Should I Get a Work-Study or a Job in College?

Some students, when entering college, maybe trying to decide if they should work during school. There are definitely pros and cons to this approach, and you may have the option between work-study and a job. These are some considerations you should make, and some tips to help you decide between a work-study or job in college.

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Pros of Work-Study or a Job During College

There are plenty of benefits to working during college, whether that be at a work-study position or a job. One you’ll want to consider, is, of course, the money! This can be used towards your college expenses, living expenses, travel, leisure, entertainment, savings, and more.

However, there are benefits beyond the money. Another pro of work during college is the experience you get on your resume. A Bachelor’s degree looks great, but getting a few years of work under your belt also looks fantastic to future employers. You’ll learn the necessary skills you will need in the workforce.

Cons of Work-Study or a Job During College

While the cash and experience are nice, you should also consider the cons of working during your education. The main one to note is the lack of time. If you work, you will have less time for your studies. Jobs in particular outside of school could also fail to understand your school schedule and try to schedule you during classes, leading to conflict or loss of the position.

You want to be sure you have enough time to attend your classes, study, and complete any homework, while also having free time for you. You should never skip a class or assignment for work.

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Work-Study vs a Job

So which should you go with: work-study or a job?


A work-study is a position usually offered with a financial aid package by the college. You will likely work somewhere on campus and the extra cash is designed to help make school more affordable. These positions tend to fill up quickly, so if you’re offered this aid and want to accept, make sure to choose a work-study program as soon as possible. Some things to note:

    • These programs will restrict your hours, meaning you may not be able to work as much as you’d like.
    • You won’t have to travel far for work.
      • They tend to be on campus though this is not a hard and fast rule.
    • Even though they fill up quickly, they are less competitive.
    • The more popular work-study options will be taken first.
    • They can be related to your major.

A Job

A job, on the other hand, doesn’t necessarily have to go towards college expenses. You can opt to spend it on whatever you like, and there are some pros and cons when compared to a work-study program.

    • Scheduling can be more difficult. 
    • You have the potential to work more and earn more.
    • Jobs have more availability and variety than work-study programs.

Should I Get a Work-Study or a Job in College?

Not all students will be eligible for a work-study program, so this may impact your decision when choosing a work-study or job. It’s important to think about your own situation, time constraints, and education before applying to either.


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