Should I work while I’m studying?
There are a number of different ways to subsidise your income, but for the most part the majority of students with jobs will work throughout the course of their degree. Although most degree programmes are classed as being full-time modes of study, the actual hours of contact time in University will mean that students can pick up shifts on the evening or at weekends.
However, some more intensive programmes such as medicine or law may be too demanding for students to accommodate alternative work. In cases like this, it may be better to look for seasonal work during the summer holidays.
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What is the benefit of part-time work?
As well as the extra money (always a bonus), part-time work is also a fabulous way to boost your CV. It demonstrates that you have previous experience within the working world (a place very different to University life) and showcases a strong work ethic. This will significantly boost your employability and – hopefully – will ensure that it is easier to find a job on graduation.
I’m doing a placement year – will that be paid?
It really depends upon the University and whether your placement is a requirement of your course. Most placements within a private company will give you some wages, although there is no guarantee of this. You should check with your University or your manager.
What sort of job should I get?
The jobs that you may decide to apply for will depend on a variety of things, including the demands of your course, your location, your interests and your skills. After all if you hate people, then you don’t want to be working in a customer services role!
However, as well as the pay you should also consider the perks of the jobs – including staff discount. For this reason many students will choose to work in restaurants (as you get free dinners on shift), or food stores to gain a discount on the weekly shop.
Having said this retail work – particularly in high-street clothing stores – is also popular among girls with an interest in fashion.
How much should I be expecting to earn?
Most part-time jobs will pay on an hourly basis, and the wage will be low. However, EVERY employer is legally obliged to pay their workers the national minimum wage. If you are 18-20 this will equate to £4.80 per hour, and for over 21s it is £6.19. Most students will work on average between 8 – 20 hours per week, but it is important to check how many hours you are legally contracted to work.
Most students will not actually be charged tax as they will be earning a salary that is under the personal allowance threshold of £9000 per annum.
Unfortunately, Inland Revenue might tax you anyway, even if you are under the personal allowance threshold. If this is the case, don’t worry – you’ll get it back! All it means is that you are on the wrong tax code, so just ring up and they’ll change it.
Will this impact on the amount of student loan/grant I receive?