Students work for it
As tuition rises, so does the number of college students with jobs.
“Many of our students need to work in order to pay for their educational expenses, and this is something our employers say they like about our students,” said Jaime Belinne, assistant dean of Bauer College. “It is definitely difficult to balance work and school, but employers recognize the time management and prioritization skills that students develop by doing this.”
According to a 2011 U.S. Census Bureau report, more than 70 percent of the nearly 20 million undergraduates in the nation worked. From that finding, 20 percent worked more than 35 hours a week.
And although having a job can be fitting preparation for post-graduation life, it can be a hassle when trying to earn good grades.
“According to my surveys of Bauer students, 55 to 70 percent are working at least 20 hours per week,” Belinne said. “We have also found that most of the students have two or more years of work experience, and the average age of our undergraduates is around 22.”
Belinne provided a survey from The National Association of Colleges and Employers outlining the topic of working while in college. Since 2011, more than 70 percent of employers who participated in the survey prefer to hire candidates with relevant experience. This year, almost 60 percent of employers reported to prefer candidates with internship or co-op experience.
Hotel and restaurant management senior Una Hadzimahmutovic works two part time jobs. Though it can be difficult to have a busy schedule, Hadzimahmutovic has learned how to manage it.
“Work and school piles up, but I keep an organized schedule of when everything needs to get done and I stick to it,” Hadzimahmutovic said. “I have to work for a class that’s required for my major, but since my jobs are related to my field, I now know what to expect after I graduate.”
In the end, working during college may provide more than just a paycheck — it can provide a better career.
“In the more than 20 years I’ve worked in recruiting and career services, I’ve yet to find an employer who would prefer a student with a 4.0 and no work experience to a student with a 3.5 and relevant work or volunteer experience,” Belinne said. “A relevant job or volunteer opportunity can be just as helpful if you are being given the chance to learn new skills relevant to your field. But in the end, any hands-on experience at all, even if it isn’t relevant, is better than no experience.”