Think about it. Would you rather be a full-time student for 2 years and graduate with a 2.5 GPA or a part-time student for 4 years and graduate with a 3.8 GPA? No brainer, right? Employment and college can work, but you need to start with a plan and not a connect-the-dots plan that is created as you go. It is important to ensure that you find a good balance between work and school. We understand students may have to work, and here are some ideas about different employment opportunities, as well as how to successfully manage work and school. Let’s be honest, graduating quickly with a low GPA does not make you competitive in today’s job market.
Academics should be your priority, but sometimes life happens. If you have to work, consider these points first.
- Find a job on campus. The pay may be less, but consider these benefits: you would not lose time driving to a job, you would be working with people who understand the academic schedule and are invested in your success, you would build connections on campus which can lead to more people who can write recommendations for you, you are saving money on gas, and the list could go on and on.
- Prepare to modify your academic expectations. You must consider the demands of your job, the cost of commuting to work, school, and home, and your academic goals. Give yourself the best shot possible at getting your dream job.
- Utilize campus resources. Work closely with your Financial Aid Counselor to really understand the implications of taking out a loan, the requirements of a scholarship you have received, how a payment plan might help, and expand your understanding of what a credit card can and cannot do for you. Combine this knowledge with a conversation with your Academic Advisor so you can gain an understanding of what the next two to four years will look like for a student in your major.
We understand, life happens. Plans do not always unfold the way we prepare or hope. In this case, be sure to reach out for help. Ask someone for help when you need it, not later when you have created an even larger hole from which to pull yourself out. Be honest with yourself and evaluate your resources and your goals before taking action.
If you know you need to work while attending college, consider these employment opportunities first:
- Federal Work Study (FWS)
- Federal Work Study provides students with part-time jobs, allowing them to earn money to help pay for their educational expenses. Work study is only available to students who demonstrate financial need, as determined by the FAFSA.Visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/types/work-study for more information about the federal work study program.Visit http://www.umbc.edu/financialaid/employment_fws.html for more information about the federal work study program at UMBC.
- Internships/Research Positions
- UMBC Shriver Center
- Workships are another form of employment designed to assist students with the cost of room and board. Students perform various services for a department in exchange for room, board or both. Students may inquire about workship opportunities directly through the departments.UMBC financial aid: Workships
- UMBCworks is a great place to look for on-campus jobs and internship opportunities. Visit the UMBCworks website for more details.
- Balancing School and Work
- Balancing school, homework, and personal life takes strong time management skills. Adding in a part-time job can be a challenge. If possible, try to limit your work hours to ensure you are not burning yourself out and impacting your academic success. If you are working, be sure to follow these steps to staying on top.
Don’t waste time
With all you have going on, you probably do not have a lot of extra free time. It is important that you use your time wisely, and manage your time effectively.
Make a to-do list
Sticking to a set schedule can become difficult when not everything is predictable. Make a to-do list, ordering the items in priority. Use each pouch of free time in your day to complete items on your list.
Take care of yourself
Don’t get worn out and let yourself go. It is important to keep yourself healthy and happy. Ensure you get enough sleep and eat a well-balanced diet.
Time management skills will provide you with the know-how to manage both school and work now, and will be beneficial later in life too.