The Pros and Cons of Working While in College

Let’s be honest from the very start: college is getting increasingly expensive. A vast majority of students are required to take out loans to cover tuition costs, and collectively owe $1.5 trillion to loan agencies across the country.

However, student loans may not be enough to cover the true cost of going to college. On top of tuition, students are responsible for buying textbooks, supplies, meals, housing, and, of course, handling their own entertainment budgets. These costs may encourage many students to consider getting a job while in college.

Unfortunately, working while being in school is not always an easy feat. There are a number of factors to consider before accepting – or even beginning your search – for a job. Here’s a list of just some of the few things to remember before you start your hunt.

Pro: Money

As the great Pink Floyd says, “get a good job with good pay and you’re okay.” This is the most basic driving factor for many students to begin to look looking for work. Having an income means having spending cash to pay for food, fun, and even early student loan payments. Extra money is never really a problem.

Pro: Experience

It’s good for students to get out into the workforce as soon as possible. During your hunt for a post-grad job, any work experience to put on your resume will help your chances. A college job is perfect for proving that you can handle responsibility, multitasking, and prioritizing.

Another benefit of working in college is the chance to gain experience in the industry you wish to enter after graduation. Working part-time in a lawyer’s office while studying pre-law will show employers the level of dedication to a career path, as well as provide an opportunity to learn about the career path from the inside.

Pro: Time Management

As mentioned with gaining experience, working a part-time job demonstrates time management abilities. Time management is one of the many soft skills students don’t necessarily learn in high school or college. However, having these skills will benefit you in adulthood.

Getting a job may also add some rigidity to student schedules. For first-time college students, taking charge of your own schedule can be a bit intimidating, and many may struggle. However, having an additionally required attendance may help manage spare time more effectively.

Con: Transportation

For students living on campus, getting to and from a dorm, work, and classes is a breeze. Many campuses even have stores, restaurants, and offices that student can find part-time work in.

Unfortunately, many may be forced to find work a bit further from campus. Commuting from work to school can take much longer and may add an extra strain to your schedule.

Luckily, there are plenty of creative solutions to getting around quickly. Rent-by-the-hour bikes and scooters are becoming increasingly common around campuses. For those working in similar areas with their classmates, consider splitting the cost for an Uber or Lyft that specialize in carrying many passengers. And, of course, buying a car is always a viable option for students who have the funds to do so.

Con: Lost Time

Devoting time in your schedule to work means losing time in other areas of life. There will be less time to study, which could have a drastic effect on the quality of work. There will also be less time to rest, a problem many college students face even without a job.

But the most dramatic affect work will have is the lack of time to socialize. Spending time with friends and enjoying school clubs will be difficult with a packed schedule of studying and work. If you’re considering getting a job, take some time to prioritize what aspects of your life you would miss the most by skipping, and make sure to find a job that allows you the time to fulfill all of needs.

Con: Stress

For many students, taking on a job in addition to studying can add an extra layer of stress. Depending on the job you have, the hours and amount you work may have a drastic effect on how well you study. This would, in turn, affect your grades, and possibly even affect a student’s loans and grant status.

To avoid excessive stress, take the time to evaluate current and upcoming class schedules. Are you signed up for any classes that require you to make scheduled commitments, or will expect an increase in work later in the semester? After evaluating just how much extra work that can be handled, begin to look for a job that can offer you the flexibility you need.

Every student’s life is different. Many may very easily be able to handle working even full time while going to school. However, working while going to college is a case by case subject, and should be carefully thought out before taking on.

Lexi Carr is a writer with a passion for helping people. She enjoys writing, saving money, and bragging about her dog. Follower her on Twitter @LLexi_C



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