Headed for College : Working in School

If you can get through school without working, you’re golden. But if you’re not that lucky, you've got some decisions to make:

How much time do you have?
If your school work suffers because you’re working too much at an outside job, then there’s no reason to be in school, is there? So, first figure out how much time you need for school. And for studying. And sleeping. And if you can't balance the time and the money, consider alternating semesters. Work for one term to save for school, then study for the next term. Sure, it may prolong your stay at the university, but you’ll come out with better grades and less debt.

Which hours can you work?
There’s a reason so many students get jobs at restaurants: flexible hours (oh, and free food). Make sure your job doesn’t conflict with your actual class time – or your study time.

How much do you need?
Work as little as possible to cover your needs. And while high-paying jobs are great, they often come with tradeoffs – like longer hours, or later hours, or earlier hours. Point being, you may have to pay a price for better pay. Don’t let that price be your grades. Because again, what’s the point in that?

What do you want to do?
Have fun. Learn something. Try something new. There’s no better time than college for a little job experimentation. There’ll be plenty of time later for a career track.

Where do you find a job?
Ask around. Your friends or family are the best referrals you’ve got. If you want experience in your field of study, ask your professors for ideas. Or just stop by your favorite stores and see if they're hiring. And of course, there's always craigslist, where you can pick up some sweet temporary positions or short-term gigs. Just make sure the job posting is legit – the craigslist community does a great job of flagging scams but some creeps still slip past. Check out the postings. Ask for references.

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