Q:

During the school year, my daughter, a high-school junior, has worked at a clothing store a few hours a week. She truly loves her job and wants to work longer hours this summer. Is this wise? What will college admissions officers think about this? Would another type of job, an internship or community service be a better choice? -- Resume Building

A:

Colleges don't look favorably on students lounging by the pool or just watching TV all summer. They want prospective students to use their summers more constructively. And earning money is definitely one of those ways. Working at a job she loves should be a plus on your daughter's resume, as colleges want students to have a passionate interest. Her resume will be further enhanced if she is able to do something significant at the job, such as improving sales by starting a weekly fashion show. Furthermore, success in the workplace could lead to a helpful recommendation letter.

Fancy internships and community-service jobs most impress college admissions when they tie in with a student's true interests. They are least impressive when they are obviously obtained through parental connections. Besides her job, your daughter might build on her resume by connecting her interest in clothing to some role in a community organization that provides clothing to needy individuals. She could further demonstrate her interest in this area by taking a community-college course related to clothing.

The era of colleges expecting to see well-rounded students is mostly past. Now they want students to have one or two passionate interests as demonstrated by the courses they take and the jobs and activities that fill their time.