summer job for high school student

This is part one of an ongoing series we’re launching on the Insider blog on “Kids and Money.” As you prepare to send your child off to college, you should also be thinking about how to foster in them the skills necessary to build financial independence. In this series, we’re going to discuss how students can earn, spend, save, borrow, and protect their money in a way that aligns with personal and family values. Type “Kids and Money” into our Search Box to find all installments of the series.

Whether your child is old enough for a “traditional” summer job or not, there are definitely ways that kids of all age—teens, tweens, and younger kids—can make money during the summer, put their time to good use, and start saving.

Let’s start with the older kids. Teens and potentially tweens will likely have a number of options—either continuing their current employment or finding a new short-term position. Some popular examples of summer jobs include:

  • Camp counselor
  • Lifeguard
  • Concession stand server
  • Dog walker
  • Amusement park attendant
  • Tutor
  • Babysitter
  • House sitter
  • Landscaper
  • Pool maintenance worker
  • Golf course caddy
  • Sports team coach
  • Umpire/Referee

As you can see from the above list, many seasonal summer jobs are outdoor-related or kid-focused. Although there are likely to be ample jobs available, it’s important to remember that many other students will also be on a quest for summer employment, so kids should start their search early and be prepared to complete applications and/or submit a resume. Students can check with their school counselor for advice on creating a resume or use one of the many online templates available. Don’t forget to have references handy as well! Contact past employers or ask a teacher or mentor to write a reference, speaking to the student’s character and talents.

Younger children may also have some earning potential during the summer months. Depending on the age of the child, some may serve as mother’s/father’s helpers, help elderly neighbors with home projects, assist with household tasks, cleaning, or light yard work, or something more entrepreneurial, such as lemonade or cookie stands.

Once your child has secured their job(s), take the opportunity to have conversations related to savings goals. Earning money is the first step, but creating a savings plan up front is key. Sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is just getting started, thus having children make the commitment to save is as important as having a detailed plan in place. Create a plan: decide where the money will be deposited and determine the weekly dollar amount to be earmarked for savings. I find that setting up a schedule and sticking to it will make the act of saving common practice. Fostering the concept of saving early on and providing the tools to do so will empower the next generation. So to that end, this summer, consider setting attainable savings goals for children of all ages, as it is never too early to start!

Just a reminder that kids should start the summer job search early. The right summer work experience will build their resume, enhance their summer months, and assist in reaching those important savings goals.

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Written by Jan Combs
Jan Combs is a college finance expert at College Coach. Before joining College Coach, Jan was Director of Financial Aid at Harvard Graduate School of Education and Assistant Director of Financial Aid at Boston University. Visit our website to learn more about Jan Combs.