Working During College: The Information And Tips You Need

tips for working during college

Let’s talk about working as a college student! It can feel overwhelming to juggle a job, school work, and a social life. But if you’re up for it, here are some tips and ways to manage it all. 

Types of work:

Work Study- This is an option for students that qualify for work study because it’s technically a government sponsored program to employ students to help them pay for school. These jobs typically are on or near campus. 

Working on campus- You can also find jobs on campus that are not work study jobs, if you do not qualify. These jobs can be anywhere from washing dishes to becoming a Teacher Assistant for your favorite professor. 

Working off campus- Typically requires a car or public transportation. Many students provide financially for themselves by working at the local pizza store or maybe even driving for Uber! Off-campus jobs can be so many different opportunities. 

Internships- Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you can find a paid internship within your major to help you gain the experience needed to obtain a job once your college career is completed. 

Tips for working during college: 

  • Be open with your employer about your status in school and the commitments you have with class and homework. 
  • Practice good time management to make sure you can complete your school work and be able to somewhat maintain a social life as well. 
  • If you have downtime at work, use the time to study! When I was in college, I worked as a bank teller. In the time between customers coming, I would practice for my sign language class or go over a quick chapter in whatever reading was due that week for another class. As long as your employer is okay with it, use the time to multi-task! 
  • Be reasonable with yourself. If you’re having a hard time balancing your work/school life, take a step back and prioritize what you need to do. Does this mean cutting back hours at work? Dropping a class so you can still keep the balance but afford to go to school? Or maybe you simply just need to choose one over the other for the time being? 
  • Consider transportation time when trying to work. If the job is a decent drive away and you are not feeling like you have enough time to manage school and work, an on-campus job or something with a shorter commute might be a better option. 
  • Talk with your roommates, classmates, friends, and anyone else you may have connections to about what jobs they are currently working. Some of the best jobs I had in college came because a friend I knew told me about it. 
  • Your school most likely has an online job board where you can search for open positions, check this often! 

Did you work during college? What other tips would you add to this list? 

Cover Photo: pexels.com

What Is The Purpose Of Higher Education?

We’ve covered on our blog that there are multiple forms of higher education. But I think it might be important to take a step back and ask the question- but what is the purpose of higher education? 

Looking at a broad, overall answer, the point of obtaining a higher education beyond high school is to gain the knowledge needed for a profession. It gives you a specialized field of study that later you can boast to potential employers. But, there is also a long list of other reasons we as humans work hard to obtain a higher education. They are (but not limited to): 

The social skills that inadvertently come with being in a school setting.

Networking with professors, potential future employers, and peers. 

Proving that you can work hard and achieve something that takes hard work.

It helps you meet the needs of your own self-fulfillment, giving you a higher purpose in life.  

Learning critical thinking skills, how to adapt to different situations, work with others, and gives you emotional intelligence and resilience. 

Studies show that individuals that have attended higher education courses tend to make healthier decisions in their lives. 

Other studies have shown that those that have achieved a degree in higher education show more success in their careers. There are less unemployment and job loss. 

There are plenty of reasons to obtain higher education from the institution of your choice. Not only are you studying a field that you want to pursue a career in, but you are also gaining relationships, networking, and meeting some of your most basic self-fulfillment needs. 

There’s More To Higher Education Than A University

So you’re looking at schools now that graduation is getting closer, and you have a list of universities for undergrad in mind. Universities are fantastic and absolutely a worthwhile investment. However, a four-year university is not the end-all answer when it comes to higher education. There are other options out there that are just as great, maybe even better than a four-year university. Let’s look at some of them! 

A trade school is a great answer for anyone wanting to look into a very specific, niched-down career such as electrician, plumber, or nurse. 

A community college is another option. Typically attendees of a community college come from the town, or outlying towns, it resides in. This is a great option to stay close to home, save money, and still obtain an education! Most community colleges will only have a 2-year associate’s option, however, some can partner with bigger universities nearby to give students the option of a bachelor’s degree. 

Online school is also a great way to go through school. This can either be done through a typical university or community college, or through an online-only school. 

You can also look into private schools for religion or military. 

A university isn’t the only option! You don’t have to be attending Yale or Harvard to find success in your higher education studies. 

What type of school did you choose to attend? 

Trade School VS. University: Which One Wins?

supporting teachers

Let’s talk about trade schools vs. universities. What are the differences and which one is better?

Trade Schools: 

A school based around teaching just specific trades, such as nursing, electric work, plumbing, etc. A very niched program. 

Pros: 

Typically less expensive
Can be easier to get a job because internships happen in the field of work, putting you in direct contact with employers.
Can be faster to graduate than the typical 4-year degree. 

Cons: 

Your line of work is niched and can be hard to find an occupation outside of your line of study.
Typically less social aspect than most universities. 

Universities: 

A school where you receive an undergrad, graduate, or doctorate degree. 

Pros: 

Your degree requires courses from a vast majority of subjects, giving you experience in many different areas. 
You have a broad sense of your area of study, which can open up job opportunities in various positions, not just one niched area. 
A big social aspect on a university campus. 

Cons: 

Is hard to graduate early or faster because of credit requirements. 
Can be hard to choose your occupation because a degree can be so broad.
You don’t walk away with a new set skill, you walk away with a degree. 


So which one is better? 

Neither! 

A university may be a great option for one person, while a trade school is the better route for someone else. Both types of schools come with pros and cons, even more than I’ve written here. A great way to decide which type of school is best for you is to reach out to trusted mentors or school counselors to help you make your final decision. 

What type of school have you chosen to attend, trade school or university? 

Past Scholarship Winner: Austin Fitzgerald

Today’s Feature Friday post is a little different. We will be interviewing our past scholarship winner, Austin Fitzgerald. Austin won our scholarship in 2018 when she put together the Mindstrings Violin tutoring program. You can see her original video she submitted here. 

Austin has been at the University of Chicago for two years now. She has kept in contact with MindStrings and has been working on a way to become qualified for the program to accept donations. 

Since then, she has also become involved with a program on her campus called South Side Free Music Program. Her role is a violin teacher offering free lessons to the youth on the south side of Chicago. She is using this resource to hopefully have MindStrings expand to Chicago where she is located, however, COVID-19 threw off her plan. While Zoom and other online video call platforms may be an option, the majority of the students she would teach do not have this accessibility in their homes. This is something she is still working on. 

Another way Austin has found to serve with her music ability while at school is by playing the violin to cancer patients at UChicago’s hospital. This is part of her MindStrings outreach program and she is working on recruiting others to do this with her. 

Austin is double majoring in Pre-Medical and Anthropology with a biology minor, she has been busy in her studying! She is the current Co-President of the African and Caribbean Student Association at the University of Chicago. On top of this, she has been exploring her interests in childhood development and social mobility through her job as a research assistant at the Thirty Million Words Center for Early Learning + Public Health. Way to go Austin! 

We are extremely proud of Austin and all of her accomplishments at college, especially during this difficult time where the pandemic has halted some of her plans. 

If you would like to learn more about our scholarship and see how you can apply, check out our scholarship webpage. 

Tips For Graduating College Students

College graduation has recently come for many students and is still in anticipation of other seniors with graduation in the spring. This time of life can come with a mixture of emotions- excitement that college lectures are a thing of the past, worries for future plans, or fear of the unknown. I have asked trusted friends, family, and colleagues their best advice for graduating college students and have come up with this collective list of important things to remember during this big change in your life. 

  1. Stop stressing about a job. The most typical response by far was to stop stressing about jobs and career paths after graduation. There are a vast amount of options each major in school can lead you. Jobs will open up and work out, while others that seem perfect may slip through your fingertips. Important things to remember while job searching after graduation:
  2. The perfect job rarely exists. Which is okay because it leads to my next point.
  3. You most likely will not be in this job for a lifetime. Gone are the days where you choose a career path and stick with the same occupation until retirement. Typically, people spend 3-5 years in the same job before getting promoted or finding a new job. If you don’t find the perfect job, it’s okay because it will likely change. 
  4. Finding an entry-level job right after graduation doesn’t always happen, and that’s okay. Keep searching and putting in the effort, don’t let the pressure of a graduation date stress you out about a job. You’re young, take time to explore, travel, or even find experience in your field to land a great job later in life. 
  5. You can choose to be passionate about whatever job you end up in. Take it from my husband, who grew up on a farm surrounded by cows, horses, and corn. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration and landed his first job managing a warehouse in a rental company for wedding supplies. If a farm boy from Utah can have a full conversation about chivari chairs and 90” round ivory tablecloths one day and then be sad the next day when he says goodbye to the company while he changes his career back to his roots in an agriculture-based company, anyone can be passionate about anything. 
  6. The years went faster than you thought they would. College graduation is already here? How did four (or three, or five) years go by so fast? They really do happen in a blink of an eye. 

Studying a subject that brings excitement into your life at a university can be so rewarding. You’ve spent hours and days in classrooms, taking notes, studying flashcards, cramming for tests, and collaborating with peers. Finally, it’s your day to shine and be recognized by many for the accomplishment you’ve made. If I were to leave one last tip, it would be this: walk at your graduation ceremony. Take the day to wear the cap and gown, show off your school’s tassel, and pose for every picture your family and friends want to take. You just dedicated four years of your life to studying and passing classes, you deserve this day. Congratulations, graduate!