Most students know how expensive university is. With student loans and everyday expenses, lots of undergraduates are caught out by how much money they need to spend. A lot of students turn to work, either part- or full-time, to earn while they study.
Approximately 59% of students work while attending university. 58% of working students say that they work for extra income to spend on socialising.
You may be considering having a part- or full-time job at university to start saving or have some more disposable income. To find out more about working while at university, you should carry on reading.
Table of Contents
How many university students have a job?
The Guardian reported that as of 2014, 59% of students work whilst attending university. 45% of students have a part-time job, while 13% have full-time jobs in term time or the holidays. The report also revealed that 55% of working students keep a job to have money to spend on food and household bills.
Some students may also have a job before starting university and decide to either continue working or quit to focus on their studies. It is important that your employment status is your decision and the right one for you.
According to The Guardian’s report, 53% of students said that post-university job opportunities were the main motivation to work. If you want to start work before you attend university, this Think Student article has more information on jobs for students aged 14 plus.
Should you work while at university?
You can work if you would like during university, but some universities don’t recommend having a job. This is because a lot of students find the jump from further to higher education challenging. It may be more difficult for you to adjust to your university workload if you also have a job.
For example, Oxford University, one of the world’s leading universities, advises against having a job because their workload can be incredibly demanding. However, Brighton University encourages and supports students with finding a job. Choosing to work while at university is a very personal decision that nobody should make for you. It depends on your personal circumstances.
Guidance on working while at university varies, depending on your university and how well you cope with full-time study. If you want to know more about full-time work and full-time study, you may find this Think Student article helpful.
How many hours can you legally work while studying?
For students from and studying in the UK, the government website states that if you are over 18 then you can work up to 48 hours a week over 17 weeks. However, if you are under the age of 18, you cannot work more than 8 hours a day or 40 hours a week.
There are a number of different factors affecting the type of work, and working hours, available to you as a student. This Think Student article has a more in-depth explanation about how many hours you can legally work as a student.
If you are an international student, UKCISA states that you cannot work more than 20 hours a week during term time, but you can work full-time during the holidays. This is because of the terms and conditions attached to a student visa, which are a requirement to work in the UK. For further details, you can visit their website here.
How many hours should you work while at university?
UCAS, the UK’s university admissions website, recommends that students don’t work any more than 15 hours a week. The recommendation is less than 15 hours because working more can lead to feelings of stress and burnout. However, if you feel that you are coping well with your work and could work more hours, you can do so.
How many hours you work while studying is completely up to you. You might choose to work 25 hours a week; you might choose to work 0 hours a week. Both are fine – it’s your decision! Make sure the choice is right for you.
Although working while studying may seem like a great way to earn some extra income, it isn’t for everyone. The most important thing during your time at university is mental health. Exercising can be a great way to relieve stress, which you can read about here in a Think Student article. Alternatively, universities have counselling available to students if you are struggling and need someone to talk to.
What are the best jobs to have as a student?
There are lots of jobs available to students over the age of 18, both part- and full- time. There are even opportunities for you to work for your university – there should be information available on the university website. It’s a good idea to scope out jobs in your local area.
For example, you could work nearby in a restaurant close to your university or college. A popular job for students is babysitting, as it is part time and still pays a decent wage. It’s important to find a job that is flexible to your schedule, so that you still have enough time to study.
If you’re struggling for options on which job you’d like to work in, this Think Student article has some ideas.
Does having a job affect student finance?
Generally, having a job will not affect student finance. However, your eligibility does depend on your status as a student and your income. It is different for everyone, so the best way to check if you are eligible is through the government website (for UK students). The UCAS website also has information about student finance in England.
If you are a dependent student (i.e., you are dependent on your parents to fund you through university), then you should still be eligible for student finance. Similarly, even if you are working part- or full- time as a student, it shouldn’t affect your student finance, provided that your job is not your only source of income.
However, if you are an independent student (i.e., you are not dependent on your parents but your own income to fund you through university), your student finance may be limited.
University fees and applying for student finance can be a complicated process, especially if you don’t have someone to help you. This Think Student article has helpful information for the application process.
Do you have to have a job while studying at university?
The short answer is no, you don’t have to work while at university. Choosing to work is a personal decision that only you can make. Everybody has their reasons for why they do or don’t want to get a job while studying – if you don’t want to get a job, you don’t have to!
Equally, if you want to get a job, you can. However, it’s recommended that you also follow your university’s advice; if your university recommends that you don’t work while studying, it’s probably best that you don’t.