Working In College: The Advantages And Disadvantages


There are a lot of expenses in college. Tuition, textbooks, food and accommodation are just some of the major costs that a student needs to be prepared for. It would make sense, then, for students to work and study at the same time.

However, it would require proper time management to become a full-time worker and student. U.S. News reported that data from the National Center for Education Statistics revealed that 79 percent of undergraduates in 2007-2008 worked and studied at the same time.

Professor Laura Perna of the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education noted that "students who work a modest number of hours per week (10 to 15 hours), on campus, are more likely than other students-even students who do not work at all-to persist and earn degrees." Debbie Kaylor, director of the Boise State University Career Center, thinks that a college job would provide students with "an opportunity to develop professional skills that employers will be expecting upon graduation. When employers recruit new college grads, they are not only looking for a major, but they are looking for a skillset."

Kaylor added that an on-campus job would provide students with the chance to learn professional skills like communication (verbal and written), teamwork, time management as well as customer service. Moreover, it can also provide opportunities to build their professional network.

Working while in college would also give students a chance to connect with their community. It would make them meet new people, other than their classmates.

One disadvantage, though, is the potential for students' jobs to interfere or distract them from their college goals and academic progress. Kaylor suggested getting a part-time job that requires only 15 hours a week. "This allows students to have lots of time for academics and studying as well as other extracurricular activities," she said.

UPenn's Perna advised students to find a balance between financial and academic obligations. Students should first make sure that they have used all available sources of financial aid, especially scholarships and grants.

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