Undergrad Employment: Working Part-Time While Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree

In summary, the financial aid rep said that you cannot work part-time and succeed in a bachelors degree program. Apparently, you need to put your full focus into your studies if you want to succeed. It is possible to work part time and succeed, but it is more difficult during the more advanced courses. You have to measure your abilities and figure out what works best for you.f
  • #1
So I just transferred to a local 4 year school from a community college. I met with a financial aid rep to discuss how I am going to be paying for this little venture and received some shocking information. Apparantely, you cannot work part-time and succeed in a bachelors degree program according to this rep.

I am majoring in Mechanical Engineering so I expect a lot of study, tough times ahead. But I can't see part-time work as being bad. Do you all work (or did work) during your undergrad years?
  • #2
I did work during my undergrad in which I majored in physics. Look for campus opportunities. I was able to work as a research assistant in a lab on campus. Also, I got the chance to teach an intro level physics lab for algebra based physics. Working on campus makes it a lot easier to balance school and work.
  • #3
I will be beginning undergrad in engineering next year, and although it is discouraged by most university advisers, it is not impossible to work part time and be successful in undergraduate. But you have to remember that for a science/math oriented degree, it is difficult. I don't know how far along you are in your studies, considering you attended a community college and probably have gotten some of the beginning credits out of the way. But depending on your scenario, it is obviously easier to hold a part time job during the more intermediate courses, but much harder during the more advanced ones. I think most importantly, you have to measure your own abilities. Some people are capable of working part time and still doing well, while others, find it necessary to put their complete focus to their studies.

I hope I could help. Take everything I say with a grain of salt anyways, this is just from what I've heard, not from experience:tongue2:
  • #4
I'm working right now. It's only about 10 hours a week, but it's a job. I know people who work more, too. It really depends on how fast you can get your homework done, what classes you are taking, and how much effort you want to put in.
  • #5
I had to work 3 jobs to pay for my undergrad studies and I still had to use financial aid. That was until I got a cushy TA position my last year.

If you had replaced undergrad with grad school, then I would agree. If you had an outside job and were trying to go fulltime grad school- it would be tough.
  • #6
I think many folks work part time and do just fine during undergrad studies. Its all about your time management skills. So you may want to go lightly on working or class load at first so you can get a feel for how it will work out and get used to managing you time accordingly, ie. do not sign up for 18 credit hours and 30+ hrs a week working for your first semester at university

One possibility for your second year would be to look into becoming an RA/RM, Residence Assistant (not research assistant). That is a job living in the campus housing facilities and sort of directing students, keeping them somewhat inline and helping the first year adjust to college. These jobs generally pay for your housing and give you some kind of a stipend per semester.
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