Careers Advice Blog

Tips for working your way through university

No comments

The cost of a university degree has become prohibitively expensive for most people.  Even tuition plus room and board at some public universities is more than £15,000 per year… and that’s without even considering London.  This is a lot of money and many people have turned to student loans to help pay for university.  However, this only leaves them with a mountain of debt to contend with once they graduate.  That is if they are lucky to find a full-time job. With that in mind, I wanted to share some tips for working your way through university.  While doing so may not help you cover the full cost of tuition, every pound earned is one less pound you will owe the banks.

Cooperative education

Maybe you have not heard of this before.  But did you know that some companies will actually hire students to work part-time? This helps students in two ways.  First, they can gain valuable experience. Second, some of these positions can pay upwards of £15 per hour.

While cooperative education sounds like a great idea, it has not caught on with all universities.  As such, you should ask about what co-op program your prospective school has and how it will work.  Many of these positions offer full-time employment on top of a full-time course load, so they may not be for everyone.  But if you are looking to gain experience while earning money which can offset your tuition costs, then co-op programs are a great place to start.

Paid internships

Internships are another great way to gain experience, establish connections, and quite possibly earn money for university.  Now not all internships are created equally.  Some are unpaid, and others are full-time, and possibly paid – e.g. summer internships.  Depending on your field of study, internships may be more readily available.  But you should definitely see what options are available to you.

Another thing to know about internships, especially those during the school year, is that many are for less than 20 hours per week.  So if they are paid, you might not get enough to live on.  But remember, every pound earned is one less pound you need to borrow from a bank.

Campus jobs

Another great option for working your way through university is to get a campus job.  Every year universities set aside a number of positions on campus for students like you with flexible hours to fit work into your class schedule.  Depending on the position, the number of hours could be upwards of 30 or more and some of these positions might even be tied to your major.  One example would be working as a paid research assistant if you were a biochemistry major.

This brings up another great way to work your way through university which is to take part in research projects as a test subject.  Obviously, you want to be careful about which projects you sign up for.  But the professors on university campuses across the country are constantly conducting research, so there are plenty of opportunities to take part research subject.

Off-campus jobs

Many employers look for full-time and part-time employees to help grow their business.  The jobs range from entry-level service jobs to positions which are aligned with your major.  These off-campus jobs are a good way to work your way through school as you can earn money and get valuable experience.  In addition, this is a good way to line up a full-time position after you graduate.

The biggest challenge in finding an off-campus job which is aligned to your major is reaching the right person in the organisation.  But this is where your university’s career office can help. Not only can they get you the name of the hiring manager, but they will help you to prepare for the interview.  My recommendation is that you take full advantage of this service as it will help you to stand out.

Working your way through university is not easy.  It requires organisation and focus.  But every pound you earn can reduce the amount you owe a bank.  In addition, you will graduate with a job in place and your credit will not be destroyed.  So, look at these options to earn while you learn.

Do you have any more advice on working your way through university? Tell us in the comments below.

Photo: Tax Credits / Flickr

Career CamelTips for working your way through university

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *