High school jobs: imperative or not to college applications?

Photo showing the suggested jobs available to people living in, or near, Chino.

Alyssa Sandoval

Photo showing the suggested jobs available to people living in, or near, Chino.

Alyssa Sandoval, Managing Editor

Not only does taking rigorous courses, involving yourself in school activities, and being an exemplary student improve your chances at getting into a good college, but having a job increases your chances too! Well, that is unless you let it negatively affect your academic performance.

Having a job can be an amazing asset at your disposal when you’re applying to colleges, especially universities, as it can show you were able to tackle academics AND out-of-school commitments. But, unfortunately, many students are not as prepared as they think they are. Most students are unable to prioritize and focus on two things at once so one ends up being put on the back burner. This tends to be true because money can seem more valuable at the time than enhancing their academic skills. Oftentimes, students get caught up in receiving checks and feeling independent, but it can cost them a scholarship or acceptance to their desired school(s). Having a job during high school is risky but not like flipping a coin. If you know you will be able to handle your classes and a job, it would not hurt to get one. But if you are unsure and not comfortable with that just yet, that is fine as well. Even with universities preferring you have one, you do not have to. If you have a strong resume already, a job should be the least of your worries. 

High school jobs can help your application immensely and show just how involved you were in your community. It is very beneficial for those who can juggle their responsibilities well. Not only can it help your application but it also helps when applying to other jobs after, or during, college! 

On UCLA’s admission criteria website they announced what they acknowledge in applicants: ”we recognize exemplary, sustained achievement in any field of intellectual or creative endeavor. Examples include…employment… and community service.” Other colleges, such as Cal Poly, also state that they acknowledge work and/or community service experience. 

Leah Najera – a Juice It Up! employee and junior AP student – said “I have been able to maintain my grades while working. I think I am able to balance my responsibilities well even though sometimes it is hard.” Najera is a good example of a responsible and commendable student but this may not be the case for everyone. Najera also said “I work three times a week, 4-9:15, I think it is worth it because in the end I get paid and it makes me feel accomplished.” Many high school workers agree with Najera because having a job not only help your chances of getting into a good college but also makes you feel like you have achieved something meaningful.  

Although most students who take many rigorous courses are not usually able to find time in their schedules for a job, community service is also an option. Maintaining a job and doing community service are similar in many ways and are recognized similarly by admissions officers. As long as you are making a positive impact, they have no reason to discount your contributions. 

High school jobs ARE helpful for college applications but not imperative. It is taken into account and can improve your chances, but it is definitely not completely necessary, or all it takes, to attain an admission into your desired college. Many students don’t consider having a job during school manageable but it definitely can be!

If you are seriously worried about your applications and chances, it is recommended that you discuss it with your assigned counselor or someone in the Career Center.