Mount Vernon Nazarene University: Life Changing
Parent Perspective Newsletter

Off Campus vs. On Campus Employment
College students often struggle with the decision of whether to work on campus or to take a job off campus. There certainly are advantages and disadvantages to both. However, at the end of the day, I believe that the clear winner is the on-campus job. Let me explainÖ

Working off campus has its perks. Many students like the idea of getting off campus for awhile and others feel that working in a retail store or in the mall has a better social connotation than working in the cafeteria or on the grounds crew back on campus. Other students will work at clothing stores like Abercrombie & Fitch, so that they can make a little money and get employee discounts on clothes.

The problem with these options is that in some cases it can cost more to work at these places than you would think. Thatís right, I said ďcostĒ, and the whole idea behind working during college is to ďearnĒ money. There certainly are some incurred costs. When students work off campus, more often than not, they will require a car. This means that in addition to the cost of the vehicle, a student is responsible for gas (which isnít getting any cheaper), insurance, maintenance, etc. If they are working a 10am to 3pm shift on a Saturday afternoon, they will also be spending some money on food during their lunch break. If they are working at Abercrombie & Fitch, they will get an employee discount on clothes, but they are also required to wear A&F clothes when they work. So they will be required to purchase clothes from the store. Even at a discount, the clothes are not cheap and may represent a significant percentage of their paycheck. So after filling up the gas tank, paying the monthly insurance bill, buying food, and deducting the cost of their new jeans from their check, a student might find that they made very little money. Some students have had to schedule more hours just to pay the bills they incur from working.

There is also the issue of time. When students work off campus, even if it is a local business, they will spend time going to and from work. That time on the road adds up. When it comes to vacations and school breaks, local business are still open and expect employees to work. Most companies donít take into consideration midterm and finals weeks. This can put additional stress on students, especially if they are required to work during their school break or finals week.

Students who work on campus are in a very different situation. For starters, they donít have to have a vehicle and donít have to purchase clothes from the bookstore just to do their job. When students work on campus, their work schedules coincide with the academic calendar. Their supervisors understand that their class schedule will change each semester and that they will need to be flexible with hours during midterms and finals week. Itís also nice for students because they can walk to work, eat in the cafeteria on breaks, and work with members of the campus community. For many, having the opportunity to work in a Christian environment is a major factor in their decision to work on campus. Others also find that an on campus job can lead to employment at the university after graduation.

Of course, each case is different and students will need to weight the decision themselves, but it is important to consider all of the factors mentioned when making this decision. Students who are interested in working on campus can simply contact Dixie Kucheravy at ext. 4522 in the MVNU Student Employment Office.

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