How Teens Can Start Saving Up for College
High school is a period of time when teens have matured enough to begin taking on family responsibilities. As students work part- time or earn some pocket money, teens are improving their overall personal abilities and stepping closer to adulthood. Additionally, students are nearing college, which can often times be extremely expensive, especially with private or out-of-state schools. Working part- time and earning some money during high school can help cover some of that tuition, in addition to the noteworthy career experience to add on to your resume and college applications. Either way, saving up money teaches teens financial independence, the importance of saving money, and strategies to be wise with finances.
Part- Time Jobs
The most common and easy way to save up money is to work part time jobs. There are a lot of companies and jobs that hire teens (starting from 13 or 14 years of age in some states), but jobs most commonly hire students as early as 15 years (with a limited amount of job availabilities). By 16 years of age, there would be a lot more open jobs for students to try out and explore.
Common job types for teens:
Under 15: Babysitters, dog walkers, tutors/hw helpers, etc.
14-16: (may vary from state to state): teacher/ tutor, teacher assistant, lifeguard, dish washers, grocery baggers, cashiers, barista, etc.
16 + years olds and up: sales representatives, customer service representatives (aka busboys, pizza- makers, waiters), front desk assistants, executive assistants, photographers, event decorators etc.
There are also seasonal hirings, especially in summers, when a lot of companies are seeking counselors for summer camps, lifeguards and swim instructors.
There are several benefits to taking on a part time job as a teen. The most apparent benefit is to earn money and support family spendings. You would also gain work experience, developing several soft skills as a result. For example, by working with a team and fulfilling the needs of the company, you get better at critical reasoning, creative thinking, time management, and boost self- esteem, confidence, responsibility, collaboration, communication and team skills. In addition, part time jobs are a great way to explore different industries, get a dip of “adult-lives,” and explore passions or a future career path. Furthermore, you would be able to create meaningful connections with peers and mentors by networking with professionals, adults, teens with similar interests as you, which is a valuable asset in the future. Last but not least, it teaches you how to be independent; as you start saving up money through working part time jobs from your own effort, you will realize you are becoming a truly matured young adult who can support his/her own spending. You may even begin buying new clothes, games, or meals as needed.
There are so many benefits to working part- time, but now you might be wondering how to find one. Don't worry, it’s really easy for teens to find and apply for part time jobs. First, start by searching for local part time jobs in your area. Don’t forget to also use online services to help you with your search.
Before you start searching for jobs, however, it's always important to have a resume, cover letter, and linkedin profile ready to go.
Read some tips on how to improve your resume
Make your own resume with this template
Consider exploring and creating your own LinkedIn
Websites where you can find teens jobs:
Selling the Old
Selling your clothes, toys, books, jewelry, or furniture is another great way to earn money and won’t require a huge time commitment. There are several websites and mobile apps where you can simply upload some pictures and a description of the product. After posting your listing, people who want to buy it will send a message to you. With a chosen buyer, arrangements of pickup/drop off times or shipping (some apps/ websites would provide shipping but with a percent service fee charged) would be made. Almost all the following websites are free to sign up and easy to use. You can post anything from clothes to toys to books and even services (tutoring/ dog walking, baby sitting, etc.)
Apply for Scholarships and Grants/Attend competitions
There are tons of scholarships and micro-scholarships available for high school students. Scholarships are aids awarded to outstanding students to help them pay for college, or advance their education/career. Most scholarships require essays and some videos, recommendation letters, and most of them are specifically for a group of students, whether based on ethnicity, race, education level, gender, financial needs, excellence in education, academic fields/areas, professionals, community services, etc. Be sure to read the description and qualification for each scholarship prior to applying. See more details on www.scholarships.com
Another great way to earn some money while also gaining knowledge and improving personal skills is by attending competitions. Most of the competitions will give prizes to those who win, from under $100 to above thousands, and even valuable internship experiences. You can choose which kind of competitions you’d like to go for based on your academic interests and hobbies.
For example, if you’ve learned or want to learn about computer science, you can enter hackathons- which you can find with www.devpost.com. From beginner friendly to extremely competitive, most of the hackathons offer great prizes and several workshops/ lectures from keynote speakers, allowing you to be able to work with a team to create a meaningful project while improving your programming skills, learning a new programming language, and having fun with new teammates.
You can find more competitions here:
We all know a college education isn't cheap, and it’s never too early to start saving. Opening a bank account and accumulating savings and interest is a just a small but crucial first step towards saving up for college. Even if your parents are willing to invest in you and pay for your college tuition, it’s always better to pay for yourself - not only will it decrease the burden on your family’s expenses, but it will also result in a rewarding feeling by decreasing your dependence on other individuals, paving your first steps towards adulthood and financial independence!
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