Part Time Jobs That Look Good on a College Application

Snagajob Blog Team |

You don’t have the test scores you wanted for your college application. You’re out of time to take another. And now this whole application process feels even more stressful. 

What do you do?

Apply anyway! The good news is that test scores aren’t the only factors that make you stand out! Hard work does, too. Did you know your work experience also looks good on a college application?

Work experience shows qualities about you that test scores can’t. Like you’re responsible, you’re willing to work hard and you go the extra mile. Past jobs highlight different skill sets a test can’t. Plus, if you apply for college with gap years in your education, any jobs you held in that time boost your college application. 

Choose the right job

If you still have a significant amount of time before you’re planning to apply to college, choosing a good job helps your college application stand out. Certain jobs can pull more weight than others. For example, working as a shift manager at your local grocery store could help get you noticed more than driving for Uber. Colleges look for leadership roles in work experience. Generally, you get more opportunities for leadership in a traditional job. 

See how these part-time jobs make your college application stand out:

Jobs related to your major

This almost goes without saying. Working in the industry you want to study is a great idea to get a practical picture of what that field is actually like. This work experience also shows college admissions counselors you’re serious about what you want to study. Don’t worry if it’s a job that seems anything but special. You’re about to start a two or four-year degree. Colleges know perseverance is everything. Working from the bottom up is never looked down upon. 


If you’re particularly skilled in an area of study, try tutoring middle or high school students. Tutoring looks great on a resume because it shows you’re a master in a subject. Say you didn’t score as high on math as you hoped, but you’re math tutor—including this work experience on your college application shows you have a strong foundation in math. 

Retail Jobs

Everyone seems to have retail experience, so how does this set you apart? Retail experience is surprisingly valuable as work experience on your college application. You’ve probably gained more skills than you realize. Most jobs require, at minimum, basic computer skills, problem-solving skills and people skills. These are all must-haves for college. 

Fast food

Working in the fast-paced environment of the fast food industry shows you can perform under stress and you’re a fast learner. You have to pick up skills quickly to contribute to the overall success of the restaurant. A strong ability to multi-task is usually required in the fast food industry, and this is a great skill to highlight in your college application essay. 

Jobs with longevity

The test of time with a job goes a long way. Maybe your high school job was only six hours a week, but you kept it for two years. Talk about that in your college application essay! Staying that long shows commitment and loyalty. It also shows discipline over a length of time, which is important for success in college. 

Bonus ways to beef up your application

There’s one more way to impress colleges and show admissions officers you’re more than your ACT scores—extracurricular activities, especially community service. 

Colleges look for well-rounded people who will also do well at their school as students. Having community service on your application proves you’re involved in your community. Plus, volunteer supervisors are more than happy to write you a letter of recommendation. Raving letters of recommendations say a lot about you as a person! 

Get involved

Don’t have any community service hours? No problem. You can start right away! Look up non-profits in your town, pick one you’re interested in and ask how you can help. Non-profit organizations always need more volunteers. They’ll be happy to hear from you. Or ask your current work if it participates in any form of community service. Remember, extracurricular activities like work and community service can help make up where your application or test scores fall short.