For students money is about as important as getting an A in their hardest class. With the increases in tuition and jobs not being as available for graduates to pay loans, students are looking for ways to make money while going to school. There is a balance of how much you can/should work without jeopardizing your GPA.
The first step is to look into how much time you are spending on classes to get your desired grade. This should be an A, not a C just for a mediocre passing grade. Studies say you should spend 3 hours on a class per hour you are in lecture. This seems a little biased towards the hard classes because we all know that easy classes take no work to get an A. But this doesn’t mean you can ignore your harder classes to spend more time working. Assuming on average its about 1-2 hours per lecture, a student should be studying around 15-30 hours on their own during the week with a 15 credit hour class schedule.
The second step is to think of what days you will need to be spending the majority of your time on homework. If you have 5 things due on Wednesday a job on Tuesday night will be a poor choice. If you have nothing due on Fridays or have Tuesdays/Thursdays off from school these might be perfect times to work. Don’t skip homework assignments in order to go to work. Also make sure you have enough energy and are alert enough to successfully complete each assignment.
The third step is to find an employer that is willing to work around your work schedule. You are going to college for an education, not to work some sub-par customer service job. If they are unwilling to let you take a Tuesday night off for a night time exam they are clearly a poor fit for your student lifestyle. Keep in mind most employers in college towns are willing to work with students because they are the majority of the workforce.
The fourth step is to calculate how much money you actually need. If you have loans and are still paying for food, and other necessities it might be enough to just pay off these expenses and leave the tuition to student loans. Overworking yourself in college will result in a poor GPA and cause the job market to skip over you after school. Having an extra hundred dollars a month in student loans might be worth the job that pays 60 grand instead of 30.
The final step is to try and find a job on campus, or that relates to your chosen major. The key to being able to find a job out of school is experience. If you worked a related job while studying for your major you will have a real life application of your major and prove to an employer that you are dedicated to this path. Remember you are in school to go to school, not work, but when you have to make it your worthwhile.