Career Planning

Should your Student Work Part-Time During College?

A big lesson for college students is managing their time well. Your college student is learning to balance classes, studying, socializing, clubs, working out, and much more with their new found freedom. But if working a part-time job isn’t on her plate, maybe it should be.

There are several benefits to working while in college. While the decision might have to be weighed for a freshman — who may already be overwhelmed with the changes in her life — upperclassmen definitely have much to gain from working a part-time job. Encourage your student to think about these considerations when deciding whether to work:

Extra Money

Obviously, a huge plus to having a job versus not having a job is the income. Although part-time work is usually not enough to live on, a 20-hour per week job could pay for rent every month, gas and car insurance, books, or entertainment and splurges.


There’s no better way to learn how to responsibly handle finances than to do it. While it’s a great idea to talk to your student about saving money and help her form a budget, she’ll learn best by actually watching her hard-earned money go in and out of her bank account.


Even if your student doesn’t find a part-time job in the field she plans to go into after college, there are still opportunities to make contacts and network. The relationships she builds at her job could help her secure solid references for her resume or land an interview for an internship.


Likewise, even if she isn’t gaining work experience that will benefit her eventual career, she is gaining real-life experience. Working with colleagues, answering to a boss, attending meetings, and meeting deadlines are universal demands that will benefit her no matter what career path she chooses. Including a part-time job on her resume will prove she’s well-rounded and has a strong work ethic.


By adding work into the mix, your student will have to learn to prioritize her time and maintain a regular schedule to get everything done. This will mean gaining the wisdom to say “no” to some demands on her time while knowing what to sacrifice so she can say “yes” to others.

On-campus Presence

If your student takes an on-campus job, she will have the opportunity to be more connected to what’s going on at school, while getting paid for it. For example, working at the auditorium/theater as an usher will grant her the chance to hear guest speakers or artists. Working for the school newspaper will keep her up to date on the latest campus and local news while helping her to build her writing skills. Many benefits can come from a part-time job. 

Use our conversation starters to see if a small side job would be a good fit for your student. 

Have you thought about starting a part-time job?

What kinds of part-time jobs interest you?

Did you enjoy reading this article? Sign up for UniversityParent’s weekly eNewsletter for additional tips and advice to help your college student succeed. You can also add to the discussion and get feedback from fellow college parents by joining our College Parents’ Facebook group. 

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