So there is no shortage of articles on The Prospect about work-study so I’m not going to go into too much detail about what it is. However, we haven’t done a comparison on work-study and having just a part-time job while in college. Hopefully, going over the pros and cons of both these options will help make it a little clearer to you about which option will work the best for you personally.
Pros to Work-Study
You only have to work for a set amount of time each week.
This can be a plus for students that really need extra time for schoolwork, meaning some students can easily get away with just focusing on homework and studying for an hour or so a day, while others might have a more extensive work load. If it works better for you to just spend a set amount of hours a week on your job, then this option might be ideal.
The majority of these jobs are on campus, which could potentially be more convenient for you.
It can be a hassle if you are going to work directly after class and you might have to drive ten minutes or so to get there. This is why work-study is the more convenient option considering that most jobs aren’t off campus and therefore are generally more accessible to you.
Some of these jobs might pertain to your future occupations.
I know this doesn’t apply to all work-study jobs, but some of them may be located in your specific college and are within your major. While it obviously isn’t the same as what you’ll be doing in your future career, you still might get the opportunity to be in that environment and see what it’s like. The work experience, in general, is very attractive on a resume. As this other TP article on the pros and cons of work-study points out, regardless of what you’re doing at this work-study job, you’re still out there getting a jumpstart on the future.
Cons to Work-Study
There may not be enough jobs currently available for you.
I discovered that while one university in my state offers a wide variety of work-study jobs, the one that I attend seems to be rather selective about it. My friend told me that there was a pretty lengthy wait list in order to get a work-study job, even if you desperately need a position. I’m sure some of the larger universities don’t have that problem, but I think that could definitely potentially convince me to choose a different path instead of work-study.
The amount of money you receive may not be enough.
Work-study payments differ from student to student, but some of you guys who may be walking the line of barely qualifying for the program may find the amount offered not to be enough. This article posted here touches on the fact that college students shouldn’t accept minimum jobs from work-study just because they think that they can’t get jobs elsewhere.
Not everyone you work for will help you with working around your schedule.
When discovering more information about financial aid from your school, you’ve probably read that whoever you work for will help you accordingly depending on your schedule. This article reveals that isn’t always the case at some schools.
Pros to Working a Part-time Job
You can work however many hours you want.
This also depends on how time consuming your schoolwork currently is, but I personally feel that not having a set amount of hours can be beneficial, especially if you need more money during that time.
You have the chance to move up and make more money.
With work-study, you’re stuck at minimum wage. But with a part-time job, you could potentially move up to a part-time manager position in the future if that’s something that interests you.
Cons to Working a Part-time Job
Traveling long distances to get to work.
I already mentioned this in the list of pros for work-study, so I’m not going to say much more about it. However, this can definitely affect you, specifically if you don’t have transportation currently available to you.
It doesn’t give you the level of experience needed.
To me, a job is a job and whether or not it’s directly to my major or looks good on a resume isn’t the first thing that pops into my head. However, it might for you and therefore, a work-study job is more fitting because it typically gives you more relevant experience.