College Jobs: On Or Off Campus?

Face it: You need a job. Maybe it’s just for spending money, or maybe something else is pushing you toward employment. You could need an excuse to leave campus to escape the college bubble for a short time. You could be working on your networking skills to help climb the ladder toward a “real job” in your chosen field. You might also be needing to pass the time until the next adventure comes along. There are even study benefits! A 2009 Boston University study revealed that a work schedule forces students to create a study schedule and stick to it. Without a job, many students struggle with time management. The question for today’s students, then, is: Do you work your job on campus or off?
There are many advantages to working a job on campus. For starters, depending upon the size of your college, you may be able to walk to work. Save the commute and the gas bill for your out-of-school job! The schedule may be more flexible when it comes to working around classes and big projects. After all, your employer works for the school and understands that learning is a priority. These factors can make it much easier to juggle a job with school. You can also meet many of the “behind-the-scenes” people at your school, which can get you the inside scoop on many school policies.
Unfortunately the biggest drawback of an on-campus job is that the money may not always seem “real” to you. The on-campus work-study programs at many schools put your paycheck into your tuition, so you never really see it. Some students prefer this method because they know for certain it’s going toward their future, and not their taco budget. The range of jobs available on campus is also smaller, so you may not be able to find something that fits your career path as easily.
The primary draw of an off-campus job usually comes down to money. With so many more options, it’s pretty much a guarantee you’ll find a better paying job outside the school environment. Plus, what you earn is money where you decide the use. You can contribute it toward your tuition, buy groceries or start a retirement account. Off-campus jobs are also more often seen as “real jobs” on resumes, and employers tend to take them more seriously. You can also network more while outside the college bubble, and get a break from the stress of school.
An off-campus job, though, may also have less flexibility. They’re not going to care as much if your final is the next day while assigning you the graveyard shift. There’s also the problem of transportation, as you’re going to be expected to be punctual with no excuses. Public transportation is usually the best option if you don’t have your own vehicle. It’s inexpensive and usually reliable on college campuses.
Though most of today’s students are sick of hearing this, it all comes down to making the choice that’s best for you. Are you willing to take on the hassle of transportation and scheduling if you get paid better and have more availability to meet new people? Or would you rather contribute to your campus culture? Ultimately, there is no wrong answer. Either option is beneficial, both now and in the future.