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July 1st, 2020

4 Reasons to Work While in School

To work or not to work, that is the question. According to a study conducted by Georgetown University, over 70% of students work while in college. In 2015, over 14 million college students worked. Working students have much to gain from employment during their college years. Students can improve their financial well-being, school experience, and their resume.

1. Improve financial well-being

One major benefit of working during college is increased financial well-being as a result of a steady income. The American Council of Education found that two-thirds of working students’ primary reason for working during college is to help cover cost of living and tuition expenses. Having a consistent flow of income results in increased financial stability. Regular paychecks can help you plan ahead and be put towards your cost of living, tuition, or any other debt you may have.

When it comes to earning and saving, we recommend trying out the 50/30/20 rule. The 50/30/20 rule implies that you put 50% of your paycheck towards your bills, outstanding debt, and cost of living, 30% towards wants because it’s important to reward yourself, and the remaining 20% put into savings. To help improve your financial well-being, seek jobs that pay more than minimum wage. Just make sure that the working hours are flexible or that they conform to your class and study schedule.

Lastly, look for a job that offers educational reimbursements or tuition discounts. Consider applying for a job that offers employee discounts and specials. Federal work-study is another work option available to both graduate and undergraduate students to help earn money for education expenses.

2. Enriched school experience

Although your schedule is a smidge busier, working while in college is known to help increase your overall performance in school. Scholar, John Hobson stated that working while in school helps promote time management, communication, and conflict resolution skills. As a working student, these acquired skills help increase your grades and overall GPA.

Itching to make more friends or get involved on campus? Try seeking a job on campus. Colleges have hundreds of jobs available and understand the busy schedule of a working student. Most colleges offer Federal Work-Study that allows you to have a flexible schedule, earn money for college, and possibly get a job that is related to your course of study. This is a fantastic way to get to know fellow students, minimize your commute from work to school, and learn more about your campus.

3. Work history, internships, and a strong resume

A recent study published in the Harvard Business Review found that only one-third of college graduates landed jobs immediately after college. The secret? 80% of these students had an internship before graduation. Consider doing applicable freelance work or an internship while you’re in school. This will allow you to graduate with experience on your resume.

Internships are a great way to set yourself apart from other job candidates pre and post-graduation. Internships offer opportunities to network with others in your industry, develop mentor relationships with those who can write you letters of recommendation, as well as learn valuable skills which you can apply to your studies and course discussions.

Many internships are paid and flexible with your school schedule. Some are not. If you need a little more flexibility in your schedule to accommodate the demands of a job while in college, consider taking some online classes to free up some time.

If you’re not sure where to start looking for internships, reach out to your campus’ Career Services Office or talk to your professors and advisors about internship opportunities they may know of.

Remember, it’s okay to have multiple jobs, temporary jobs, or short-term jobs—employers understand this is common with students.

4. Take initiative

There are plenty of resources available to help you find a job, internship, or freelance work. If you’re seeking employment, consider working somewhere that:

• Allows you to do homework while working or when business is slow
• Offers a tuition assistance program for employees
• Offers transportation, healthcare, or insurance assistance (some companies only require you to work 25 hours per week to qualify for benefits)

If you need additional advice or help knowing where to start, contact your department or college career advisors for guidance.