The Great College Student Job Debate
Getting a student job in college is a smart move. Not only will it provide you with some extra dough to spend on late-night pizza, trips to the movies and that must-have pair of shoes – it’ll also provide you with some invaluable experience to boost your resume and introduce you to new, interesting people, giving you the opportunity to expand your social circle.
To help you narrow down the list and find the perfect student job for you, here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of on-campus and off-campus jobs.
1. Scheduling. On-campus jobs tend to be more understanding of college students’ schedules, seeing as they’re specifically designed for them. If you’re looking for more flexibility in terms of scheduling times to work, an on-campus job is for you. Some positions even allow you to set your own work schedule and put in your hours whenever you have the time.
2. Variety. With all of the various academic departments at your college, you can expect a wide range of on-campus jobs to choose from. On-campus jobs can be anything from preparing solutions for a chemistry professor to proofreading a literature professor’s latest book.
3. Practical application of classroom learning. Many on-campus jobs give you the opportunity to work with professors at the top of your field of study and gain some practical, hands-on experience with what you are learning in class (while getting paid at the same time!).
1. Money. Some on-campus jobs have pretty low starting pay rates, which may be less than their off-campus counterparts. They also don’t give you the opportunity to earn tips as, say, servers or bartenders would.
2. Less personal interaction. Some on-campus jobs tend to be isolated. Whether doing research in the college library or crunching numbers on the computer, you may find yourself working alone with many on-campus jobs rather than brushing up on your interpersonal and customer service skills.
1. Money. Off-campus jobs often pay more than the average on-campus position. Also, off-campus jobs in the service industry allow you to supplement your hourly wage with some tips.
2. Opportunities to expand your social circle. College campuses can often feel like a bubble, isolated from the rest of the world. Off-campus jobs are a great opportunity to get out and meet new people, whether coworkers or customers, who may offer you fresh perspectives and alternatives to hanging out on campus every weekend.
3. “Real world” experience. Off-campus jobs allow you to escape the “ivory tower” of college and gain some real work experience that may be more applicable to jobs you pursue in the future. This experience may also be just the thing to set you apart from the average student when sending out resumes and applications as your college career comes to a close.
1. Scheduling. Off-campus jobs may not be as flexible and understanding as on-campus student jobs in terms of scheduling. In the “real world,” money is the bottom line, so bosses may not be as lenient or willing to let you off the hook if you need to miss a shift to study for an exam or go to a formal.
2. Less convenient. Off-campus jobs may be less convenient than on-campus jobs simply because of the fact that they are off-campus. You may have to commit more time to commuting between your college and your place of employment and likely won’t be able to get your work done on your own time, say in between classes, as you can with some on-campus positions.
Whichever option seems more appealing to you, on-campus or off-campus, it is a shrewd idea to get a job while you are a student in college. With the promise of more spending money, new professional and social contacts and invaluable on-the-job experience, you will come out of it a richer, wiser and hopefully happier college student than you were at the start.