Should you have a Job while in College

As college is approaching you may be starting to worry about the financial aspect. Even if you already paid for tuition with scholarships, loans, etc., you may be wondering how you’re going to manage to make money while you are in school.

A lot of people will say that ideally you don’t want to have to work in college but don’t get discouraged because there are so many people out there working their way through college while being successful students. You should take pride in being a responsible and independent adult who can have a job, go to school, and work to make a good life for yourself. 

If you can handle a job it will only make you a better student and prepare you for life. This is also the type of thing that employers love to see and talk about in interviews because this shows how determined and responsible you are.

It also shows that you can take on a lot of work and still be successful.

Now, obviously working in college is a little different than working in high school because of the level of responsibilities that you have now and the different financial burdens. If you look at and apply to enough jobs, hopefully, you can get a job that will be flexible with your school hours and pays above minimum wage so that you can work the least number of hours you need to get the amount of money you need.

Look for Jobs Early

The best piece of advice that I can give you is to start applying for jobs early if you know that you will need a job. Especially if you are going to a bigger school, there are going to be a lot of students that need jobs.

The main problem that I faced in my freshman year is that I just assumed I would find a job once I got there. What happened was I was already so overwhelmed with everything else that by the time I started applying. It was hard to find any openings anywhere that I would fit my schedule to work.

If you are not going to have a car on campus take that into consideration when applying places because you will need to be able to walk or have some other sort of reliable transportation to get you there.

It will make you feel a lot better to know that you have a job secured before you actually leave. Any worries about the financial aspects of college will go away if you can start applying early. I would say that if your school starts in August you could definitely start applying early July.

My friends who had jobs freshman year all had applied over the summer and knew what their jobs were before they even came to campus for the first semester.

Campus Jobs

If you can find a campus job that works for you that will always be ideal because you know that these jobs will put school first and always work around your schedule.

The local jobs usually don’t require a very large minimum number of hours per week as well which can be really nice if you aren’t looking for that many hours. However, if you are looking for a lot of hours, they will usually give it to you because all of their workers have so many conflicts due to school.

You should easily be able to cover other people’s shifts to get extra money especially if you are willing to work a Friday or Saturday night every once in a while.

I had some friends that valet parked cars for a hotel downtown. It was easy to get to from campus and the hours were flexible. The pay plus tips were incredible from what my friends told me. If you can get a tipping job they can sometimes pay really well.

Start Working on Saving Money

You are about to be a college student and one step closer to living in the real world. In order to be as successful as you can be and not have to worry about the money, you need to start saving money for college as soon as possible.

Your senior year and the summer after are the perfect time to save up money for college It doesn’t all need to go to tuition and books either, you are going to need spending money no matter what.

Especially if you have a car on campus because you are going to need to buy gas as well. Don’t blow your graduation money either, this is a big chunk of money that can be a great asset to your first semester of college.

You will enjoy your first semester so much more if you aren’t constantly worrying about money.

The money that I had saved the previous year really made a difference in my first semester and helped me transition into college. I wasn’t worried about money and I was able to do all of the fun things with my friends because I had saved the means to do so.

School is Most Important

It is important to remember that school is the most important. If you are not doing well in school because you are working too many hours, then that defeats the purpose.

If you are working to pay for your tuition but failing your classes, then what good is any of that doing. This is why it is so important to research and apply to as many places as possible so that you can find the best paying job.

This way you can make good money but work fewer hours.

Every hour you spend working is an hour you could spend studying which is why it is important to take the best paying position.

You will be spending so much more time on schoolwork in college than you did in high school. The statistic is for every one credit hour you will need to spend 2 to 3 hours studying.

Try to Find Something for Your Resume

If you have a few different options that all pay well, work around your schedule, and will be good decisions for you, choose one that has something to do with your program or major.

If you can get a job that relates to what you actually want to do, it will help you immensely.

Now, obviously this is not necessary, and you just want to do whatever you need to do to get the money to get you through college. However, if you do find the opportunity to work in your actual line of work than take it.

This will look so good on a resume, be a good talking point at an interview, and help you with your actual job in the future. This is also how you make connections that could help you after graduation.

I have a few friends who had internships during actual semesters and then ended up working there after graduation. They made good money during college and job offers out of it.

It is Okay to Quit

Something that is really important to understand is that you always need to put yourself first. If you get a job and it is overworking you and your grades are suffering then you should not feel bad for quitting at all, especially if it isn’t something that you want to make a career out of.

You are simply just trying to make money and if your job is making your grades suffer or affecting your mental health you need to leave.

You are an adult now and you are on your own.

You need to make sure that you are doing what is best for you and taking care of yourself. Plus, these places by colleges are so used to the turnover of college employees that they shouldn’t be mad or surprised.

Don’t Work as Many Hours as You Did in High School

When you start applying to make sure that you understand that if you were working full time in high school, you are not going to be doing that now.

Your first year you will be living on campus and your housing and food will already be paid for when you get there. You will still buy food occasionally to get away from campus food, but you won’t be buying food five times a week.

You should be telling you place of employment anywhere from fifteen to twenty hours a week is all you can do especially since you will be trying to adjust to college.

Twenty hours may even be pushing it.

Just make sure that you understand that you are going to have more schoolwork and your food is already paid for. This is why you can afford to work less. Especially if you don’t have a car on campus because you will not be paying for gas as well.


Overall it is definitely possible to have a job in college. Just make sure that you do your research and apply to several places. You just want to make sure that you are putting school and yourself first and that you don’t overload yourself, especially if it’s your first year.

You want to have a great transition into college, not be overworked. Just do your best to find a job that works well with your school schedule and pays well enough that you can work around fifteen hours a week and have enough money to live. No matter what you will figure it out it will make you an even more successful student and employee.

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