Are Summer Jobs in College a Good Idea?

College in America costs about $30,000 a year as far as the National Center for Education Statistics can see. As some students see it, when summer vacation comes around, it’s their opportunity to jump for summer jobs of some kind and make a little cash to help offset those frighteningly high costs.

Other students feel that since summer jobs can never pay much anyway, they would just be wasting their time. They feel, and it is a very sensible position too, that if they remained in school through the summer, they could get extra credits and finish school early. Not only would they graduate early, they would actually get a job early and make more money to pay back their loans than they ever could at a summer job. Which choice makes sense?

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Let’s start with what summer jobs can do for you that summer school can’t. To begin with, there’s the money, of course. Sticking to school eight months full-time can really leave you a lot poorer. Take your summer break off to work full-time, and you can really make a difference to your finances. Finding enough funds working, you could cut down on the amount of money you need to take out in loans -loans that you need to pay interest on. And then of course, there’s the immeasurable advantage of stepping outside the fishbowl that university life surrounds you with.

In your late teens are when to learn about the world and about yourself. Working new jobs, meeting people in a professional capacity, you could actually learn more about where your real talents and your preferences lie. And then of course, if you manage to land the job that actually has something to do with your line, you will actually be gaining experience that can be just as important for your career chances as college; perhaps more.

On the downside, summer jobs really can interrupt a period of sustained study. And that could, in some cases, translate into a setback. Students often come back after their sabbatical and find it hard to pick up where they left off. They’ve long since forgotten literary terms or rules of accounting or whatever. And if one isn’t lucky enough to be offered summer jobs that have something to do with one’s line of study, one really ends up losing touch.

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So let’s look at the other side now -forgetting all about summer jobs and going with summer school instead. Just think about it -going to summer school every year, you can actually take a four-year degree and be done with it in three years. Certainly, you still have to pay the tuition you have to pay; but saving on living expenses, which can end up costing you about a third of your entire set of expenses for college, can really mean something significant. Most young people don’t really end up getting a meaningful job in summer. While they hang around being a lifeguard or mowing grass, there you will be getting a leg up on your studies. That’s going to really show in your grades.

It all depends then on the kind of job you can get. If you can get a job that will really help your career, summer jobs can be really beneficial to your career. Otherwise, staying at school could make a lot of sense.


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