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Don’t think you have to work 40 hours a week to impress colleges. Part-time jobs are good options for students who have other things going on during the summer.

Grab a summer job to expand your experiences and earn money for college.

Which is better? Getting a job or getting involved in volunteer work?

Among the experts, there’s some dispute. The kicker, though, is that volunteering opportunities have flexible hours and can be done throughout the school year. Since you have more free time during the summers, why not get a job and make some cash for college?

Personal Responsibility

Not only do summer jobs allow you to save up for college, but they also have the same benefits as volunteering hours: they look good on college applications.

College admissions officers are looking, in part, for students who can show personal responsibility. If you’ve ever had a real job, you’ll agree that they require a boatload of responsibility, maybe even more so than community service or volunteering.

Additionally, when you have a summer job, you gain the opportunity to talk about it on your college application essays. Most likely, you’ll eventually run into a question concerning your responsibility level and well-roundedness. You’ll thank us when you get to this question and can eloquently explain how your summer job helped you grow as a responsible individual.

Does a summer job affect my financial aid?

The short answer to this question? No, not usually.

But there are some circumstances where a summer job might decrease your financial aid package.

The vast majority of unmarried students under the age of 24 are classified as dependents on their FAFSAs. Assuming you’re classified as a dependent, you should be able to earn up to ~$5,000 the summer before your senior year with no change to your financial aid. If you earn more than this set amount (which changes yearly), your Expected Family Contribution (EFC) can go up, causing your financial aid to go down.

Don’t let this dissuade you from getting a job though. Most summers, a high school student isn’t going to make nearly that much. So 90% of the time, it’s a non-issue. But if you know you’re going to be close, check your FAFSA for the exact dollar amount and the implications for going over it.

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