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5 Reasons to Work While at College — Apart from Needing the Money

For young people who want to have a better chance at landing a job or starting a business, college is the way to go. Statistics in the US show that having at least some college is better than working right after high school. At the same time, however, future students are faced with the hard, cold truth that education isn’t cheap. In fact, average  North American college tuition fees are rising at a steep rate. Much steeper rates than the consumer price index, for example, or the median household income are rising.

In a situation like this, it’s no wonder that many US students decide to work while at college. Paying one’s way through college can help students finish college debt-free. Or at least without crippling debt. But that’s not the only benefit students can get from working while at college.

Experimenting with Different Careers

When starting college, students don’t necessarily have a clear picture of where their talents lie. They can also be interested in fields of work that are incompatible with their personalities. These are the things that are much better to discover earlier than later, and working while in college can give students a chance to do so.

Students who are interested in a career in sales can learn through working whether they have what it takes. Students who are not primarily interested in sales can discover that they’re particularly good at it. A placement agency will often have temp to hire work available across many employers. These sorts of positions usually require little no experience, a true benefit for many US college students looking to learn.

Either way, working while college can help students learn something about themselves. They can use that knowledge to plan their career better.

Learn the Skills

Work shouldn’t take away from the students’ ability to study. That’s what college is about — gaining important knowledge and learning new skills. However, college might not be the best place to learn some skills.

A work environment is the best environment for learning some skills. And it’s not the hard skills that are difficult to acquire at college. It’s the critical workplace skills, such as conflict resolution and goal-setting, that are best learned in the workplace. Students can still learn about them at college. But these skills are highly dependent on the dynamics set by the environment. A college and a workplace are two very different environments. One of them is better for developing workplace skills.

Build Up the Resume / CV

Sooner or later, most college students are faced with the dreaded question — what to put under “experience” when writing a resume. The usual advice for those who don’t have any work experience is that extracurricular activities can count. And they can. It’s just that work experience is still better.

Students who work during college will not have to face this dilemma. They have work experience they can include in their resumes, which gives them a leg up when applying for a post-graduate job. Better yet, it can be helpful for getting an internship. And internships are the best way to ensure post-graduate employment.

Learn to Manage Money

The school system has troubles teaching students how to manage their personal finances. By the time students get into college, and especially when they finish it, this skill will count for a lot. It can be the difference between never having enough money for the things that matter, and managing to cover all the corners and live off what’s left.

Managing personal finance is another one of the things that are better learned earlier than later. It’s also one of the skills that are best learned through practice. When people start making money, they start gaining practical knowledge about personal finances. For students, it’s better to have that experience before leaving college.

Learn to Network

One of the top advice job searchers get is that they should learn how to network. Going to college helps a lot because colleges are great places to start developing personal networks. And there’s always social media to help people stay in touch after graduation.

Students who work during college get two separate sets of people to network with. They get their fellow students, as well as the people they meet while working. And it’s the latter who can write recommendation letters, provide useful contacts, or even serve as mentors.

For many students, working while in college is the only way they can attend college. But even the students who are not in such a situation should strongly consider finding working during college. There are too many benefits to miss if they don’t.


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