Is It Worth It to Get A Work-Study Job?

Work-study is part-time employment designed for college students with financial needs to assist them in paying education expenses. As you prepare to begin your college experience, deciding whether to take on a work-study position can be challenging. However, there are numerous and often hidden benefits of doing it.

Earn your own money. This is the most noticeable benefit of having a work-study job. Even if you have people in your life assisting you financially, there is a feeling of fulfillment and independence that comes from periodically having the results of your hard work deposited in your bank account. With a work-study position, you can participate in the Work-Study Payment Agreement, which will directly apply a portion of each paycheck toward your student account. This way, you will contribute to your own education.

It’s near you. What’s better than having to spend just a few minutes to get to work, especially on a bad weather day? In some cases, you won't even have to worry about leaving your dorm to work. When you have a work-study position, you work on your college campus, saving you time. It also saves you money because it eliminates the burden of incremental costs associated with your transportation and meals. You can literally walk or bike to your workplace and go to your preferred on-campus dining service for your meals at no additional cost.

It’s part-time. This means that with a work-study position, you have more freedom to decide the best time to work. Whether you do it before, between, or after classes, or just on the weekends, you can work on a schedule that allows you to prioritize your academics and still have time to hang out with your friends. With that flexibility comes the chance of working fewer hours during times of intense academic pressure, like finals or when you have a very important paper to submit. Like you, on-campus employers prioritize your academic success and are always willing to help you find shifts for any missed hour.

Boost learning outside the classroom. Are you passionate about writing? Why not find a position in the student newspaper? Do you feel excited about teaching? Why not become a tutor? Through several work-study positions, you can pursue your passion and acquire many skills. You can even become a student manager, a leadership experience that would be valuable in any career you decide to pursue. You can also deepen your understanding of concepts you learn in your area of study. For instance, if you are interested in business management, you can gain hands-on experience on how HR, marketing, ITS, visual media, and other departments function within your college.

Get ready for the real world. Even if you do not intend to pursue a business career, you are preparing yourself to be part of a company, as an employee, or as the owner. Therefore, through a work-study job, you get the sense of what being part of a corporation means. You learn to work and think as a team. You become more responsible, ethical, and open-minded. You learn how to interact with others and present yourself professionally. All of these experiences and skills will give you a smoother transition to work-life after college.

Learn to manage personal finance. When deciding on how and when to spend your work-study money, you will need to create a budget. Budgeting will help you become more conscious of your spending, your priorities, and the opportunity cost of your decisions. These are critical life skills you do not want to wait until you are done with college to start developing.

Build your network. Through a work-study position, you get to know and work with people in different positions in your college. You get to learn from people from different walks of life. In some cases, the people in your workplace become your second family and eagerly assist you in achieving your dreams. As they get to know your personal values, skills, life experiences, and goals, they can help you connect with other people and organizations for your academic and professional advancement.

While studying and working simultaneously may seem intimidating at some points, for those mentioned above and many other reasons, it is worth considering doing it. A work-study job can help you pay your college bills, grow, develop life skills, and provide you with the exposure you need to give major steps in your life. Search for jobs, apply for positions that interest you, and enjoy your experience.

Performing arts work-study students help with light and set design for a production.
Anthropology student workers analyze and categorize a sizable collection.

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