As you grow up and gain more independence, you may consider getting a part-time job while you study. Student jobs can give you financial freedom (you get your own money to spend!) and help you build useful skills that will be valuable in the future.

Having a student job is a common part of the university experience. Working part-time is one of the main ways university students get money to support their studies. In 2022, 62% of students surveyed by Save The Student reported having a part-time job as a source of income. School students can also work a weekend job to get some extra cash.

If you’re curious about entering the world of work while studying, then it’s important to do your research. Working part-time can be a rewarding experience, but it can also be tiring and may distract you from your schoolwork.

Whether you’re doing your GCSEs, are in Sixth Form, or are about to head off to university, this quick guide will outline what you need to know about getting a job whilst studying to help you make an informed decision.

To work or not to work?

It’s important to have all the facts and be realistic, so we’ve listed some of the main pros and cons of working as a student. Even if your mind is already made up, knowing the advantages and disadvantages of part-time work will help you know what to look out for and what to avoid so that you can find the right job for you.

Tip: As well as checking out the pros and cons we’ve outlined below, try writing your own list to fit your personal needs and situation.


1. Make your own money

This is the most obvious pro! Having a job means you earn your own money. You could spend your hard-earned cash on socialising, trying out a new hobby, or travelling.

It’s also a good idea to put some money into a savings account. This will be very useful when university comes around and you need to pay bills, rent, tuition fees, and everything else that being a student involves!

2. Build your CV

Having a part-time job is something you can put on your CV. You’ll develop valuable skills which will be helpful when applying for an apprenticeship or a future job. Employers look for experience and like to know you’re a good worker, even if the work you do isn’t relevant to your desired career.

3. Network and meet new people

A part-time job will allow you to meet, work and interact with people you wouldn’t usually come across at school, college, or university.

By meeting people from a variety of backgrounds and with different experiences, you’ll learn a lot about the world around you. Co-workers may pass on their wisdom about work, education, or adult life. It’s also possible to find contacts in the industry you want a future career in – people who can mentor you or help you get a foot in the door.

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A group of co-workers smiling and chatting.

4. Broaden your horizons

Studying takes up a lot of time, and it’s easy to let it take over your life. A part-time job gets you out of the house and away from your books, exposing you to new opportunities and experiences.

5. Transferable skills

Working requires you to pick up a load of new skills that you wouldn’t otherwise develop in school. If you want to work on your people skills or learn how taxes work, then finding employment can be a great way to do this. These skills will help you in all areas of your life (including your studies!) and are something future employers will look out for.

For example, a part-time job will help you become more organised and teach you how to manage your money – skills vital to life as a student. With multiple commitments to juggle, you’ll need to keep on top of your schedule. Successfully balancing work and school is a commendable feat that employers will recognise. Plus, with more money coming in, you’ll learn how to manage your finances – budgeting, banking, savings, and so on.

6. Build confidence

As an employee, you’ll gain more responsibility and independence. You’ll be put in difficult situations and learn how to deal with them. Stepping out of your comfort zone is tough, but you’ll learn to trust in your abilities over time.

A student working part-time in a fast food restaurant.

7. Stand out from other students

The importance of having a well-rounded UCAS application or CV is frequently emphasised to students. You’re probably sick of hearing about extracurriculars and wider learning, but it is worth considering.

University admissions officers and employers alike will look through tonnes of applications from students with the same grades, so anything that sets you apart from others will improve your chances. Many students have part-time jobs, but what you get out of yours will be unique to you.


1. Less free time

Getting an education is a full-time job in itself. Add a part-time job to the mix, and you’ll find that your schedule fills up pretty quickly. This leaves less time for socialising or relaxing.

Think carefully about the number of hours you can realistically set aside each week for work, and don’t over-commit. You’ll need to develop a healthy work-life balance to avoid burning yourself out.

2. Added stress

It’s difficult enough staying on top of deadlines and exams without fitting your studies around a work timetable. The mental burden can quickly take its toll.

Stress can impact both your physical and mental health and may cause the quality of your schoolwork to suffer. This may make you feel you need to work more, leading to additional pressure and stress…it can be a vicious cycle.

If you get a student job, consistently check in with yourself to see if it’s manageable. If you find it too much to handle, reassess the situation and talk to your teachers or employer.

3. Trouble with sleep

When we have lots of things to do, sleep is usually the first thing that suffers. We eat into our designated ‘sleep time’ in order to find time to get everything else done.

A student exhausted from her part-time job trying to study.

Working while studying may push you to study or socialise later into the evening; you may even take evening or night shifts so you can work around your studies. Sleep deprivation impacts brain function, and you will find it increasingly harder to learn.

Try to keep track of how much sleep you’re getting each night, and again, if you feel that your work is becoming too much, it’s time to talk to your employer.

4. Prioritising work over education

Managing your studies alongside a part-time job can be tricky, and it’s all too common to prioritise the job.

In a survey conducted by Aviva, 4 in 10 parents of university students with jobs said work affected their studies. With an employer to answer to and a salary to earn, the consequences of ignoring your job can feel more severe and scary.

Coping with financial stress

The harsh reality is that, for many of us, getting a job while studying is a necessity, not a choice. While many school students get a part-time job to earn some cash, others may feel pressure to help with the family finances or to start saving for their futures.

If you’re a university student, student loans are designed so that (ideally) everyone can access an education regardless of their financial situation. However, the system is far from perfect. On average, university students’ maintenance loans fall £439 short of covering living costs. As a result, many students have no choice but to get a job.

The decision to work part-time while studying is a complex one, with both advantages and disadvantages. It’s crucial to weigh these factors carefully and consider your personal circumstances when deciding to take on a part-time job alongside your studies.

Remember, your wellbeing and academic success should always remain a top priority. If you’re struggling or finding things too difficult, reach out for help, whether it be to your family, your employer, or your school, college, or university.