The practice of working part time while studying at college is typical of the United States and many European countries. The reasons for students’ interest in part-time work opportunities are often in the necessity of covering loans and other expenses, improving specific practical skills, socializing, and receiving the financial freedom (Wang & Chen, 2013). As a result, more than 80% of college students in the United States work part time and full time to address their needs (Darolia, 2014). However, educators and researchers in this field have no single idea regarding the necessity of working for college students because of both advantages and disadvantages of this practice. Therefore, it is important to answer the question on whether students should find part-time jobs when they study at college. Although some researchers state that the part-time work negatively affects college students’ academic performance, young persons should work while studying to address financial issues, increase their responsibility, develop abilities in time management, receive professional experience, and become more competitive in the labor market.
When students work part time, they receive an opportunity to become less limited in terms of their financial resources. In addition to having money in order to pay their bills and purchase goods they want, working college students can also help parents cover their loans and graduate without significant debts which are obstacles to many young people (Nuñez & Sansone, 2016). According to Broton, Goldrick-Rab, and Benson (2016), even those students who receive grant aids and have an opportunity not to work while studying usually choose part-time jobs. From this perspective, college students discuss the part-time work as an important sphere of their student life because it allows them to improve their financial situation.
Moreover, part-time jobs are important for students to improve their responsibility and develop specific time-management skills to balance their study, work, and life. According to Darolia (2014), those students who work while studying usually demonstrate more responsibility for their academic performance and working tasks. Thus, the personal responsibility of working students increases, as well as their concentration on academic and professional goals. Richardson, Evans, and Gbadamosi (2014) note that working students are often more efficient while focusing on their time management and balancing their professional activities, study, and personal life. If students know how to organize their time for addressing job responsibilities and preparing course tasks, how many hours to work without affecting the quality of their academic and professional performance, and how to balance work, sleep, and study, they will succeed in many spheres of their life.
One more important argument to support the opinion that college students should work part time is associated with the idea that students need to receive professional experience and develop their practical skills before finding the full-time job. Wang and Chen (2013) pay attention to the fact that many students succeed in working while studying at college because they have enough energy and other resources to develop skills necessary for building their career. Even if the part-time job of students is not associated with their specialization, they receive opportunities to learn how to develop effective working relationships and how to cooperate and communicate (Darolia, 2014). Furthermore, they can practice in using principles of work ethic and understand what skills should be improved and in what areas they can succeed (Nuñez & Sansone, 2016). In addition, the work experience during college years is an important fact to be included in students’ resumes when they start finding full-time jobs.
Finally, when college students work part time, they become more competitive in the labor market because of their experience and developed personal and professional skills. According to Wang and Chen (2013), students need to be prepared for a role of an employee in order to build a successful career, and the part-time work contributes to preparing young adults for their professional life without affecting their study. Students become familiar with principles of working relationships, as well as with their workplaces, in contrast to those young people who have no such experience (Darolia, 2014). From this point, the work experience is important to help students become more confident and prepared for new circumstances.
Still, the opponents of the idea that college students should work while studying note that such practice usually has a negative impact on persons’ academic achievements, and their grades become lower. When students work part time, they can spend more time on their working tasks than on their study. Fatigue and the inability to balance work and study often lead to negative changes in students’ academic performance (Darolia, 2014). The problem can be observed when students work more than fifteen hours per week because they have no enough time to attend classes and prepare their tasks (Richardson et al., 2014). However, according to Tessema, Ready, and Astani (2014), this problem can be addressed when students work about ten hours per week because studies indicate that this number of working hours for college students does not affect their achievements or the level of satisfaction associated with their academic and professional life. If students can balance their work activities and study, they have time to focus on studies, and they do not perceive their situation as challenging.
Nevertheless, other researchers state that the problem is in salaries which students receive, their status, and working conditions because these aspects influence students’ self-esteem, psychological and physical health, as well as their academic performance. Thus, those college students who work part time are often disadvantaged because they receive lower salaries, but work longer hours in comparison to qualified employees (Wang & Chen, 2013). However, while discussing this problem, it is important to note that, in most cases, college students have opportunities to choose the number of hours they will work for an employer. Furthermore, Tessema et al. (2014) state that this situation is rare when students choose on-campus jobs in contrast to off-campus propositions. As a result, the part-time work becomes a benefit for college students whose job satisfaction increases in correlation with their academic performance and opportunities for the internship.
In the United States, the majority of college students work, and there are different opinions regarding advantages and disadvantages of this practice. Arguments for the part-time work for college students include opportunities to resolve financial issues and increase personal responsibility, possibilities to develop time-management and professional skills, as well as opportunities to receive professional experience and become prepared for the full-time work. Counterarguments are associated with negative effects on students’ academic achievements and their problems when they receive low salaries or work according to an inappropriate schedule. Still, it is possible to state that college students should work part time because of obvious advantages of their early working practice.
Broton, K. M., Goldrick-Rab, S., & Benson, J. (2016). Working for college: The causal impacts of financial grants on undergraduate employment. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 38(3), 477-494. Web.
Darolia, R. (2014). Working (and studying) day and night: Heterogeneous effects of working on the academic performance of full-time and part-time students. Economics of Education Review, 38(1), 38-50. Web.
Nuñez, A. M., & Sansone, V. A. (2016). Earning and learning: Exploring the meaning of work in the experiences of first-generation Latino college students. The Review of Higher Education, 40(1), 91-116. Web.
Richardson, M., Evans, C., & Gbadamosi, G. (2014). The work-study nexus: The challenges of balancing full-time business degree study with a part-time job. Research in Post-Compulsory Education, 19(3), 302-309. Web.
Tessema, M. T., Ready, K. J., & Astani, M. (2014). Does part-time job affect college students’ satisfaction and academic performance (GPA)? The case of a mid-sized public university. International Journal of Business Administration, 5(2), 50-59. Web.
Wang, C. F., & Chen, S. H. (2013). Weighting the benefits of part-time employment in college: Perspectives from indigenous undergraduates. International Education Studies, 6(1), 104-112. Web.