Part-Time Jobs for Students

For many high school and college students, the idea of taking on a part-time job can seem unrealistic. Time is precious when studying, and your priorities will naturally be making the most of your education.

A job could take all of your free time, possibly restricting your social life, or even your grades. However, this is not necessarily the case. When approached with planning and preparation, taking a part-time job as a student can be an immensely positive experience.

As well as earning your own money, you can gain work experience, financial planning abilities and time management skills. By choosing the right job, you can also optimize the benefits of the job while minimizing the challenges. At the same time, it is important to acknowledge those same challenges. Planning your time carefully will be key, and you will have to make sure you are always keeping up with your school work.

Potential Benefits

The most obvious benefit to holding a part-time job while studying is the money that you will earn. For college students, this might mean you can put the money toward your books, supplies, and even tuition. You may be able to start saving in advance to pay off your student loans. A high school student may be able to start saving toward college, or help to give his or her family budget more space by buying his or her own clothes and other personal items.

A part-time job can help you to learn how to spend money, in addition to earning money. Learning how to create a budget, even if it is only for a small amount every month, can be a valuable practice in money management. You may be all the more likely to spend your first pay checks in a considered and thoughtful manner once you join the workforce.

The work experience provided by a job can also be extremely valuable. Not only will you learn job-specific skills, but you will also gain responsibility and self-motivation. Perhaps earning as a student might be the first experience of real-world financial terms, preparing you for financial success in the future.

Possible Disadvantages

Despite the numerous benefits, there are several challenges students may face in taking a part-time job. The time taken from your schedule can have an impact on your school work, social life, or both. This may only be the case if you work long hours, but even a part-time job may require you to do just that. Even if your grades are not impacted, you may find yourself missing out on social connections and other school experiences.

In addition to this, high school students preparing for college may find earning extra money can create its own financial issues. If a student earns over $6,420 within the school year, the money will be taken into account when his or her expected family contribution is calculated during the student aid application process. As a result, the amount of aid the student qualifies for may be lowered.

Rules for High School Students

If a high school student under the age of 18 wishes to hold a paying job, there will be several rules the student must follow. You cannot take any job, other than agricultural work, until you turn 14. Until you are 16, the hours you work may also be restricted, possibly depending on whether you are working on a school day or on vacation time. The laws will vary by state, and it is important to check that you are in compliance with them. It is also worth noting that if you earn over a certain amount, you will have to pay taxes.

Time Management Skills

The most important skill to master when considering taking a part-time job as a student is time management. Balancing your study hours and work hours will be crucial to your success in both, as well as allowing you some free and social time. If you are up to the challenge, you may find working and studying can help you develop excellent time management skills for the future. When learning how to manage your time, try to:

  • Be reasonable when deciding how many hours you can work every week. Taking on too much can cause you to lose energy, and soon, you may struggle with both work and school.
  • Schedule every part of your day and week. This includes determining how many hours you will need to complete each part of your school work, including any reading that needs to be done, and making space for the time in your plan.
  • Use a planner or an app to keep track of all your assignments, reading, classes and work hours.
  • Find spare time you are not using in which to complete your school work. This might be during a commute, for example, if you take a train or bus. You may also take advantage of audiobooks and recorded lectures to combine studying with other tasks, like exercise or cleaning.
  • Be willing to take time off work for your studies. If possible, make an advanced plan for extended periods of studying, such as a few days before a final test, and make sure you have that time free. Be upfront with your employer – from the beginning – about your requirements.

Choosing the Right Job

Making the most of your part-time job will mean choosing the right job from the get-go. While you may not always have many options available to you, try writing down a list of everything you want from your work, and then looking for jobs that match up. You may want a job to provide relevant work experience for your long-term career goals, for example. If you are trying to save up, or to pay back a loan, you might look for jobs with the highest-possible wages. Your location may also factor into your decision, perhaps making a job close to campus or your home the ideal choice. Flexible hours or a schedule that matches up with your free time will also play a part in deciding which is the perfect job for you.

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