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College students, wishing to reduce their student loan burden, often turn to part-time jobs to supplement their income during their schooling. For many college-bound students, working during school is less of an option and more of a financial necessity. Fortunately, it is possible to balance your school and work life – especially if you follow these simple tips.

1. Do Your Homework at Work, If Possible

If you can, find a part-time job that allows you to complete homework in your downtime. Working in the afternoon as a nanny, for example, allows you plenty of time to schedule classes in the morning and complete your homework while the kids are sleeping. Similarly, front desk positions, such as working at a local gym, allow you extra time for reading while business is slow.

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2. Consider a Work-Study

Your college or university likely offers several work-study programs, which means you’ll be working on campus (no need to buy or pay for a car). Work-study programs also allow you to arrange your work schedule around your class needs – flexibility you might not be able to find elsewhere. If you’re really lucky, you’ll land a work-study position within your department and your hours will count toward your degree. Contact your office of student affairs to learn more about work-study opportunities in your area.

3. Make Sure Your Employer Knows Your Schedule (Way) Ahead of Time

To achieve proper work/school balance, it’s essential to be prepared. It’s best if your schedule remains the same from week to week, so you won’t forget about a shift. As soon as you know your semester schedule, print it out and hand it to your employer. Ask if he or she can schedule you for the same shifts each week, so you both know your obligations well ahead of time.

4. Stay Organized

planning for collegeSeamless organization is the key to remembering all your obligations and excelling at both life and work. Use a planner or an online calendar to keep track of classes, important assignments, and exams, as well as any changing work shifts or substitutions. The more organized you are, the less likely you are to forget about something important. This essential life skill will come in handy long after graduation day – and “effective time management” is something you’ll be able to truthfully include on your professional resume.

5. Take Finals Week Off in Advance

The first week of classes, take a look at each of your syllabi. You’ll likely see a heavy increase in workload around mid-terms and finals week. Don’t attempt to work during these times. Tell your employer you need them off and use this time to study hard. Your schooling should always come first – your degree is more important than a temporary job, and your employer should realize this, as well. If you have trouble securing time off around your classes or finals week, your employer might have unrealistic expectations and it’s time to find a better fit. Consider one of the following:

Possible Part-Time Jobs for College Students

  • Babysitter/Nanny
  • Front Desk Associate
  • Lifeguard
  • Barista
  • Administrative assistant
  • Library assistant
  • Research assistant
  • Errands and cleaning
  • Rideshare operator (Uber or Lyft)

Part time jobs in college can help you develop valuable time management skills while earning some extra cash. Follow these tips to make the most of it.

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