Working During College

by Scott Gelbard

As a member of Apis Ventures, a business consultancy and venture capital firm in Denver, Colorado, I leverage my extensive experience in finance to provide management and venture capital services to companies in a variety of sectors. I established a strong educational foundation in the field at Colorado State University, where I studied consumer science, business, and finance, but I sought to gain a practical base of knowledge as well. During my last two years of college, I worked for an investor relations firm, which gave me the hands-on experience that allowed me to start my first company when I graduated from Colorado State in 1999.

Although many students worry that working during college might interfere with their academic careers, studies have shown that college students who find employment do just as well in their studies as students without jobs. Additionally, working doesn’t always mean taking time away from academics; according to recent data, students today spend more time watching television than ever before. While the phrase “working your way through college” points to the importance of minimizing the cost of higher education, especially if students or their families have taken out significant loans, a part-time or even full-time job can also prove useful for a future career. If students pursue work opportunities in their fields of interest, as I did, they might establish important connections or build useful skills. Moreover, future employers often look favorably on prior work experience.

As with all extracurricular activities in college, balancing a job with academics requires clear priorities and solid time management skills. Some students in particularly intensive academic programs may find that they simply lack the extra time to work. For the students who do have the time, however, taking on a job during college can be an opportunity to alleviate the cost of college, gain relevant professional experience, and further explore their interests.