. For high school students, it is an excellent opportunity to build their resume, and could even provide a topic for that college essay or help them discover a career path. For college-age students, choosing a summer job in their field of study is an advantage as they move toward graduation and land their first job out of school.

As you begin talking about finding a summer job for your teen, review these articles from MoneyCrashers.com and ThePennyHoarder.com together. They even share tips for being pro-active to find that perfect summer job. For a summer job for your college student, these articles from BalanceCareers.com and Forbes make excellent suggestions for choosing a position to enhance their skills and education.

Need Help With Creating a College Funding Plan?

With the college planning process, there are inevitable expensive pitfalls parents want to avoid. At Westface College Planning, we help you navigate the process and create a college funding budget. Contact us today with your questions!