In the following guide, you’ll find out why working full-time in college could be a good thing, the potential challenges, and whether it is a good idea for you – as well as some advice on working and going to school from our experts.
Here’s how to work and go to college, without losing your mind!
Why working full-time in college is a good thing
Gaining work experience while you’re studying might be beneficial for many students, here are just some of the reasons why.
You’ll be more prepared for the professional world when you graduate
Gaining work experience while you’re studying will equip you with the tools and skills you need to excel in a professional environment so, when you do graduate, you will feel well-prepared.
The sooner you’re able to get work experience, the more ready you will be for graduating – and you will also stand out for all the right reasons among your fellow graduates, which always helps in such a competitive jobs market.
Researchers found that college graduates who had worked while studying were more likely to be employed full-time and had higher median earnings compared to those who did not work while studying.
The salary from your job can help you pay for school
Putting yourself through school can sometimes be expensive. Alongside paying for your tuition fees, you may also have to pay for accommodation, living expenses, reading materials, and other items which can really add up – especially when you’re dependent on financial aid, with a family, or worried about student loan debt.
If you’re working on the side, you will be able to make some money for yourself which you can put towards all of your school-related expenses, and generally have more financial freedom.
You will gain real-world skills through your work
Working part-time while in college can provide students with a range of practical experiences that can be valuable for their personal and professional development. Some examples of the types of practical experiences that college students may gain through part-time work include:
- Time management skills: Working full-time while in college can help students develop their ability to manage their time effectively and balance their responsibilities.
- Financial management skills: Earning income can help students learn how to budget their money and make financial decisions.
- Communication skills: Working with a team or interacting with customers can help students develop their communication skills and learn how to work with others.
- Leadership skills: Many jobs involve taking on some level of responsibility, which can provide students with the opportunity to develop leadership skills.
- Problem-solving skills: Full-time work often requires students to think on their feet and come up with creative solutions to problems, which can help them develop their problem-solving skills.
- Career exploration: Working while in college can also provide students with the opportunity to explore different career paths and gain practical experience in a field that interests them.
Having a professional mindset will help you succeed in school
Students who approach their studies with an attitude of professionalism are more likely to achieve their academic goals. Having a professional mindset can aid students in many ways, including but not limited to:
- Responsibility: Students with a professional mindset are more likely to be proactive in their studies and meet deadlines consistently.
- Focus: Students who can maintain their attention during class have a greater chance to retain information and perform well on exams.
- Adaptability: A professional mindset involves being flexible and open to change, which can be valuable in a school setting where students may be exposed to new ideas and approaches to learning.
The challenges of going to school and working full-time
Although there are some clear benefits of being a full-time student who also has a job they can do on the side, there are of course some challenges of managing school and work full-time that you may have to face.
Studying and working at the same time is no easy thing, and definitely isn’t something that’s suited to every student. You should ask yourself, should I work full-time in college? As well as сan I work full-time and go to college full-time with my course load and college degree?
If you’re thinking about going to school and working-full time, here are some of the challenges that you may have to anticipate. Then, you can decide whether you think you’ll be able to cope with these challenges and juggle the two successfully.
❌It can be hard to find a good balance between work and studying
It’s easy to spend half the night working on a paper or assignment when you don’t have a job to get to the next day. But when you’re having a job and going to school, it can be difficult to find the time to get as much work done as you would like.
Unlike other grad school students who only have to worry about their own assignments, you will have a lot more extra work and responsibilities that you will have to consider with full-time school and full-time job.
✅Solution: Make the most of all the time you have available
You will need to become an expert at managing your time effectively so you can get through all of your tasks, even if you’re just going back to school and working full-time or doing online classes with minimal work hours.
- For some people, this may work by blocking out your time each day and having a work schedule where you can keep up with online programs, evening classes, and course schedule. Managing school and work can be easy when you learn how to find time in the day to do both. For example, if you have vacation time at work, you can use this to catch up with your schoolwork.
- Similarly, if you’ve got a free period or on your lunch break at school, you can get some work in too. This is a great habit to get into and will help you to stay ahead of your classmates and keep your manager on your side.
- Try to plan ahead as much as possible in order to minimize the time you need to spend on last-minute tasks or emergencies. For example, if you know you have a paper due next week, try to work on it a little bit each day rather than waiting until the last minute.
Working full-time in college may feel like it will be a huge struggle, but with the right planning and time management, it's entirely possible.
❌Falling behind in class because of work commitments
It’s hard to keep up with class when you have to study and work full-time. Sometimes, professors don’t seem to understand your situation and may not be flexible when it comes to assignments or exams.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot you can do if your professor isn’t willing to work with you, but you should definitely try your best to make compromises.
✅Solution: Learn how to study smart
Falling behind can be easy when you have to juggle a lot more than the average school student but, if you can find even an extra half an hour every day to get a little extra work in, it will really make all the difference.
- Work with flashcards when you’re studying. These are a highly effective way to train your brain on answering certain questions—plus, you can bring them with you and quickly test yourself on any topic, wherever you are.
- Reach out to your professors early on. Get their email address and send them messages about your situation. Maybe they can work around your schedule. If you don’t get anything done early, it will be very hard to make changes towards the end of the semester.
- Look at keyboard shortcuts to help you get things done quickly in Word and Excel at work, which can help you finish your tasks at lightning speed (and then have some extra break minutes to cram some studying in, too).
❌Difficulties keeping up with the job's demands
If you’re starting a new job as a student, your employer may be worried that you won’t be able to keep up with the demands of the job when you have to manage your studies – it’s up to you to prove to them that you will be able to do both and demonstrate how to manage full-time job and school.
✅Solution: Keep your employer in the loop
It’s important to be honest and upfront about your availability and any potential scheduling conflicts, and to let your new employer know that you’re committed to making things work. Hopefully, that will assuage their fears and you can establish a good working relationship from the get-go.
Assure your employer that you will have no problems juggling your job and schoolwork. It’s also a good idea to keep them in the loop with school throughout the year.
For example, if you’ve got exams coming up, or you need some time off to get a group project finished, you should always let them know so they can be more flexible and help with managing school and work full-time.
❌You may find yourself a lot more stressed than the average student
Studying can be extremely stressful, especially when you’ve got lots of assignments or exams coming up. Combine this with the stress of having to hit work deadlines and impressing your manager, and you could be feeling a lot more stressed than most of your friends.
But, as long as you’re able to plan and manage your time wisely, you shouldn’t have to worry about feeling stressed 24/7.
✅Solution: You don’t have to do everything at once
One of the main reasons that students get stressed when going to college while working full-time is because they procrastinate and then rush everything at the last minute – which is an extremely unproductive way to work.
If you’re wondering how to work full-time and go to school full-time, it’s a good idea to break up your workload so you do it little and often. This is why you won’t panic when faced with a large project, and you won’t feel the normal last-minute rush when a deadline is fast approaching.
❌It is difficult to allocate time for social activities
When you’re trying to manage both working a full-time job and going to school, you probably won’t have as much time to socialize with your friends as you would ideally want. It doesn’t mean you have to completely say goodbye to your friends, but it may mean that you can’t say yes to every single activity they have planned.
Adult learners and younger students will both struggle with how to find time to go out with friends, which can be frustrating.
✅Solution: Prioritize your free time and seek out inspiring new friends
- You may have to learn to sacrifice certain social events with your friends throughout the year so that you have enough time to do all of your work and studying. It all comes down to how much you want to prioritize working and school full-time. It’s up to you to decide when school/work comes first and when you have the time to do other things.
- It’s challenging to make friends when you’re going to school while working full-time, and spending time with your family. So, to make new friends, you could join a community group, or a volunteer organization related to your studies—you’ll meet like-minded people that can help you with your studies and give you some valuable support. You could also suggest a workgroup outing or a lunchtime picnic at the office, so you can encourage some bonding and make some new friends.
- You probably won't make any new friends through digital channels, and it's easy to get sidetracked when you're trying to focus on school or work, but those same channels can be very useful for maintaining relationships with people you already know and for learning what's happening at the office when you're not there.
❌It can be difficult to get enough rest and time to sleep
There will be times when you want to go to school and not work, and vice versa. It can be easy to get into the trap of feeling like you need to be working all the time, but this can be very detrimental to your well-being especially if you frequently work on the weekends or have work nights every day.
You shouldn’t push yourself too hard if you want to figure out how to manage full-time job and school. Balancing a busy lifestyle can be difficult yet allocating time for positive interactions is vital for one's mental and physical well-being.
✅Solution: Don’t forget about work-life balance
As important as it is to get all your work done as a full-time student working full-time, it’s just as crucial to prioritize your own well-being and self-care. Making sure you prioritize self-care can help drastically in maintaining equilibrium, encouraging healthy and rejuvenating experiences.
Remember to take frequent breaks from full-time work and full-time student tasks, take time away from work or studying, and do things that you enjoy like going for a walk, seeing your friends, or doing one of your hobbies.
Being a full-time student with full-time job can bring some emotional challenges, including feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, or burnout. You may also experience feelings of loneliness, isolation, and a lack of connection with others.
You might have some difficult classes that are causing you anxiety, or you might feel like you’re missing out on time with your family or on some fun social activities because you’re stuck in the library or at the office all day.
✅Solution: Getting involved in your community
- If you’re experiencing psychological challenges, take some time to talk to your professor or counselor; it’s important to monitor your mental health so you don’t get depressed or burned out.
- Remember, you’re not alone; many students go through similar changes at the same time. You can make friends and lower your levels of anxiety by talking with others who are experiencing similar problems.
- Keeping healthy habits and being mindful of your physical health will help you cope with all the challenges of full-time school and work.
With the right mindset, you can do anything you want
We may have scared you by talking about all the big challenges that you may have to face if you choose to work and study at the same time – but you shouldn’t see this as a daunting thing! If you’re thinking, can I go to school and work full-time? You certainly can!
If you’re thinking about working a full-time job and going to school, we would definitely recommend it.
We believe in you and, if you think you’ve got what it takes to do both going to college and working full-time, we’re sure that there’s nothing that could hold you back.
You can get a lot out of working alongside your studies. You can get further in your career, grow your professional network, and prepare yourself for your future professional life – all things that you will probably not be able to develop by just going to school or college. A lot of students already are great at working full-time while in college.
Studying and working at the same time may be difficult, but the benefits will largely weigh out the cons for many students. By following some of our top tips on how to work a full-time job and go to school, you should be able to get excellent grades in your schoolwork and impress the manager at your new job.
The only person who can stand in your way is you. If you can adopt the right mindset, you’re going to do great at working and going to school!
How to go to school and work full-time?
We recommend having a strict schedule that you follow every week to balance a full-time job and college work. Start by blocking out time when you’re going to be working and studying – plus some extra time where you can relax and hang out with friends or family.
Can you work full-time and go to college?
If you’re wondering, can you go to school full-time and work full-time, yes!
It’s definitely possible to be a full-time student and working professional. It’s something that a lot of students do to earn some extra cash and get the most out of their college experience, so don’t worry about how to work and go to school at the same time.
Should I work full-time in college?
Working full-time and going to college full-time can be a big challenge so, before you take it on, we think that you should weigh up the pros and cons to see if it’s the right decision for you.
Not everyone is cut out for a large amount of work that will go into work full-time and school full-time, and you wouldn’t want to find yourself in a position where you’re extremely stressed and burnt out because you weren’t able to do both at the same time.
It’s often hard to finish college without working at the same time, according to statistics. But finding ways to work and recovering time to relax is possible.