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October 25, 2010


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Depends on the major and college. With some majors it's really difficult. For example, CS major in a good school has a lot of projects where you may really need to spend ours and ours in computer lab. It also depends on how many courses you take. But a couple of junior or senior level CS courses in a school with a good CS department (even public school e.g. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign or University of California at Berkeley) would keep you occupied full time. Not every week, but if you have a job where you have to be there at specific times, it'll be a problem. A flexible hours job like a grader would be fine, but it doesn't pay as much.

I worked during college, but if I had to do it all over again I would not have worked and concentrating on my education.

I went to a school that had a co-op program. I went to school 3 months and then work for 3 months at a sponsor company. I did that year round for 5 years to obtain my bachelors. To me, that is the ideal program because not only did I earn money for my education, I also got as much or more applicable education while on the job.

I did also have a minor job in the bookstore during my school sections. I don't regret the time spent working at all. You are more likely to appreciate your education if you have that kind of investment in it.

It's amazing how much time you have when you cut out booze, social media and television! Ha, ha, I had to laugh at that part too!!

I agree, working during college is a good thing. Not only do you get some extra cash, but much needed work experience as well.

I worked during college as a nanny. This meant early mornings, late nights, and weekends - sometimes even sleeping over! I don't regret it at all. I made an effort to still be social on Friday and Saturday nights when I could. I also think that knowing how little free time I had made me plan better. I graduated with a great GPA and much less debt that I would have had I not worked.

I worked from my first semester onward. First as a high school volleyball referee, then as a research assistant, then as a SAT prep course teacher. Nothing heavy, say 3-6 hours my first semester then up to 10-15 hours a week until halfway through my last semester. (I needed all the time then--planning a wedding and writing a thesis.) I worked 20-30 hours a week in the summer and went to summer school.

My parents were awesome and paid for my tuition, car, and room/board. But books, fun, going out money were all on me. And I paid for it with $0 credit card debt.

I think I made better grades the more I worked...

Just a note on the benefit of work for the sake of work experience. This is not really a reason to get a job in that most students have to take pretty much useless (career wise) jobs to match their schedule. I do not really see how lawn care, working in the library, etc. can be considered good work experience. It is just work.

I worked throughout my college education. Not only did I have money to pay for school which enabled me to graduate with no debt, I also learned which vocations I never wanted to work in again. $#!+ jobs are great about that. I had little social life, but I don't think that I suffered too greatly. I also graduated with honors. These darn kids are too spoiled! Gee Whiz, I just skipped turning into my father and went directly to turning into my gradfather.

Most of college I worked a part time job and had tons of time to waste. 15 hours of class plus 15 hours working is still only 30 hours out of the week. That was in engineering at a good school.

One quarter I worked two part time jobs while taking a full load of classes. I was busy every weekday from 8am to 9pm going from class to work to class to work. I was able to study on the weekends. I got a 4.0 that quarter which was one of my best quarters. That was in computer science too BTW. Having to work that much kept me disciplined with my time and really only ate into my wasted leisure time.

If you're in a challenging major and you really have to spend a lot of time studying then you can still work if you find the right job. There are a lot of campus jobs that allow you to study while you work.

"even public school"

The way you say that it makes it sound as if you think its supposed to surprise people that public colleges are actually as hard as private ones.

I know this is unrelated to the question, but 8.4 hours studying OMG. No wonder the average citizen in America doesn't have a clue what is going on.

I worked all through college (20 hrs/wk), and I got my BS with honors in Chemistry. It was a challenging degree with all the lab classes that take extra time. My last 2 years I worked in an off-campus lab--I made a lot of money & it helped me get a job right out of school because I already had experience.

If you don't have time to work or you can't work and get good grades at the same time, you're probably in the wrong major. The "social life" stuff is really overrated, IMO--you aren't missing much if you don't have time to get drunk at the frat house.

This link:

suggests you can do two of three things, (1) study, (2) drink (or more generally party or just generally goof off) or (3) work at a job/play a sport. As a college professor, I can echo that advice. The problem I see is that when some students work, it is the studying that goes instead of the partying. Also I would really say it is pick 2 of 4: (1) study, (2) party, (3) work and (4) play a sport. Playing a sport in college is not conducive with working and studying.

While I attended college the first go-round, I had to drop out, and it was in no small part due to my job. I was working in a fast food job, 40 hours per week. At the time (and I believe this still holds true) most "part time" jobs pressure you to work as many hours as possible. Usually right up to under the legal part time allowance of hours as mandated by that state.

Most of the examples here in the comments are the cushy work-study type jobs. Even when I had one of those during college, I was not permitted to study any of those hours, I was expected to work. However, this job didn't have a market wage and did not have flexibility.

When your choices are working for money for essentials (as I was) and college, I could not balance the two. I was struggling to complete as many classes as possible with a degree that required five years of coursework for a BS degree. You speak of leaving off partying... I remember running a red light on the way to clinicals due to lack of sleep.

There is a job, and there is work. An assertive kid will define his limits and be just fine. Shy or desperate young adults are often pushed out of college by employers who pressure students to meet the employers needs first.

I worked 15 hours a week in a warehouse on campus, 14 hours a week delivering pizza as much as I could doing yard work on the side (the money was the best I might add) while taking 15 credits a semester in mechanical engineering. Graduated with a 3.5 GPA.

If all students were required to operate the dumb end of a shovel for a year before college, they wouldn't think school "work" was so hard.

@Jim: ""even public school"

The way you say that it makes it sound as if you think its supposed to surprise people that public colleges are actually as hard as private ones."

You have a point. I didn't mean it to sound like this. There are more demanding and less demanding schools - both public and private.

BTW - also, I meant undergrad. There is more flexibility in grad schools as teaching/research assistantships have flexible hours.

I worked for a year before I attended college (only got 2 years in) and worked while in school - often a job that was 48 hrs. a week. I got through school with no debt. Most of the jobs were as a waitress.

Jim - your figures are off for school & work. 15 hours of school and 15 hours working is only 30 hours per week. At the school I attended they advised against working if you could help it because you learned best if you spent at least 2 hours studying for each hour of class time. That made school a 45 hour a week job. However, I was a quick learner and I needed the work.

One reason I came out debt free is because there were no such things as student loans when I attended (1956-58). I had to work if I wanted to go - and I did. I dropped out because I could get no work the summer of '58.

As to the type of work you do, if the employer is smart he will consider any work you did. It is not necessarily the type of work you do, but the fact that you worked to earn your way and learned good habits that work in almost any job.

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