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Sep 12, 2019 10:42 PM EDT

What Are the Pros and Cons of Working While You’re in School?

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When you're in college or even high school, you have the decision of whether or not to work. It's a big decision for students. You want to ensure you're focusing on your schoolwork, but if you work it can help you make sure you're spending your free time productively, and of course, there's the ability to earn money. 

If you are a student and you'd like to work, you will more than likely need to get your driver's license or find some other source of reliable transportation. 

Beyond that, what should you consider when you decide whether or not to work while you're in school?

Do You Have the Time?

First and foremost, before you go any further with your decision making, you need to have a hard look at your schedule and the demands you're currently responsible for. Does your class schedule and perhaps your extracurricular schedule leave you any time for a job? 

If you're just starting a new school year, whether in high school or college, you might want to give yourself time to see how school and homework go before you make a decision about working. 

How Do You Handle Stress?

Some students may enjoy feeling not necessarily stressed, but as if they're giving it their all in all ways. If you thrive the busier you are, then adding a part-time job to your schedule might actually help improve your academic performance as well. 

On the other hand, some people have a difficult time juggling too many commitments, and when they feel stressed they might end up shutting down. 

If this is you, and you can decide whether or not to work at the current time, you might opt out of a job. 

The Benefits of Working While You're In High School

The benefits and considerations of working in high school can be a bit different than what to consider if you're in college. 

For example, if you're in high school, the benefits of working at a part-time job include:

  • You can learn the value of money

  • You can get to know different people from unique backgrounds and expand your horizons

  • Working can help you learn about scheduling and meeting commitments

  • Depending on the kind of work you do, you might be able to use it on your college applications

  • Many times when young people work a part-time job, it gives them a confidence boost

  • You can learn skills like collaboration and teamwork when you work, and those are skills you can end up using throughout your life

  • When you work in high school it can teach life skills you don't get in school-for example, it can show you the link between how much you earn and your education level, encouraging you to get more of education so you aren't always in a low-paying, minimum wage job

  • You learn time management skills which is something you'll need forever in your life

The Benefits of Working While You're in College

The benefits of working during college include:

  • Working can keep you focused and help you avoid the temptation to do things like partying too much or focusing too heavily on socializing

  • You can have spending money, and you may even be able to reduce how much you borrow in student loans

  • You can get valuable job experience to add to a resume, and if your job is something related to the career field you hope to go into, even better

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, students who worked 20 hours a week or less had higher GPAs than students who didn't work at all, which you may find surprising. 

Of course, there are some downsides to working whether you're in high school or college, and you do have to weigh them against possible upsides. 

For example, if you're working a minimum wage job, you may not find that you're learning any useful or valuable skills. 

If you work in a negative environment or one where your managers may create a toxic atmosphere, it can leave you with a bad perception of work in general. 

You will also have to sacrifice in other areas of your life to hold down a job while you go to school and this can mean social or in other activities that could potentially be more beneficial to you in the future. 

Ultimately, deciding whether or not to work as a student is a personal decision, and it may work well for some students and not as much for others.

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