4 Benefits of Working Through College (Besides the Money)

by Ashley Eneriz

To work in college, or not to work? That seems to be a common question on students’ minds, especially when a full class schedule can feel like more than enough. While it is important to prioritize your studies and do well in school, working through college has many perks. Not only can a part-time position earn you extra money, but it can also impact your college life in other ways. Consider these four benefits of being a student employee when you start looking for jobs.

1. Opportunity for Socializing

Working through college gives you a chance to meet new people and expand your social circle. Not only can you make new friends on the job, but your part-time position can help you network and gain professional connections that can prove beneficial.

You never know who you might assist in your job, especially if you work in customer service. You might be serving someone who happens to be a hiring manager or CEO in the industry you want to pursue. Connecting with people outside of the classroom can help you land a job after (or maybe even before) graduation.

2. Gain Experience

“Whether you work in a part-time job, internship, or student leadership position, a job in college provides the opportunity to put your learning from your classes into practice, or gain practical skill sets that may not be directly linked to your coursework yet rounds out your experience,” says Chaili Trentham, program coordinator for APU’s Exploring program and interdisciplinary studies major. “Find a role that allows you to lean into your strengths, even if it is a little different from your chosen degree program, because it will provide you with valuable experience,” she advises. “When you graduate, a future employer can see that you managed multiple roles, were capable of meeting deadlines with a demanding schedule, and have transferable real-world experience to bring to their organization.”

Trentham also notes that while making lattes might not feel like it has a direct impact on your career path, “employers would love to see that you can work efficiently while tailoring excellent individualized customer experiences.”

3. Manage Your Time Better

Another benefit of juggling a part-time job and schoolwork is that it can help you develop crucial time management skills. Learning to manage your time wisely is a major key to success in many areas of life, as you waste less time procrastinating and focus on the day’s priorities.

Becoming a better manager of your time can also translate into a better grade point average. As noted by CNBC, studies have found that working part-time can be beneficial for a student, especially if the job is on campus, by helping them become more disciplined. As a result, students typically make more money and receive better grades—all while building their résumé.

Keep in mind, while working part-time has been shown to help students perform better in school, working too much (over 20 hours a week) “has been shown to have negative effects,” according to CNBC. It’s important to find the right balance.

4. Improve Your Budgeting Skills

You are probably not going to make enough money through your part-time position to support yourself through college. However, you are more likely to be budget-conscious with the money you do earn. Working part-time and entry-level jobs makes you appreciate each dollar you earn and spend. For example, if you earn $15 an hour, you will be less likely to waste $75 at the mall because that equates to five hours of working.

Working through college will allow you to practice and strengthen your budgeting skills now. When you graduate and start earning a full-time income, budgeting woes don’t magically disappear. In fact, they often increase—because you will need to balance full-time hours with a new set of bills and expenses.

Not sure where to find jobs in college? Start with the resources your school offers. At Azusa Pacific University, you can find on-campus jobs, work-study opportunities, or get help landing a job (or internship) that aligns with your major at APU’s Center for Career and Calling.