How Can College Students Work at Home?

College jobs can be a pain to get. You need them to work around your class schedule, your study time, and still pay enough to make it all worth while, and hopefully leave you with some amount of time for a social life. These jobs aren’t always easy to find, and if you want to spend breaks back home with your parents, it’s all the harder to keep a job. This is why work at home jobs can be so appealing to college students.

Now, a work at home job doesn’t instantly solve these problems. They have problems of their own, not the least of which is finding the job in the first place. Work at home jobs are probably harder to find than jobs in the area around your college, and there’s way more chance that you’ll be scammed. They also take a certain level of dedication that can be hard to maintain if your friends and roommates don’t get it, and want you to come have fun when you need to get work done, or insist on being loud and nearby during the times you have to work.

These are just some of the challenges you will face.

Are You Allowed to Work at Home at College?

One consideration you must make is whether or not the type of work you want to do will be allowed where you live, whether that’s dorms or your own apartment. There are rules you have to obey. Some things are more easily allowed than others, as they have little to no impact on the people around you. Other options won’t be allowed because they’re not appropriate to the space you’re living in.

Can You Come to an Agreement With Roommates?

You have to take your roommates into consideration when you work in your dorm or apartment, especially if you share a bedroom and have no other personal space to work. A customer service job isn’t going to work out all that well, most likely. You simply won’t have the quiet space required for one of those jobs. General transcription, writing jobs and so forth may be better for you. Consider jobs which don’t have space or noise demands any worse than when you’re doing homework.

Asking for the occasional quiet to talk on the phone is fine; demanding quiet for hours on end so you can work may not.

Are the Demands Too Much?

Working any job while going to college will be rough sometimes, especially around midterms and finals. A work at home job is no different. You will need to figure out how to make it all work out when you need extra time for school, which should be a high priority.

Some jobs are more flexible than others, and so you may be able to cut back on hours or work different hours when you need more time for school. So long as your finances can take the hit, that’s a good thing, and something to take advantage of. Be sure to communicate with your employer or clients, so that they know when you have to cut back on hours, and when you’ll be back.

Be very realistic about how many hours you can work and what you’ll earn for your time. Many work at home jobs don’t pay all that well. Many pay on production rather than hours worked. If you can’t get your work done in a timely manner, you aren’t going to hold the job very long. That’s harder than you might think when you don’t go in to the office to work. Working on your own means dealing with a lot of distractions while still getting things done.

Can the Job Travel Home With You?

One of the great things about many work at home jobs is that it doesn’t matter where you live. The job can come with you. That’s great for going back home to see family over breaks – you don’t have to give up the job, just take enough time off for travel.

Not all work at home jobs will be so flexible, unfortunately. If you have to go in to the job occasionally, it probably won’t travel so well. But if you don’t have to go in very often, you can probably arrange your travel around it.

Can You Cope With the Distractions?

There are more distractions than friends and roommates when you work at home, although those can be more than plenty. There’s homework and studying to do. There’s Facebook and all the rest of the internet. You must find a way to deal with these and your work.

College students do have one advantage in that they’re used to dealing with distractions while trying to get homework done. Unfortunately, there’s rarely a good study group to keep you focused on your job, and some jobs don’t allow you to be around others while you work. You may be best off making a schedule for your work hours, to help others understand when you’re working and to take it seriously. Saying you can work “anytime” too often leads to working too little.

Keep It All Organized

If you have paperwork or books associated with your work, you absolutely need to keep them organized. You also need to keep any work files organized on your computer. Working at home can become a disaster if you’re too disorganized and lose important documents.

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2 Responses

  1. Had I known about the possibilities of being able to work at home when I was in college, I would not have dropped out for financial reasons. Seriously. I worked a full-time job while working at home for over a year before I decided to work full-time from home. I would have gladly juggled school and work.

  2. Steve says:

    Stephanie, great article. I think this would help my college bound brother. I would forward this post to him.