Making the decision to work while attending school is one that should apply only to a student who has developed superior time management skills. The orchestration of time for school work or studying, work, school and rest can be a tricky task. Additionally, burnout is likely to occur if the student is unable to reserve at least a small portion of time for socialization or personal interests. Accomplishing this admirable endeavor can be beneficial to the dedicated student. However, drawbacks also are present in this high-paced and driven lifestyle.

Slower Progression Through School

Working long hours while attending school may result in a slower progression through school. If a college student works, he likely would take a lighter course load, which would delay the completion of his degree.Therefore, his progress through his program will be slower. Some students may be academically strong enough to work and take a full load, but in general, students who work take fewer course hours.

Limited or No Extracurricular Activities

Part of the "school experience" includes being able to participate in various school-sponsored activities such as sports and clubs. Extracurricular participation helps to develop life skills such as cooperation and problem-solving. Working interferes with a student’s ability to participate in extracurricular activities, and therefore, reduces the opportunity for the development of these skills.

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Reduced Student Debt

Working while in school may limit the amount of money a student must borrow for school expenses. Earning money while in school reduces the amount of money that must be borrowed for tuition, books and other living expense. Having less student loan debt upon graduation is a major advantage to some individuals.


Working provides the student with the opportunity to develop professional contacts and view the working environment from the inside, while in school. If the student is working in a job that is related to his course of study and degree, he will gain experience in his field of choice, while making academic progress. This situation has the potential to offer another important benefit. His part-time job during college might lead to a full-time position after graduation. Even if the job is not related to his degree, working offers the opportunity to gain insights into the adult working world -- witnessing and being a part of an exchange of perspectives, ideas and protocol, that shape the professional work environment.

About the Author

Katherine Bradley began writing in 2006. Her education and leadership articles have been published on, Montessori Leadership Online and the Georgia Educational Researcher. Bradley completed a Ph.D. in educational leadership from Mercer University in 2009.