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Should You Get a Part-Time Job in College?

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Part-Time Job

Are you thinking about getting a part-time job? According to an October 2021 report from The New York Times, “the appetite for college labor is strong right now, whether it’s student positions or part-time, all the way through entry-level jobs.” What’s more, with the increase in remote employment, there might even be opportunities to earn a paycheck without leaving campus.

How can you determine if a part-time job in college is a smart move for you? Here’s a list of pros and cons to help you navigate this decision.

Pro: It Helps Offset the Costs of a College Education

It can be expensive to earn a degree—even with scholarships. Between the cost of tuition, dorm or apartment living, textbooks, meal plans, gas and other campus fees, college can set you back thousands of dollars in student loans. If you need to offset some of those costs on the front end or save to pay off student loans quickly after graduation, a part-time job in college will help you reach this financial goal.  

Con: It Can Be Stressful Balancing Work and Classes

If you take the average course load of 15 credit hours per semester, this amount of work can feel like a full-time job in itself. You have to finish projects, read textbook chapters, deliver presentations, study for exams and write papers—it can feel a little overwhelming. When you balance a part-time job in college with other academic commitments, it could stress you out at times or cause your grades to slip.

Pro: It Teaches You Valuable Time Management Skills

Stress levels aside, a part-time job in college can help you learn to manage time effectively. Honing this skill early in life will be beneficial when you enter the workforce, and it doesn’t hurt to gain hands-on time management experience now. Most careers require you to handle several priorities at once, so focusing on both a part-time job and your course assignments will be solid practice for the future.    

Con: It Will Limit Your Time to Be Part of Campus Life

Social connections and campus activities are an important (and fun) part of college life. With a part-time job, you might not have time to immerse yourself in these pursuits as much as some other students can. Joining clubs and committees, planning or attending events, and playing intramural sports—that’s how friendships and memories form on campus. However, a part-time job in college can limit your bandwidth for involvement.

Pro: It Could Open Doors for Your Future Career Path

If you find a part-time job in the industry you want to pursue, it can help you land sought-after entry-level positions after graduation. In many cases, a part-time job in college will lead to valuable networking opportunities and relevant qualifications to include in your resumé. When it comes time to start your career search, you will be a marketable candidate with real-world skill sets, connections, and experience.

Is a Part-Time Job in College the Smart Choice for You?

Recent data from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) shows that the number of college students hired in 2021 rose by 7.2 percent over the year before. This is a promising trend for 2022, but the decision to get a part-time job in college shouldn’t be made overnight.

Sometimes you have to work out of necessity, but in some cases, it’s a personal choice based on what you can handle or what your priorities are. As you plan for this new semester, think through the pros and cons of a part-time job in college.

There are several things to consider, but no matter the route you choose, remember that college is a time of self-discovery and exploration—so it’s normal to pivot if you need to! Take your time and do what works best for you and your goals.

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