Can You Work a Full-Time Job in College?

job in college

Did you know that this year 16.9 million students enrolled in college for the first time? For many of these individuals being a student will be a full-time job so they can focus on their studies. However, a lot of people don’t have this luxury.

College is incredibly expensive and if you’re paying for it partly or fully by yourself, then expenses can add up quickly. That’s why many people work throughout the school. However, is it possible to work a full-time job in college?

Or are you setting yourself up for failure? If you want to learn the answer to this question, as well as tips for working in a school, then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about working a full-time job in college. Let’s get started!

Is It Possible to Work a Full-Time Job in College?

Before we get started, let’s go over whether or not working full-time during college is even feasible. The good news is that it has been accomplished. In fact it’s a path that a good amount of college students must go down.

One study conducted by Georgetown University confirmed these findings. It found that 75% of graduate students and 40% of undergraduate students all worked at least thirty hours per week.

So, an individual can work a full-time job while being at school. However, we never said it was easy. It’ll probably be one of the most stressful, hardest things that you’ve even had to do.

So, to make it easier we’ll go over some tips when selecting a job and working it, all while studying. But first, let’s go over some of the pros and cons of working full time. That way, you know for sure that it’s the right decision for you.

Benefits of Working Full-Time in College

For many people, the biggest benefit of working full-time during school is that they can afford to go to school. Student loan debt is at a record high level. And, that means that more people than ever before are exiting college buried in debt.

Working throughout the time that you’re in school helps ensure that you keep your head above the water. By graduating without debt, you also have a lot more professional freedom.

It usually takes two or three years in any career before you start making good money. A lack of debt helps ensure that you can survive those initial years. If you have job benefits, like healthcare or a 401 (k), then working during college helps ensure that you won’t lose them.

Finally, working during school provides you with real-world skills. The technical knowledge that you learn in school isn’t all that you’ll need for a job. Many positions rely on leadership skills that can only be learned from experience. As such, working during school allows you to develop these skills.

Drawbacks of Working Full-Time in College

Sadly, working full-time during college is no cakewalk. The biggest drawback is likely the stress. With classes, courses work and a job you will likely get very little time to yourself. This can make something that’s already stressful (being a student) twice as hard.

It will likely involve many sleepless nights juggling work and homework. This, in turn, can lead to more stress and sleep exhaustion. In addition to this, there’s also a good chance that your coursework will suffer because of your job.

Because of all the hours that you work you likely won’t be able to study or complete essays to the best of your abilities. This isn’t an issue if you’re just trying to keep your head above the water grade-wise.

However, many students will want an excellent academic record to apply for grad school. So, if you fall in this category, then you may need to devote your full time to being a student. Finally, there’s a good chance that you won’t get much socialization.

This might sound like a minor drawback, but it can be quite serious. A huge part of college is socializing. This isn’t just for fun, it’s to make connections that can last a lifetime. As such, you might miss out on networking opportunities that could lead to a potential job. 

What Are Some Good Jobs For College?

For starters, you need to find and apply for a job that’s flexible enough to fit into your school schedule. Sadly, this can be easier said than done. It’s true, there is a current worker shortage facing this country for retail positions.

However, getting hired for these jobs is still a huge challenge. This is especially true when you consider the fact that you will need to work around your classes during the week. As such, it’s good to apply for jobs with lots of evening or weekend hours.

Fast food restaurants, waiting for staff, and retail positions are usually good places to start. You can also try things like a delivery driver, receptionist, cashier, tutor, and line cook.

If you have the opportunity, then you should try to apply for jobs and internships that correspond to your major. This will give you a bit of a head start on your career when you graduate.

The only problem is that it will likely be hard to find an internship that’s willing to pay you a liveable full-time wage. However, it’s still worth applying to the ones that you find. 

Tips for Working a Full-Time College Job

Working during college is undoubtedly hard, but it’s not impossible. This is especially true if you carefully plan things out. But where do you begin? In this section, we’ll provide you with some tips for your new busy schedule.

That way, you both know what to expect and can maximize any free time that you might have. Also, make sure to explore this guide on finding a balance between work and school if you want a resource that’s fully devoted to tips. 

Know Your Budget

If you’re working full-time in school, then a budget is essential. First, you should make a list of all your expenses. This includes things like rent, food, books, loans, and bills. You should also include the rough cost of tuition.

You can learn more here about the average cost of college tuition. However, for most people, it’s around $30,000 for a bachelor’s degree. Once you have your expenses, then you should make a list of the money coming in.

This includes any scholarships, allowances, loan money, and the salary from your job. From here you can start making a budget by allocating funds toward your expenses. Keep in mind that it will likely be a lean few years.

However, you can save money by eating cheap meals like ramen, getting roommates, and walking to class/work instead of driving (if that’s possible). 

Create a Strict Schedule and Stick With It

Your budget isn’t the only thing that you need to stick to. When you’re working and going to school, then your time is often just as valuable. As such, you need to make sure that you don’t waste it at all.

And, the best way to do this is to make a strict schedule. For starters, you should put in your classes. Then, schedule shifts for work that fit realistically around this class schedule. From here, you have the two biggest chunks of your schedule out of the way.

You can now pencil in times for studying, writing, and social time. Make sure to take advantage of the early morning. Odds are that you’ll be exhausted toward the evening.

So, this is a more ideal time to get lots of studying in. The more strict your schedule is the greater your chances are for success. 

Be Prepared to Make Sacrifices

As we mentioned in the drawback section, you will need to be prepared to give up traditional parts of the college experience. Specifically, social experiences. There will be a lot of times when the decision comes down to going out to a party with your friends or staying in and studying.

You’ll need to be prepared to say no to a lot of these experiences. For some people, especially extroverts, this can be challenging. Just remember that it’s worth it in the long run. And, at the end of the day, it’s only temporary. 

Take Breaks When You Need Them

We’ve gone over the fact that you can expect a lot of sacrifices in school. However, that doesn’t mean that you need to be working or studying twenty-four seven. Indeed, this is often a recipe for failure.

To properly retain the information you will need to give your brain a rest. Just make sure that you aren’t just looking at a phone during your breaks. Instead, take a walk or spend some time cooking a home meal.

These breaks will also do wonders for your mental health. 

Start With Community College Classes

Sadly, many people look down on community college classes. This is a shame because they can be a real asset for people who can’t immediately afford school. Typically, most liberal arts schools have general education courses during the first year or two.

However, the secret is that these credits can be completed everywhere, including community colleges. That means that you can knock out half or more of your credit load before you even get into the school that you want.

Best of all, you don’t need to take a full course load at community colleges. This frees up a lot of your time to work. This is a great solution for people who can’t afford school. You can gradually start collecting credits while saving money.

Then, when your junior and senior year rules around, you can have some savings to fall back on when your course load builds up. If you still aren’t sure which option is right for you, then check out this guide that compares and contrasts universities with community colleges. 

Apply For Student Loans If You Have To

No one likes the idea of being in debt. However, the reality is that without student loans many people simply can’t afford to go to school. Perhaps that’s why Americans currently owe $1.5 trillion in student loans.

As such, you shouldn’t feel bad taking one. Just make sure to be prepared for the potential consequences. Many students justify student loans by telling themselves that their future job will help pay them off.

However, this isn’t always the case. More often than not, it will take you years, or even decades to pay off the loans. As such, you need to be prepared for a worst-case scenario when it comes to your debt.

However, if you’re prepared to face the music, then start applying for loans. 

Need More College Advice? Keep Reading College Budget

We hope this article helped you decide whether or not working a full-time job in college is feasible. As you can see, it’s more than possible to work a job during your education. However, make no mistake, it will be difficult.

You’re doubling up on what will already be a busy schedule. As such, you should make sure that you’re physically and emotionally ready for some tough days ahead. However, remember that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel.

And, while working through school is a challenge, it will feel that much better at the end of the day when you graduate. Did you enjoy this article? If the answer is yes, then you’re in the right place.

Here at College Budget, our goal is to provide students with all of the resources they need to succeed, regardless of their financial income.

That’s why we make topics like this to help you navigate the confusing waters of college. If you want more articles about college life, then make sure to check out all that we have to offer.

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