Having a part-time (or full-time) job while attending college is common for many students. Whether it’s bussing tables at a local restaurant between classes or stocking bookshelves at the campus library, having a job in college allows you to earn money and gain experience while in school.
You know you want a job when you go to college, but with so many options, you are unsure which is the best fit for you. Should you go with a part-time work study job, a full-time job alongside evening class, or a part-time job and regular class schedule?
But there’s another option for students who want to boost their resume and help pay tuition while going to school — attending a college where students work alongside faculty and staff. This is known as a work college.
So, what are the benefits of attending a college that has faculty and staff work with students versus traditional work opportunities?
Getting a part- or full-time job may add stress to your already hectic schedule.
You have probably heard your friends talk about getting a part-time job when they start college in the fall. Reasons vary. This could be to offset tuition cost, to save up to buy that new car or simply because their parents said they should.
But trying to fit in a traditional job around your college classes and study time may lead to unnecessary stress, time away from your course work and a hectic schedule.
On the other hand:
A work college is designed around your coursework.
By participating in a work college, your work is purposefully designed to complement your coursework, so there is no need to choose between going to work or writing your research paper due tomorrow.
For example, at Silver Lake College we have a program — SLC Works — which encourages students to be part of a work team of other Silver Lake College students, all of which are balancing coursework and on-campus work projects, and professional staff. This creates an entire campus community that has a culture of teamwork and academic performance.
Since the work you are doing is delegated by the college, it’s in the college’s interest to provide you with adequate time to dedicate to your coursework. In other words, you really have support as you pursue your degree, gain professional experience and boost your resume at the same time, and save money on tuition.
Federal work-study programs are only available to certain students.
Work-study programs are another option for students. A work-study program allows students to get a job on campus through the institution and earn a weekly paycheck. Those who participate in this program may check-in books at the campus library, run the register at the bookstore or serve food in the dining hall.
However, work-study programs are not available to everyone; they are based on financial need from the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and are only available to students who qualify.
On the other hand:
A work college allows for all students to participate.
Many work colleges actually require their students to participate in a work college. Paychecks go straight toward tuition and students work alongside other students in their day-to-day jobs.
Work colleges provide you with practical experience and on-the-job training. This unique, hands-on approach helps you achieve a liberal arts education that equips you with real-world skills designed to help you succeed.
A work college allows for increased job opportunities.
While there are many advantages to the work college, its biggest advantage is the significant impact it has on student success upon graduation.
Compared to their peers, 68 percent of work college graduates were better prepared to enter the workforce after graduation, due to the experiences and skills they gained while in college.
Work college students graduate with a strong work ethic, professional experience and leadership skills — all marketable characteristics to future employers. Many employers agree that entering the workforce with this skillset and prior experience puts work college graduates ahead of other applicants. Stats show that 87 percent of work college graduates said their program had a positive impact on their development and execution of leadership skills, preparing them for careers in their field.
About SLC Works
In August of 2016, Silver Lake College became the first Catholic College in the United States to offer a Work College program. SLC Works requires incoming freshman to participate in the work college program, which allows students to graduate with a well-rounded college experience, professional skills that prepare them for future careers, and a work transcript with real experience and financial responsibility. SLC Works allows students to receive a tuition credit per academic year and a bi-weekly stipend in exchange for weekly work hours at their job. In addition to those benefits, work colleges also may help students reduce their college debt while working toward a four-year degree.
Hopefully you now understand the difference between traditional work opportunities for college students and a work college. Before making a final decision on where you should attend college this fall, make sure you check out all of your options.
Interested in learning more about the work college program and SLC Works? Check out this helpful guide that outlines the program and will help you make an informed decision about whether it's for you.