Friday, June 22, 2007

The Economics of a High School Student

It's that time of year for high school students to finish up and start having summer fun. Even better, some students are out (or are "encouraged" by their parents) there looking for a summer job. The benefits seem good - even though it doesn't pay much, it still gives you some extra spending money, or even save a little for college. In addition, it may instill some responsibility - getting to work on time, dealing with customers, and employers, your first brush with W-4's etc.

But my family was a little different. I didn't ever have a "real" summer job. Neither did my brothers. Nor did they really want me to get a summer job - even if I had one, I probably would have worked at my dad's business as an electric motor repairman - I'm sure I'll talk more about that in the future.

Why wouldn't my frugal, money-saving parents not encourage their high school students to get jobs? The reason is that we were involved in projects and competitions and community service through church and school that they felt were better uses for our time. In their view, school, and the extra-curricular activities along with it, were my "job". For example, in the summer of my junior year, I worked on a Science fair project that I spent over 200 hrs on. A couple of summers I helped out with my church's VBS camp with over 300 little kids. During the school year, I was involved in competitions from Social Studies fairs to Bible quizzing. Other than the benefits personally, when it came time to apply for colleges and scholarships, I had a resume full of academic and community activities - and folks like to give scholarships to students with full resumes.

So as opposed to a couple of summer jobs that I might have made 3000 or 4000 dollars each, I got scholarships worth $40,000, and $70,000 in addition to a number of other smaller scholarships. It's hard to beat "making" that kind of money for a high school student.

LazymanandMoney had a post with 15 things he would tell himself when he was back in high school. You should check it out!

1 comment:

james said...

Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
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