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September 14, 2021

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at LifeWorks – the Berry College Student Work Program

If you’re interested in balancing employment while pursuing a degree, you may already know that Berry College is one of the best institutions for doing just that. While it’s possible to find a job while attending just about any school, the Berry College student work program — called LifeWorks — is designed to help you launch your professional path. Take a closer look at this program and how it could benefit you.

Discover the Berry College LifeWorks program

At Berry College, student work is redefined as a way for students to get paid as they advance their education and professional development. Should you choose to participate in LifeWorks, you’re guaranteed eight consecutive semesters of paid experience to complement your studies.

“We offer work as an opportunity to all students who would like to have it be part of their college experience,” explains Marc Hunsaker, dean of personal and professional development at Berry College. And there’s clearly an appetite for these opportunities. “We have more than 90 percent of our students work at some point,” he adds.

It’s worth noting that LifeWorks is a mutually beneficial program. Students reap the rewards of mentorship and hands-on learning they gain while they contribute their talents and hard work to improve the Berry community.

Recognize the benefits of Berry College student work

It’s no secret that the cost of college is substantial, which means it’s important to think about ways to afford it. “There are many opportunities to supplement your education financing,” Hunsaker explains, mentioning scholarships and grants. He adds, “Getting paid for the work you do is a part of that.”

By participating in LifeWorks, you are guaranteed to start at a rate of $9.00 per hour. There are opportunities to earn more as you progress to more advanced positions, as well.

But offsetting expenses is just one advantage — there are many other benefits to working during college. Berry College students who participate in LifeWorks often report forming meaningful relationships with multiple mentors who are able to provide valuable guidance. You also stand to develop a whole host of skills that employers are seeking, including creativity, emotional intelligence, critical thinking and communication. Mastering these competencies can be a huge advantage when it comes time to apply for jobs.

“If students can explain how their time in the Berry College student program shaped them to develop the skills that employers value, that is really going to help them stand out in the marketplace and make them desirable job candidates,” Hunsaker notes.

There are more tangible benefits as well. A paper from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that students who work between one and 20 hours per week tend to have higher GPAs. Believe it or not, there is even a growing body of research that shows students who work during college ultimately earn higher wages later in life.

Explore some Berry College student work opportunities

Curious about what types of opportunities exist? There are more than 1,000 positions across 180 departments. Upper-level students can even leverage Berry’s Community and Industry Work Partnership to find off-campus employment in the surrounding area. But probably the best way to illustrate what’s out there is to describe the five employment levels:

  • Level 1: These are entry-level positions that are task-oriented, which help students develop some basic skills. Example jobs include social media assistant, postal clerk and outdoor recreation assistant.
  • Level 2: Jobs at this level are still task-oriented, but require more experience. A few of the positions at this level include event coordinator, athletic trainer and information technology (IT) network operations assistant.
  • Level 3: Students who’ve reached this point are now learning more advanced skills and focus on projects rather than tasks. Sample job titles include accounting and finance specialist, veterinary assistant and personal fitness trainer.
  • Level 4: These positions are supervisory in nature and challenge students to manage both projects and employees. Some are focused on academic research. Example jobs include science lab director, student admissions counselor and nutrition specialist.
  • Level 5: These are director-level positions that involve managing an entire department. A few relevant job titles include news producer, coordinator of volunteer services and dance company manager.

It’s worth noting that there are limits on how many hours you can work as part of the Berry College student work program. First-year students can work a maximum of 10 hours per week while upper-level students can increase their weekly total to 12 hours. The exception is those who’ve received a Gate Scholarship, who work 16 hours each week. There’s a reason for these restrictions.

“Working over 20 hours is definitely detrimental to students’ academic engagement in college,” Hunsaker explains. “And I can tell you that from my experience, too.”

Determine how you can get started

Knowing there are so many positions can make choosing seem impossible, but Berry makes it easy for incoming first-year students by assigning their first job based on previous work experiences, career goals and a few preferences. All you have to do is complete an online assessment, fill out an I-9 form and present the required legal documents.

Once you’ve had a semester to get a feel for the student work program, you’re free to pursue any other positions that interest you. Explore the vast array of options using Handshake, a career management and job search system.

Once you begin your job (or jobs — students can work more than one as long as they don’t exceed the total hour limit), you’ll be responsible for logging your hours and submitting your timesheets for review and approval every two weeks. You’ll likely be reporting to older students for your first few jobs, which can be extremely beneficial as you figure out how to manage your time and prioritize important deadlines.

“You can talk to other students or graduates who had to balance some of those same things,” Hunsaker says.

Join the Berry College LifeWorks community

Being employed as a student can clearly benefit you for years to come, as long as you attend the right school. At Berry College, student work allows you to further your personal and professional lives while positively impacting the surrounding community. If you’re eager to learn more about how you can seize this opportunity, request information today.

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