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Career Planning

4 Ways to Make Your College Job Work for You

How to make the most of your college job.

Kathryn Knight Randolph

August 12, 2014

4 Ways to Make Your College Job Work for You
After much thoughtful planning and strategizing, you’ve developed your game plan for paying your tuition and attending class: work 30 hours a week, take the minimum hours of classes and sleep five or six hours a night. It seems like a good plan, totally doable. But in the end, it may not add up in your favor. For instance, working too many hours will almost certainly guarantee that you’ll pay more for school in the long run. So what can you do to make your job work for you, rather than hold you back? Work less than 20 hours a week.

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In an interview with U.S. News & World Report, Anthony Carnevale, director and research professor of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, stated that students should only plan to work 15 – 20 hours a week. Working more than that can have a severe impact on academics and class schedule, oftentimes requiring students to attend school longer. Unfortunately, that means paying even more on your student loans after graduation. Try to get a job on campus.

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No one understands better that you have a life outside of your job than the university. That’s why you should search for a campus job first. They will not only limit your hours to 15 – 20 a week, but they will also be flexible with your work hours when you have a paper, exam or finals for which to prepare. Some of the top campus jobs for college students, according to USA Today College, are Resident Assistant, Fitness Center/Intramural Sports Coordinator, Tutor/TA/Lab Assistant, Tour Guide and Student Activities Assistant. Don’t put yourself in a stressful situation.

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While an internship during college is practically a requirement for landing a job, don’t take on anything that is too stressful. What is internship experience worth if it takes you six years to graduate and a decade more of student loan payments? Essentially, don’t take on a role or responsibility in the working world if it becomes a priority over your academics. Work jobs like retail and food service during the school year, and save heavy-duty internships or part-time jobs in the industry you’re interested in for the summer months. Automatically deposit your paycheck toward your tuition. With a job on campus, you have the option to automatically pay down your tuition bill with each paycheck. That prevents you from spending your hard-earned cash on pizza, video games and clothes. If you’re using your paycheck to go toward living expenses, spend smartly. Create a budget for yourself, and stick to it. With this kind of discipline, your job will pay off in the long run, rather than cause you further student loan debt when you have to continue your college education for a year or two longer than the standard four.

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