Working While Studying: Balancing Part-Time Jobs with Bachelor’s Programs

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Col­lege life can get busy. You’ve got class­es, work, and try­ing to have a social life. But it’s all doable! Did you know that accord­ing to recent sta­tis­tics, approx­i­mate­ly 70% of col­lege stu­dents work part-time while pur­su­ing their degrees? Part-time jobs, and even full-time jobs, are just an expect­ed part of col­lege life in the 21st cen­tu­ry. While it can be dif­fi­cult to man­age so many respon­si­bil­i­ties, there are many pros to suc­cess­ful­ly bal­anc­ing work and bach­e­lor’s programs.

In this guide, we’ll talk about why work­ing part-time in col­lege is a good idea, how to man­age your time when you’re work­ing, and tips for bal­anc­ing work and school.

Relat­ed Resources:

Smart Mon­ey Tips for Stu­dents: Finan­cial­ly Plan­ning for your Bachelor’s Degree

Schol­ar­ships For Bachelor’s Pro­grams: An Easy Guide for Students

First pub­lished in March 2024. All data was accu­rate at time of pub­li­ca­tion. Bach­e­lor’s Degree Cen­ter arti­cles are for infor­ma­tion pur­pos­es only and are not pro­fes­sion­al finan­cial advice.

Benefits of Balancing Work and Bachelor’s Programs

Con­sid­er­ing tak­ing on a part-time job while nav­i­gat­ing col­lege life? It’s a deci­sion that many stu­dents con­tem­plate, and for good reason. 

Let’s delve into why opt­ing for a part-time job dur­ing your col­lege years can offer a mul­ti­tude of ben­e­fits and enhance your over­all col­lege experience.

  • Mon­ey Mat­ters: Work­ing part-time means you can earn some cash to cov­er your col­lege expens­es, like books and liv­ing costs. It’s a good way to be less depen­dent on loans or finan­cial aid.
  • Learn­ing on the Job: Work­ing while study­ing gives you real-world expe­ri­ence that can com­ple­ment what you learn in class. Whether it’s an intern­ship or a reg­u­lar job, it’s all good for your resume and skills.
  • Con­nec­tions Count: When you work, you meet peo­ple in your field. These con­nec­tions could help you find future jobs or internships.

Time Management Strategies for Working Students

As a stu­dent jug­gling the respon­si­bil­i­ties of bal­anc­ing work and bach­e­lor’s pro­grams, effec­tive time man­age­ment becomes para­mount. Did you know that stud­ies show near­ly 80% of col­lege stu­dents report expe­ri­enc­ing stress due to issues relat­ed to time man­age­ment? Don’t let that be you. 

Let’s explore some effec­tive time man­age­ment tech­niques tai­lored specif­i­cal­ly for work­ing stu­dents, empow­er­ing you to strike a har­mo­nious bal­ance between your pro­fes­sion­al and aca­d­e­m­ic pursuits.

  • Plan Your Time: Make a sched­ule for your class­es, work shifts, and study time. Use a plan­ner or an app to keep track of every­thing. By allo­cat­ing spe­cif­ic time slots for each task, you can ensure that nei­ther your aca­d­e­m­ic nor pro­fes­sion­al respon­si­bil­i­ties are neglected.
  • Break It Down: Don’t try to do every­thing at once. Break tasks into small­er parts to make them more man­age­able. Break­ing down larg­er assign­ments or projects into small­er, action­able steps not only makes them less over­whelm­ing but also facil­i­tates a more orga­nized and sys­tem­at­ic approach to com­plet­ing them.
  • Use Your Time Wise­ly: Find pock­ets of time between class­es or dur­ing breaks at work to get some study­ing done. Make the most of your time with­out for­get­ting to relax. 

Whether it’s review­ing lec­ture notes dur­ing a lunch break or com­plet­ing read­ings dur­ing down­time between class­es, max­i­miz­ing the use of avail­able time ensures that you stay on top of your aca­d­e­m­ic work­load while ful­fill­ing your work com­mit­ments. Remem­ber to incor­po­rate short breaks to recharge and main­tain pro­duc­tiv­i­ty lev­els effectively.

statistics on students balancing work and bachelor's programs

Balancing Work and Bachelor’s Programs

Con­sid­er­ing the del­i­cate bal­ance between work and aca­d­e­mics, it’s cru­cial for stu­dents to employ effec­tive strate­gies that pro­mote suc­cess in both realms. It might not sur­prise you that near­ly 60% of col­lege stu­dents say that open com­mu­ni­ca­tion with their employ­ers about sched­ul­ing con­flicts helps them man­age their workload. 

Noth­ing is more impor­tant for a work­ing col­lege stu­dent than com­mu­ni­cat­ing, set­ting pri­or­i­ties, and ask­ing for sup­port for bal­anc­ing work and bach­e­lor’s pro­grams. Let’s explore these strate­gies fur­ther to ensure you thrive in both your pro­fes­sion­al and aca­d­e­m­ic pursuits.

  • Talk It Out: Let your boss know about your class­es and any sched­ul­ing con­flicts you might have. Keep com­mu­ni­ca­tion open to adjust your work hours if needed.
  • Pri­or­i­tize: Fig­ure out which school assign­ments are most impor­tant and focus on those. Plan your work sched­ule around your class­es to make sure you get every­thing done.
  • Get Help When You Need It: Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your pro­fes­sors or cam­pus resources if you’re feel­ing over­whelmed. They’re there to sup­port you.

I can’t speak as an employ­er, but when I was a pro­fes­sor, I always appre­ci­at­ed when stu­dents were hon­est with me. In fact, I would always tell my stu­dents “I want you to suc­ceed. If you come to me, we’ll fig­ure out how.” The stu­dents who hid their strug­gles and tried to do it all would almost always crack eventually. 

Lis­ten — there is no shame in say­ing you need: 

  • more time to fin­ish an assignment
  • more expla­na­tion of how to do an assignment
  • more under­stand­ing of your challenges
  • more accom­mo­da­tions for a dis­abil­i­ty or difference

I’m not say­ing there aren’t mean pro­fes­sors. Col­lege is just like any job — you can get a bad boss once in a while. But most pro­fes­sors aren’t out to get you, and most want the best for you. 

How Many Col­lege Stu­dents Have a Job?

Age groupFull-time stu­dentsPart-time stu­dents
16 to 2437%71%
25 to 2956%78%
30 to 3955%80%
40 to 4958%78%
50 to 6461%52%
Source: Nation­al Cen­ter for Edu­ca­tion Statistics 

Finding On-Campus Jobs and Work-Study

Look­ing for a job on cam­pus? You’re in luck! Many col­leges offer on-cam­pus employ­ment oppor­tu­ni­ties, includ­ing work-study pro­grams. Here’s how to find work on cam­pus and make the most of work-study options:

On-Cam­pus Jobs:

  • Look Around: Check bul­letin boards or online por­tals for job list­ings around cam­pus. You might find open­ings in the library, cafe­te­ria, or stu­dent center.
  • Vis­it Career Ser­vices: They can help you find on-cam­pus jobs that fit your sched­ule and interests.
  • Net­work: Talk to pro­fes­sors, advi­sors, or old­er stu­dents. They might know about job oppor­tu­ni­ties you haven’t heard of.

When I was in col­lege as an Eng­lish major, I land­ed a part-time job as an admin­is­tra­tive assis­tant in the Eng­lish depart­ment. It was a sim­ple job that earned me some extra cash, but the best part was get­ting to know my pro­fes­sors. Being close to them helped me build per­son­al rela­tion­ships and make sure they got to know me as a per­son rather than just a stu­dent. Lat­er, those rela­tion­ships were very valu­able when I need­ed rec­om­men­da­tions for work and grad school.

That’s the advan­tage of work­ing on-cam­pus, espe­cial­ly with peo­ple who can actu­al­ly help your future! 

Work-Study Pro­grams:

  • What’s Work-Study?: It’s a pro­gram that offers part-time jobs to stu­dents with finan­cial need. These jobs can be on or off-campus.
  • Apply Ear­ly: Work-study jobs can be com­pet­i­tive. Apply ear­ly and explore all options.
  • Find Your Fit: Look for work-study jobs that match your skills and inter­ests. Bal­ance work and stud­ies by com­mu­ni­cat­ing with your super­vi­sor and pri­or­i­tiz­ing your classes.

By explor­ing on-cam­pus jobs and work-study pro­grams, you can earn mon­ey, gain expe­ri­ence, and keep your stud­ies on track—all while stay­ing close to campus.

In short, bal­anc­ing work and bach­e­lor’s pro­grams is tough but doable. With some plan­ning and pri­or­i­tiz­ing, you can make it work. Just remem­ber to take it one step at a time, and don’t for­get to enjoy col­lege life along the way!


How do you bal­ance between work and col­lege?

Bal­anc­ing work and col­lege can be tricky, but it’s def­i­nite­ly doable! Here are some tips:
Plan your sched­ule: Make a week­ly or month­ly sched­ule that includes your class­es, work shifts, study time, and even time for relax­ation. Be real­is­tic about how much you can fit in each day.
Pri­or­i­tize ruth­less­ly: School­work usu­al­ly comes first. Sched­ule your work shifts around your class­es and exams. If you have a big dead­line com­ing up, see if you can pick up few­er hours that week.
Be effi­cient: Learn to man­age your time well. Avoid dis­trac­tions while study­ing and focus on get­ting things done quick­ly.
Com­mu­ni­cate clear­ly: Talk to your pro­fes­sors and employ­ers about your sched­ule. Let them know if you need to adjust your work hours for a big exam or project. Most peo­ple are under­stand­ing if you com­mu­ni­cate open­ly.
Find a flex­i­ble job: Look for a part-time job that offers flex­i­ble hours, like evenings or week­ends. This will make it eas­i­er to sched­ule around your class­es.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help: If you’re feel­ing over­whelmed, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Talk to pro­fes­sors, advi­sors, or class­mates for sup­port. You might be sur­prised how many peo­ple are in the same boat!
By fol­low­ing these tips and being orga­nized, you can find a bal­ance between work and col­lege and suc­ceed in both areas!

How do you bal­ance work and school at the same time?

Feel­ing swamped by work and school? Don’t wor­ry, champ! You’ve got a secret weapon: your per­son­al­i­ty! Here’s how to use it to win the jug­gling game:
The List Lover: You like things planned and orga­nized? Per­fect! Make a week­ly sched­ule that fits work, class­es, and even some fun time. Use a plan­ner or app to track dead­lines and projects. Your list-mak­ing skills will keep you ahead of the game.
The Social But­ter­fly: You love peo­ple and work­ing togeth­er? Great! Find a study bud­dy or group for class­es. Maybe even find a friend at work to swap notes with. Your friend­ly side can make study­ing fun and keep you moti­vat­ed.
The Go-Get­ter: You’re inde­pen­dent and can han­dle things on your own? Awe­some! Be your own boss with your time. Set goals and hold your­self account­able. Need a break? Don’t be afraid to say no to extra work or hang­outs to focus on school. Your go-get­ter spir­it will help you man­age your suc­cess.
The Prob­lem-Solver: You see chal­lenges as puz­zles to crack? Fan­tas­tic! Unex­pect­ed work sched­ule? No prob­lem! Just adjust your study plan. Can’t find a qui­et space? Get cre­ative! Use head­phones or turn a qui­et cor­ner at work into your study zone. Your prob­lem-solv­ing skills will help you over­come any­thing.
The key is to fig­ure out your strong points and use them to bal­ance work and school in a way that works best for you!

Is it pos­si­ble to work full time and go to col­lege?

Work­ing full-time while get­ting your col­lege degree? It’s a tough jug­gling act, but total­ly pos­si­ble for some folks! Here’s the low­down:
It’s demand­ing: Let’s be real, this is a lot on your plate. Be pre­pared to man­age your time like a champ and maybe cut back on some social stuff.
It depends on you: Can you han­dle the pres­sure? Are you super orga­nized? If you’re a self-starter with good time man­age­ment skills, you might rock this.
There are ben­e­fits: Work­ing full-time can help you pay for col­lege and gain valu­able work expe­ri­ence. It might even make you more dis­ci­plined and focused in school.
Alter­na­tives exist: Maybe full-time is too much. Con­sid­er work­ing part-time or look­ing for finan­cial aid options like schol­ar­ships or grants.
Work­ing full-time and going to col­lege is a per­son­al deci­sion. If you’re orga­nized, deter­mined, and can han­dle the pres­sure, it’s def­i­nite­ly doable!

Can you work 40 hours and go to col­lege?

Work­ing 40 hours a week while attend­ing col­lege is a seri­ous com­mit­ment. Let’s break down the real­i­ty:
Are You Allowed to Work 40 Hours?:
Gen­er­al­ly allowed: Most col­leges don’t have rules against work­ing while you study. It’s your time to man­age!
But Can You Do It?
Tough but pos­si­ble: It’s def­i­nite­ly demand­ing. You’ll need laser focus on time man­age­ment and be okay with say­ing “no” to some social activ­i­ties.
Con­sid­er your per­son­al­i­ty: Are you a self-starter who thrives under pres­sure? Great! This might work for you. If you strug­gle with orga­ni­za­tion, it could be over­whelm­ing.
Suc­cess is pos­si­ble: Many stu­dents pull it off, but it’s not easy. Be pre­pared to work hard and pri­or­i­tize ruth­less­ly.
Alter­na­tives avail­able: Con­sid­er work­ing part-time, explor­ing schol­ar­ships and grants, or look­ing for less demand­ing work sched­ules.
Work­ing 40 hours and attend­ing col­lege is a per­son­al choice. If you’re orga­nized, deter­mined, and can han­dle the pres­sure, it’s def­i­nite­ly pos­si­ble. But be hon­est with your­self – can you tru­ly excel at both? It might be a good idea to start with a lighter work­load and see how you man­age before div­ing into full-time work.

How many hours can you real­is­ti­cal­ly work in col­lege?

So you know work­ing full-time and col­lege can be tough, but how many hours is actu­al­ly real­is­tic? There’s no mag­ic answer, but here’s some info to help you decide:
The “Sweet Spot”: Stud­ies sug­gest work­ing around 13–20 hours a week might be ide­al. This lets you earn some mon­ey with­out killing your grades.
Your Course Load Mat­ters: Heav­ier class­es mean less work time. If you’re tak­ing all sci­ence cours­es, you might need to cut back hours com­pared to some­one with most­ly elec­tives.
Sleep and Study­ing Come First: Don’t skimp on sleep or cram­ming for exams! Aim for a sched­ule that leaves room for rest, study­ing, and maybe even some fun (got­ta stay sane!).
Lis­ten to Your Body: You know your­self best. If you’re con­stant­ly stressed and exhaust­ed, cut back on work hours. Your health and suc­cess in school come first!
Here’s the key: Be hon­est with your­self about how much you can han­dle. It’s bet­ter to work few­er hours and do well in school than to risk burnout and strug­gle in both areas.