How much should your child work while studying full time?
23 Jun 2017
Time management is one of the most important skills your child will pick up at university. As a full-time student, they’ll learn to juggle assignments, work and socialising, which is great preparation for life after uni. But if your child is working too many hours, it can be easy to upset the balance.
As a general rule, full-time students should be spending 40 hours per week (10 hours per course or subject) on university study. That includes attending lectures and tutorials, private study and completing assignments. Add in your child’s travel time to and from campus and you’ll see they already have the equivalent of a full-time job – and then some.
However, many students need to work to get by financially (or so they can afford to have some fun). Research about students’ working hours has shown that working up to 8-10 hours doesn’t have a huge impact on students’ academic performance, and that some form of work during university is crucial to securing graduate employment. However, working more than 15-20 hours per week can limit students’ ability to successfully complete their courses.
Students’ circumstances vary, and some students can cope with more work hours than others. Some find that having a part-time job helps them stay organised and reduces the temptation to procrastinate. Having the extra cash for a coffee with friends or to see a movie can also boost your child’s overall wellbeing.
In all cases, the key is good planning and time management – and realistic expectations around what your child can achieve each week. For help with time management and personal organisation, your child can access resources on Blackboard or speak to an academic skills adviser. If they would like to work fewer hours but can’t afford to, the USC Student Guild welfare office can provide advice and support.
A final consideration is the type of work your child is doing. Professional experience in their desired field can help your child stand out in the graduate employment market, so encourage them to seek out opportunities that relate to their future career goals. USC’s Student Hub jobs board and professional networking events are good places to start.