Balancing Work and Study

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Having a job while you are a full-time student may be an economic necessity for some of you. There are many advantages in gaining work experience for your CV, but please stop and think about the effects that working could have on your degree.

Don't:

  • Work during timetabled classes - missing classes and submitting work late or of poor quality will seriously affect your degree. Honours students in particular can find the balance between studying and working part-time difficult to achieve. It takes a lot of self-discipline to keep on top of your studies and hold down paid work.
  • Commit yourself to working in a remote area, unless you have a car or a real enthusiasm for public transport. It can cost you a lot more time and money travelling to and from work. Most students find it is best to try to find a job near home or near the campus.

Do:

  • Give enough time to your academic work - it's the reason you are here and should be your first priority.
  • Try to cut down work at exam times, either ask for time off or, if possible, try and swap shifts.
  • Keep a record of your part-time work - this will be useful when compiling your CV. Even if your part-time job isn't very glamorous or exciting, remember that through work you develop skills (team working, communication, negotiation skills etc) which you can take with you to your next job.
  • Take time to think about how your university timetable, your hobbies and interests and your social life fit together. Try to figure out how you could fit in part-time work with least effect on all of these, eg you may be able to fit in a Saturday or a Sunday job or 1 or 2 evenings during the week. It is important to have time to yourself to relax and unwind, plus employers are keen to see extra curricular activities on your CV - it shows you are a well-rounded person.

The Careers Service recommends that you do not work more than 15 hours per week during semester. Many students find that 15 hours is too much and prefer to work fewer hours or only to work on a casual/temporary basis.

If you find you need to work excessive hours due to reasons of financial hardship and you are a UK/home student, you may be entitled to assistance from the Discretionary Fund. Please visit the Funding & Financial Support Team for further information.