Enterprising young children set up lemonade stands in the front yard, take up paper routes, and offer to rake leaves or shovel snow for pocket money, but by the time these kids reach high school their entrepreneurial spirit has largely dissipated only to be replaced by the burning desire to craft a unique resume for their college applications. But in a time when competition for college admissions is at an all time high, perhaps one of the best ways to make an application stand out might be to rediscover the entrepreneurial spirit and start a business. By starting a business, students can demonstrate amazing qualities to colleges, including dedication, innovation, initiative, a strong work ethic, creativity, and leadership.
Now, we aren’t talking about starting the next Microsoft, Google, or Facebook – odds are that your teen’s business isn’t going to net millions, or even pay for college tuition. Instead, think small. Here are some ideas to start with:
- Start a summer day camp for neighborhood kids
- Start a lawn care service
- Offer to clean and organize people’s garages – make even more money by offering to run their garage sales for a cut of the profits
- For the tech savvy teen, offer social media consulting services to local small businesses
- Utilize sites like etsy.com or ebay.com and sell handmade items like jewelry, candles, or other crafts
There are a millions ways in which teens can turn a mere hobby (which is nice to have, but not overly helpful in the college admissions world) into a small business (also nice to have and a lot more helpful with college applications). A teen interested in photography needs little more than a decent camera and some photoshopping skills to offer services as a photographer; teens who like to write could start blogs, some of which turn a healthy profit each month; and aspiring artists could ask to display artwork for sale in local coffee shops or art galleries or post them on a site like ebay. Regardless of the type of business, any teen who demonstrates the initiative and creative thinking necessary to start a business will already have a leg up in the college admissions race.