How honest should I be with potential employers re: school/scheduling?

I’m currently seeking new employment. I’m also a senior in college, though unsure if I’ll be starting up again next semester. So I’ve been looking for jobs that pay well, knowing that additional income from student loans might not be available for several months.

However, most of these jobs are full time, office or management positions. Getting the job I’ not worried about, I have the experience. I just don’t know how open I should be about returning to school and possible scheduling conflicts.

My friend always advises that I should get the job first, then work my school schedule around my job. Yes, that works for her because she’s still taking pre-reqs so she has her choice of 50 different classes at various days, times, campuses, or online. Ditto if you’re in a program designed for “mature” students- if they expect most in the program to be working 9-5, it’s not hard to find evening and online classes.

However, I’m in my final year. I have some specific requirements left that I may have a grand total of 3 days and times available to choose from, 2 of which probably require an hour commute each way. Some of the courses nearer to home are almost universally offered Tuesdays and Thursdays around midday.

My previous employer, though it was a 9-5 office/retail management hybrid job, was understanding enough. I didn’t have to be physically present in my office from 9-5, I just had to get my work done, so if I had to come in early, leave late, or take a 2 1/2 hour lunch break one semester they were cool.

How up front should I be about this? I’ve applied for all sorts of jobs, some of which I know would not be flexible and I’d only be able to take them with the understanding that I might only be able to take one class a semester. I just don’t want to shoot myself in the foot during the interview process, and if they are accomodating, I’d like to know.

Speaking as one who has been on both sides of the interview desk, I can tell you I would be highly pissed if I’d hired you and then found out you had all sorts of other obligations that cut into our normal work hours.

Be honest. Most employers, if they like you, will work with you. If not, you don’t want to be working there anyway.

I would also suggest you get your school schedule nailed down now. If you’re not going to go back in January and look for a full time job, that’s fine…you’ll be in, working, then change your schedule in the fall. But don’t go in on your first day and say, “Oh, by the way, these are the days and times I won’t be in because of school.”