Study & work

Many students combine part time employment with studying. Here are a few things to consider.

The pros

  • Additional income.
  • A means of meeting people.
  • Work experience.
  • Development of generic work skills (e.g. communication, teamwork, problem solving).
  • Job satisfaction.
  • Increased self confidence.
  • Structure and routine can assist study habits.
  • An alternate interest.
  • Time out from the intensity of study.
  • Increased future employability.

The cons

  • Limited time for private study, especially at peak study periods.
  • Loss of interaction time with other students on campus.
  • Difficulty managing work schedule and timetable.
  • Less time on campus to consult with lecturers, tutors, advisers etc.
  • Fatigue, especially with shift work.
  • Prolonged periods without a holiday if working through non-teaching periods.
  • Increased psychological stress.

Remember: Some courses have compulsory attendance requirements. Even if not compulsory, students are seriously disadvantaged if they miss lectures, tutorials or pracs.

First years

If possible, take time to get used to university first before seeking work. It takes additional time in first semester to find your way around the system and to get an understanding of expectations and your particular study needs. It's good to be able to spend as much time as possible on campus, particularly during first semester. A full time study load is seen as the equivalent of a full time job irrespective of the number of direct contact hours. If you have to work for financial reasons, try to choose a part time position that won't clash with your lecture times... hospitality and restaurant work can be useful, as they often involve night work, but try and remember that you still need time to study.

How much is too much?

While it's difficult to lay down guidelines, here are some factors to be considered:

  • Your familiarity with university study.
  • The newness or complexity of the particular courses you are taking.
  • Health, level of fatigue, psychological stress levels.
  • Other commitments.
  • The nature of the work.

It is ideal to have the financial flexibility to stop work to allow for a concentrated period of study or to reduce stress. You must be available to attend examinations.

Is this the right job?

Factors to be considered include:

  • Flexibility around shifts (timing, hours, ability to drop shifts during peak periods).
  • Security of employment.
  • Amount of travel time.
  • Relevance to future career goals.
  • The quality of the workplace, e.g. good working relationships with supervisors and staff.

Where to find work

A lot of jobs aren't advertised so be prepared to canvass for work. When canvassing, follow-up a few days later. Many jobs are found through word of mouth; so let friends know you're seeking employment. Hospitality, retail, supermarket packing, call centre work and tutoring are common areas of employment.

Positions are advertised through Centrelink, ANU Careers Centre and newspapers. If you have specific skills, you may wish to register with an employment agency.

Centrelink requirements

If you are getting Income Support from Centrelink, earnings above a certain amount will affect your payment. The Student Assistance Officer (see below) can help you work out the financial implications.

International students

International Students may need to obtain permission to work in Australia, so be sure to check what your scholarship, program and student visa allows (direct visa enquiries to Department of Immigration and Border Protection). For details on maximum allowable hours of employment, employment rights and hints on finding employment see Study in Australia.

Your rights

Legal advice