Benefits of Working While Attending College
To fast track a career, consider getting a job while attending college. Besides providing extra spending money, a job while in college teaches time management skills, helps pay off student loans quicker and teaches students how to balance work, life and school. Undergraduate students also have the opportunity to take on paid internships, which helps students get a job after graduation. Many internship opportunities turn into full-time jobs after college, saving on the need to hunt for a job. Many successful careers have begun for students who work while going to school.
Balancing Your Life
When looking for work as a college student, consider employers that offer flexible scheduling or understand the need to attend classes at specific times. Build the work schedule around the need to study, attend class and get plenty of sleep. Many colleges have programs to employ students on campus. A campus job can help save on transportation costs and still help meet schooling needs. Remember to prioritize what’s important when working while attending college and make sure the work will fit within school scheduling needs.
Balancing work, college, family and a social life can be complicated, but it teaches students how to manage time effectively. Time management skills are some of the most important skills to learn, especially before getting a full-time job. These skills will help students throughout their lives as they mature. Learning how to prioritize what’s important is a part of the soft skill set that cannot be taught. Employers look for recruits that have the ability to manage time effectively and prioritize.
Besides learning important prioritization and time-management skills, a job while in college teaches students how to manage finances. Getting a handle on finances in the early stages of a career teaches students how to save for the future. A job while in school not only provides needed spendable cash, it can help defray expensive loan costs by paying down on loan fees while in college. Developing financial skills while still in college will pay dividends for years to come.
To manage student activities and a job, consider a balanced plan to help manage all that has to be done. Make time for recreational activities or exercise to prevent burnout. Choose a job with ties to a school major to help gain field experience before graduation. Some colleges provide work credits that can help toward a finished degree. Many internships and co-operative work/school programs are available to students attending college full or part time.
Build Up Real-Word Experience
Working while attending college also provides real-world experience, which is beneficial after graduation. Employers prefer hiring college students that also have on-the-job experience, as this demonstrates responsibility and a sound work ethic. Job experience establishes credibility as an employee; it shows strength of character and the ability to juggle the work-life balance.
Student work-experience programs are available at many colleges. Students gain needed job experience, and college credits while working up the ladder. Students in these programs can receive promotions that result in higher wages by participating in work/school programs. Working while attending college helps defray costs that might have ended up as part of a larger school debt. A job while attending college also teaches students how to set goals and objectives, communicate with co-workers or supervisors and prepares students for a career.
Setting Your Priorities
Students must remember that schoolwork and schedules are the first priority when working while attending college. Take advantage of school and summer breaks to work a full-time schedule when studies are not a priority. Save as much money during these periods to lessen the need to work more while school is in session. Put money away for college needs, books, meal plans or to put on loan fees. Learning to manage finances prepares students for the ebb and flow of life. Students that develop sound financial practices in college, including developing savings plans, stand a better chance of being financially successful throughout working life.
While it takes a greater commitment and ability to balance school and working, getting a job while in college gives students an edge over students who just attend college without working. Besides instilling a strong work ethic, working while in college makes a graduate more attractive to an employer. If given two graduates to choose from, employers will generally pick the student with the job experience over the one who does not have it. Though it’s not always easy, working while in college puts working students ahead in the game of life.
Internship & Student Employment Resources
- FBI Internships
- CIA Undergraduate Internships
- Government Jobs for Students and Recent Graduates
- Working and Going to School — A Student Perspective
- Financial Fitness Program for College
- College and a Full-Time Job
- Juggling Work and School
- Balancing Academics, Study, and Life
- The Effects of College Student Employment on Academic Achievement
- How to Balance School and Work