Working in College
Many students feel the need to work a job while they are in college. This can be to pay for books, tuition, food, or to help their family. Work builds important skills and is an important part of your college experience. However, it's important to figure out how to balance work with school and other things. If you're working to help finance your education, then school needs to come before work. We'll help you think about how to do that!
Many schools offer what are called work-study programs. This is paid for through the federal government and the FAFSA program. It is part of your financial aid package. Work-study programs are good for you because they are guaranteed to be funded (so you won't lose your job), and are run by people who want to make sure that your education comes first. That means they will never ask you to stop studying in order to get ahead at work. If you are offered work-study opportunities, we encourage you to take advantage before you look at other jobs.
After work-study programs, on-campus jobs are the next best way to pay for school. This may involve working in a library or dining hall, or working for one of your professors in a lab. If you're interested in applying for an on-campus job, you will usually need to go online. However, it's a good idea to talk to your professor, dining hall administrator, librarian, etc. before you do so. They can tell you what openings really exist. On-campus jobs are good because they generally will not expect you to be around during vacation times, and they will be flexible to accommodate your class schedule.
For students who aren't able to work on-campus, off-campus jobs are the only option remaining. Working at an outside company is good because it gives you someplace to start looking for a job once you graduate. However, most of the jobs you do while you are in college pay less than the jobs you will do when you're graduating. Look for someplace that offers a career ladder, rather than just jobs (i.e. if you're a web design student, try to avoid working at restaurants because it won't help you with your career.) That way, when you graduate you will be able to apply for better jobs at the same place where you already work. Also, be aware that your off-campus job won't respect your school breaks. You will be working during spring break, winter vacation, and more. Last, make sure that you know how much you can work while you are in school. Your boss will most likely ask you to work more hours, that may or may not be good for your schedule. If you're a student, remember that! Once you graduate, you'll be able to earn much more money.
We highly encourage students to take internships or work during the summer. By working full-time during the summer, you can earn thousands of dollars without sacrificing studies. Even better, get an internship at a company in your industry. That way, when you graduate you have someone who knows you. Many students get offers from companies they intern at once they graduate. At the very least, you'll get a letter of recommendation that you can take with you wherever else you apply for a job. Just like looking for an off-campus job, try to find something that is in your industry. If you're an engineering major, working for a moving company might help you earn money, but it won't help you land a prime job when you graduate.