For most students, attending college is both a time-consuming and costly endeavor. Many students are forced to work a job simultaneously in order to pay for their college experience. With only a limited amount of time available for a job due to the demands of studying, completing school work, and attending classes, how can a college student juggle all of their responsibilities? Here are some of the best ways to strike a proper balance between school and work.

Create A Schedule

The first thing you should do when prospecting for a job while attending college is to create a schedule. It’s important to organize the time you have available. Remember to leave time for studying, completing assignments, commuting, eating, and taking exams. Once you’ve figured out the hours you can dedicate to working a job, it’ll make it much easier to not only find a job that fits your schedule, but it’ll also allow you to make your needs and commitments clear to a new employer. Typically, most students find that nights and weekends are the most convenient times to work a job so that they can avoid the time constraints of their college schedule.

It’s also important to find an employer who is flexible with the dynamics of a college student’s schedule. It’s not uncommon to have varying amounts of “free” time throughout the semester. For example, finals week will likely require much more time and effort dedicated to your studies than other times during the year. Being upfront with your employer about your schedule is a very important part to achieving success in both your academic and work life.

Consider Work-Related Financial Aid

One thing that many students are unaware of is the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program, which provides financial aid to students with part-time employment. Students can receive FWS funds at approximately 3,400 participating higher education institutions and may be employed by: the institution itself; a federal, state, or local public agency; a private nonprofit organization; or a private for-profit organization.

There are also many companies that include employee tuition assistance/reimbursement programs as a part of their benefits package, which helps their employees pay for college. In most cases, the employee typically pays for their college classes and the employer refunds a portion of the money spent after the classes are completed. Companies that offer their own tuition assistance/reimbursement programs include UPS, Amazon, and Starbucks. For a larger list of the companies that offer these programs, read here.

Choose the Right Job

Indeed.com, Internships.com, and GlassDoor.com are all great resources to find a job/internship that fits your goals and schedule. 2020 has also brought many new opportunities to work from home, which limit your commute time and often offer a flexible schedule. When looking for a job, keep your schedule in mind and consider whether the proposed working hours will meet your needs. During an interview, always be sure to ask questions for clarification on any points of confusion or uncertainty. 

It’s also very important to consider what you want to get out of this job from a personal perspective. Is this a job you’re working just to fund your college expenses? Do you want to gather relevant skills for your post-graduation career? Are you looking to work for the same company after you’ve graduated? These are all important questions to ask yourself when prospecting jobs and figuring out which is best for you.

Jobs vs. Internships

In most instances, there aren’t that many differences between a job and an internship on a daily basis. However, one main difference of an internship is that it should be mainly focused on teaching you the skills necessary to work in a specific role at that company and it should be for a fixed, predetermined amount of time. Many schools also allow the opportunity to acquire college credit for the work that you commit to an internship (whether paid or unpaid). You can consult with your academic advisor to find out whether your school offers college credits for internships.

Some of the most common jobs/fields that students work while attending college include: 

  • Resident Advisor
  • Tutor
  • Fitness Instructor / Gym Administrative Work
  • Customer Service
  • Animal Caretaker
  • Nanny/Childcare
  • Data Entry
  • Brand Ambassador
  • Restaurant Server/Host
  • Sales Associate
  • Rideshare Driver

Focus on Your Studies

All in all, it’s important to remember that your ultimate goal is to earn a degree from your college. If the job/internship you’ve started is hindering your studies or doesn’t allow you to follow the schedule that you initially organized, you can always try something new. Consider both your academic success and mental health as factors that determine if the job/internship that you’ve taken are negatively impacting your college experience and whether you should try something different.

Don’t Be Afraid to Graduate Late

According to the NCES, just 41% of college students graduate in 4 years. With that being said, there’s no reason to feel shame or embarrassment if you’re forced to graduate later than initially anticipated. Adding a job/internship to the mix while attending college is always an adjustment and it takes some time to get used to!

For additional tips on how to handle a situation where your graduation is delayed, check out our Tips and Advice for Delayed Graduation blog post.Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter,Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

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