Online jobs for students and other tips to balance school and work

Posted September 07, 2017 by


Balancing school and work is a game of time and money. First, you need to create a budget (this is easy) to figure out how many hours per week you have to work in order to pay your bills. Then, manage your priorities by thinking through how many hours you have each week and what you have to accomplish. If balancing everything  stresses you out, there are solutions. If you haven’t thought about online jobs for students, or about asking for a raise, we have tips for you below.

First, create a budget for yourself

The point is to know how many hours you have to be at work each week.

This is easy, really.

It comes down to expenses and income. Money in, money out. Become an observer of where you spend your money, and reviewing your credit card statement or checking account activity is a perfect resource. Your goal is to get a pretty good sense of how much you can spend on what—you don’t need a ledger of precise dollar amounts for each expense.

Open up a spreadsheet and list all the things you spend money on. Include rent, food (and, um, drinks), any loan payments,  gas or bus passes, bills, entertainment, etc. Estimate a monthly amount for each item. Add them up. That is how much money you need to take in to make ends meet. If you have a job already, it should be easy to figure out how many hours per week you need to work to pay for your expenses. If you

have any other regular income, like help from mom and dad, make sure to subtract that.

Time management tips

Make a budget to help balance school and work

Once you have your budget and you know you have to, for example, work 20 hours/week, how many hours does that leave for homework and hanging out with friends?

We asked our friend Vicky Oliver on our Panel of Experts to give her time management advice. Oliver is the author of five career books, including 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions (Sourcebooks, 2005) and 301 Smart Answers to Tough Business Etiquette Questions (Skyhorse, 2010). She offers these time management tips for today’s stressed-out college students:

  1. Prioritize. Getting high grades will steer you well in terms of future jobs. Concentrate on your studies. No one will ever be able to take your GPA away from you. If you are also balancing a part-time job with your scholastics, try to work it out so that you compartmentalize your time. Can you bunch all your classes on two or three days, and do your job on a different day?
  2. Figure out your best study time. Are you a morning person? Clear your schedule so that you do your homework during the mornings. Then, try to work your job be in the afternoons.
  3. Don’t burn the proverbial candle at both ends. Few students can stay up all night, work all day, and study in between and succeed. Respect your limitations.
  4. Try to do less, and do it better. Take a realistic look at your schedule. If it seems like you would need to be a superhuman to accomplish it all, consider lightening your load. Maybe you can take one less class and cover off on it during the summer.
  5. Consider going out one less night per week. College is supposed to be fun, granted. But most adults looking back on their college years wish they had spent more time studying and less time partying. Can you still make friends and have a nice experience if you go out only on the weekend nights? Probably.

Online jobs for students reduce commute time 

Reduce commute time by finding an online job for studentsDon’t limit yourself to jobs that require you to physically show up. Think of the time you’d shave off your commute if you could work from home.

There are so many freelancing jobs available, and even if the job posting doesn’t describe the opportunity to work remotely, you can bring it up if they contact you. For example:

  • Copywriter or proofreader: If you enjoy writing and your friends call you the “grammar nerd”, you can create content for web and print.
  • Campus ambassador: This one isn’t exactly from home, but lots of companies would love you for your access to your own campus, for purposes in recruitment, market research, etc.
  • Translator: If you are bilingual, plenty of companies need your skills to translate documents.
  • Web designer: If you have skills in design, layout and coding of webpages, companies left and right need your remote help.
  • Data entry: If you’re organized and like (or don’t mind) reports, you can use your Excel skills in this role.
  • Administrative assistant: Much of this role is about responding to emails, handling calendars and travel arrangements. Nothing you can’t do from your own computer.
  • Online English Teacher: Some organizations in countries around the world look for U.S.-based native speakers to tutor kids who are learning English.

Analyze what you’re worth (and decide whether to ask for more money)

There is no excuse anymore for employees or job seekers to be clueless of how competitive their pay is. You can find salary calculators on glassdoor or, for example, that will give you a sense of whether you deserve to be paid more, and therefore, might get away with working fewer hours and still pay your bills.

There are ways to know whether you’re ready for a raise at work, or if you’re a job seeker, how to negotiate for a higher salary. There are performance-based raises, time-based raises, and a promotion up the ladder.

Related: When to ask for a raise, and tips for young women to get paid what they deserve

Our friend and expert career counselor Marky Stein offers this advice:

If your wage or job offer is under market salary, and you know the company values you, you can open up the conversation by saying, ‘My research shows me that this pay is somewhat under market salary. What can we do to bridge that gap?’ And they might offer you something higher, or you could negotiate for more benefits, for example, telecommuting or a unique workweek.

Read the rest of Marky Stein’s advice in “How to negotiate offers: Tips for discussing salary and benefits”

Consider taking more time to complete your degree

This could make more sense than you realize.

If you spread out your coursework over another year, the obvious benefit is that it gives you more hours to work and make money each week. Aside from that, however, it also could open up the opportunity to take that class that wanted but wasn’t offered at the right time.

If you have a particularly full course load and are susceptible to high levels of stress and burnout, lightening your load and taking more time is absolutely not a sign of failure, nor is it a red flag to employers. What matters in the end is your degree, and if you stay mentally stable and produce higher quality coursework by balancing your work-school priorities, you will win in the end. Recruiters who scan your resume look at your graduation date, not how long you’ve been in school. In fact, recruiters are impressed by candidates who can tell about their solution to balance work and school, because it demonstrates maturity and professionalism.

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