Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Three Reasons to Work During College

Remember the days when college was a mini vacation, a place for the well off to send their children to cavort with their friends before the “stresses” of real-world responsibilities became theirs? If not, you probably weren’t a college student in the early 20th century. With increased access and state support to higher education, college and university life has been redefined. However, new obligations-particularly financial ones-materialized in the wake of this social movement. A recent American Council on Education report estimates that 76% of undergraduates worked either part-time or full-time during college; here are some reasons why you might consider being a part of that percentage.

More money, less problems: A part-time position during college can bring in much-needed financial support to help offset the cost of books, student fees, rent, or any other college-related expenses. Of course these expenses can be covered by student loans, but ask any of your friends taking an introduction to finance class about compound interest and you will understand quickly that paying for these expenses now will provide you higher earning power in the future.

It’s all about the GPA, baby: Research has shown a positive correlation between working part-time during college and a higher GPA. Correlation isn’t causation, but evidence has show that students who work during college tend to manage their time better and are more engaged with their learning (especially if the money they earn directly funds education), leading to higher marks in the classroom.

Are you experienced?: In my opinion one of the most compelling reasons to work during college is to establish a work history early. Skills obtained in a part-time position while going to school can be marketed to companies on a résumé and those who you work for-provided you do your job well-could be invaluable references to help you land that internship or post-graduation position.

As author Thomas Payne said “what we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly.” Committing to a part-time job can help your bank account, your GPA, and your future job prospects.

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