As you prepare for your freshman year at college, have you thought about getting a part-time job? Most college students do. In fact, a 2015 study by Georgetown University found that, over the past 25 years, 70 percent of U.S. college students have been earning a paycheck while pursuing their studies.
Why do so many college students work?
Money. The most obvious reason to get a job in college is to make money to help with school and living expenses. Whether you need to pay tuition or room and board, buy books or groceries, or go out to eat now and then, you’ll be glad to have a regular source of income.
References. Your work supervisor and other decision-makers in the company or organization can become great references later, whether to help you land an internship, get into grad school or secure your next job. If you’re lucky enough to work in your field of study, these individuals might also become mentors to you.
Resume-building. No matter what type of job you hold, you’re likely to learn new skills and pick up knowledge that could bolster your resume. Future employers will also appreciate that you had the drive to work and study simultaneously; a strong work ethic is important to those who hire.
Where should you look for work?
On campus. Colleges offer a variety of student employment opportunities, typically posted on the school website or intranet. The advantages of working on campus include:
- Location. Why not take a job that’s within walking distance from your classes?
- Flexible scheduling. Understanding the demands of juggling a job and coursework, campus employers will often work around your breaks, finals and other school-related activities.
- Special perks. Some colleges offer incentives in addition to a paycheck — a meal plan credit, for example, when you work in food service. When you become an upperclassman, you might also have the opportunity to get free room and board by becoming a resident assistant in a dorm.
Off campus. Though you may have to arrange for transportation to an off-campus job, taking a look at local job postings could be a good idea. Off-campus jobs offer these advantages:
- Pay. You can often earn a higher hourly wage working off-campus.
- Variety. Depending on the number of businesses in your college town, you may be able to find a job that interests you more than on-campus options.
- No limits on earning. Off-campus jobs tend to offer more flexibility in allowing you to add hours when you want.
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