Benefits of Having a Job in College
We all know going to college is expensive, and many students turn to a part-time job to help offset the cost of tuition and other college expenses. Working while in college is a necessity for some and a way to earn spending money for others. Whatever the reason, there are plenty of benefits associated with working while going to school.
Working While in College
- You’ll do better in school
Studies from the Bureau of Labor Statistics have shown that undergraduate students who work part-time in college (up to 20 hours per week) have higher GPAs than students who don’t work at all. Many credit having to become more organized and learn time management skills to juggle going to school and having a job. You’ll learn how to use the time you have to study effectively and focus on what’s in front of you. Working more than 20 hours a week, though, can have the opposite effect as stress increases and work cuts into school time.
- You can reduce student loan debt
For some students, taking out student loans is the only way to afford going to college. Picking up a job in college is a great way to reduce the amount you have to borrow, or even pay down existing student loans. Even small payments can make a big difference in the total amount you have to pay later! Just putting $25 or $50 a month toward the interest on your student loans can reduce your debt after graduation more than you might think.
- You’ll learn career skills
It doesn’t matter if you’re an accounting major working as a server or a computer science major working in customer service. Any job you have in college is teaching you practical job skills you’ll use after graduation. Learning how to work on a team, solve problems, be professional, and communicate effectively will take you far.
- You can network
The saying “it’s all about who you know” is true. Having professional connections can open up opportunities you wouldn’t have otherwise, and building up a network of contacts before college is even over is a huge benefit to working in college. You never know - someone you meet at your college job could be key to getting your foot in the door of your dream job after college.
- It can set you apart
Having a job in college is a great way to boost your resume and get ahead of the competition. It shows employers you have real world experience, and that’s something you’ll need to get a job after graduation. Plus, you’ve demonstrated you’re driven and have a strong work ethic by working and going to school at the same time – another thing all employers want in their employees.
Tips for Working While in College
Balancing school and work is challenging, but it is possible. Here are a few tips to make the most of it and do well in both:
- Consider finding a job on campus. On-campus jobs know that you’re a student first, and will most likely be more willing to work with your schedule. Some even let employees work reduced hours around midterms and finals to make sure you’re getting enough study time in.
- Ask professors or an advisor if they know of any opportunities related to your major. Chances are, they might know of a position that’s relevant to what you’re studying—such as a grant-funded opportunity assisting with a specific research project—or they might be able to connect you with someone that does.
- If you have an off-campus job, keep your supervisor in the loop. After you get your syllabus for each class, make sure to talk to your supervisor about any test dates, big projects, or any other class events that might affect your work schedule. Let them know you’re committed to doing a good job but need to make time for school, too. If they knew you were a student when they hired you, they’ll likely be willing to work around your schedule.
- Make time to relax. Being in college and having a job is stressful! Give yourself some “me time” each week to destress and do something you love.