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How Should Your Student Spend the Summer?

Summer jobs can help pay for college. But there might be better ways to lower your tuition bill.

Parents often ask me about summer jobs and how much of a student’s income is counted in the college financial aid formula. When you're deciding how your high schooler should spend the summer months, consider alternatives to regular work. Hear me out.

The best paying summer job I’ve heard is one of our client students, who makes $25 an hour as an art teacher at CCD summer school. That’s great money. But sometimes a student can earn more money by not working than they can by working. Let me give you an example.

Let’s say your student spends the summer studying biology. And because of her hard work she’s able to take AP biology and score a 5 on the AP test. Most colleges will award you at least 3 credits for scoring a 5 on AP biology. One school I know, the University of Notre Dame, awards 5 credits. At their current cost of attendance, each credit hour is worth about $1,867 (for a typical 15 credits/semester student). So getting 5 free credits is equivalent to earning $9,333.

That’s a lot more than most high school students can earn cutting grass or working in a restaurant or being a lifeguard. Just a little food for thought.

Ian Welham is an expert at helping students find the perfect fit college, and helping parents pay for it. You can contact him at Complete College Planning Solutions or on Facebook.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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