As we get back into college season, it’s time to start thinking about how you’re going to make money while in school. Whether you’re going back to school after time off, starting graduate school, or simply beginning college for the first time, it’s a good idea to have a part-time job.
Part-time college jobs will help you gain experience, earn extra money, and quite possibly pay off some of your tuition during school. You’ll also make valuable connections in the form of coworkers and supervisors who can serve as references for you in the future.
Receiving work-study through the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is one way to gain access to work-study jobs, but there by no means the only way to work on campus. If you don’t qualify for work-study jobs at college, don’t worry! There are still many job opportunities available to college students.
Here’s a list of the perfect jobs for college students trying to make ends meet (or have a little bit of savings!)
If you can get this, you’re doing better than your peers. RAs typically receive free room and board, although your meal plan options may be limited. Given the high cost of room and board at many colleges, this is one of the most lucrative jobs you can get as a student.
Becoming an RA is a competitive process, and many applications require several rounds of interviews, including the resume and cover letter process. It’s not an easy job, either, requiring you to give up nights to babysit freshmen or wrangle tired juniors from their beds during a fire drill. However, the money you save on living costs is well worth the nights you give up for many people!
Who this job is good for – Resident Advisor jobs are perfect for outgoing people who are problem-solvers, available during the day and night, and willing to enforce rules.
Working as a tutor for your fellow classmates or underclassmen is a great way to refresh your skills, meet new people, and make some extra money. The hours are much more forgiving than being a resident advisor, although if you’re tutoring athletes at your school, you may be required to tutor in the afternoon and early nighttime hours after practice.
You’ll get a tutoring jobs by approaching professors you’ve had before and asking about tutoring positions. Sometimes professors arrange the tutoring sessions themselves, and sometimes the colleges have specific rules about how to apply to become a tutor. You may have to pass a skills test to determine if you will be an effective tutor.
Who this job is good for – Tutoring jobs are good for people who have a firm grasp of the subject they’re teaching. If you’re the go-to person for teaching Spanish grammar, you may be a great tutor for freshmen learning Spanish.
Most Library Jobs
Library jobs are great because there is usually some downtime for you to study. If you can pick up an early morning or late night shift, you’re usually able to study for at least an hour or 2 during your shift. Being a library assistant also allows you the opportunity to pick up library books for research papers – and you have no excuse for accruing late fines!
Applying to work at the library is as simple as showing up before the beginning of the school year and asking if they have positions available. Don’t just visit your underclassmen library either: if your school has a law school on campus, visit the Law Library and inquire about open positions. Some colleges allow underclassmen to work at various libraries on campus without being a student in that college.
Who this job is good for – A library assistant position is good for people who like books, can study intermittently, and are combination intro/extroverts. You’ll hopefully be a combination of introvert and extrovert because the library can be very quiet (go figure!) and you’ll want to use that time to study and not chat. You’ll also need to be extroverted when it’s time to help students and the public with questions and finding the appropriate materials.
Working in the on-campus bookstore (or an off-campus bookstore) is an awesome way to check out new books, meet people, and possibly get a discount on books and other supplies. Bookstore hours are fairly regular too, meaning you won’t have to work any late night or early morning shifts, like you would as an RA or library assistant.
Similar to work at a library, you should visit your local bookstore before the beginning of the school year and inquire about open positions. With regular turn over (graduating seniors), most bookstores should have positions open on a regular basis. If you’ve had any retail experience, particularly working a cash register, highlight this while applying.
Who this job is good for – Working at a bookstore is good for sociable, organized people who don’t mind occasionally moving heavy boxes of books.
Being a nanny is an excellent job for many college students, particularly if you’re able to schedule your classes during the day. By the time it’s time to pick up your charge from school, you’ll be done with classes and you both can do homework.
Beyond the fairly flexible schedule, working as a nanny will allow you to potentially earn more money than you would working on campus. Any activities you do with your charge(s) should also be paid for by the parents, allowing you to do the fun kid stuff (go cart racing! Children’s museum!) you miss from your childhood.
Become a nanny by signing up Care.com, asking friends who’ve been nannies in the past, or by asking professors if they know of anyone looking for nannies. While the professors themselves may not have young children, many parents ask professors for recommendations.
Who this job is good for – Being a nanny is best for people who like kids, for obvious reasons. This job is particularly good for early-education majors as well.
Are you a yoga pro, or have you wanted to teach your classmates about self-defense? You’d be surprised what college gyms are looking for in instructors, so if you have a talent at teaching fitness classes, see if you can get paid for it!
See if your school is hiring by going to the gym or fitness studio on campus before school starts and ask what classes they’re hiring for or if they’re open to new classes. Your gym may not have availability that semester, but they may be open to you teaching a class or two the following semester or during the summer term.
Who this job is good for – Working as a fitness instructor is best for people who can teach a class without getting distracted, people with loud voices, and people with a passion for the subject. This is likely not a job you will earn a great deal of money from (you may earn an hourly rate or a percent based on number of people in the class), but it’s a good way to stay in shape and get paid for it.
Are you an introvert who’d rather get paid to grade? You may want to be a teaching assistant. Usually only offered at big universities with large class sizes, you’ll likely have to be a junior, senior, or graduate student to be a teaching assistant. Your workload varies and could consist primarily of grading assignments, but you could also be asked to hold small study seminars in addition to grading.
The best way to get a teaching assistant position is to approach a favorite professor, preferably someone in whose class you excelled. If you’re planning on majoring in the subject your professor teaches, even better. Ask the professor if they have any teaching assistant opportunities in the future. You may only be a teaching assistant for a semester, but some professors keep excellent teaching assistants on until they graduate.
Who this job is good for – Someone who doesn’t mind grading mind-numbingly terrible underclassmen essays. All jokes aside, teaching assistants should be diligent, willing to work alone, but also willing to potentially manage a small group of underclassmen. It helps to be a major in the subject, as knowing the subject will help you be a more efficient grader.
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These are just seven of the best jobs for college students, in terms of flexibility and, potentially, pay. This is by no means an exhaustive list of great jobs for college students, so if you have any suggestions, share them in the comments!
Kate @ Money Propeller says
I have a friend before who worked in the library. He was responsible to arrange the books and follow up the students who borrowed books. He told me that his salary really helped him a lot.
Paul Moyer @SavingFreak says
Great ideas Melissa. I volunteer with high school students at my local church. I have had several of them do mystery shopping once they get into college. They will frequently make $200-$300 a month and get reimbursed for the stuff they buy. This includes getting paid to go to restaurants.
Paul, that’s great! Mystery shopping is a fun way to earn extra money, especially for college students. It’s very flexible too, which is helpful.
Vanessa Ally says
I think that being a nanny is well paid but it is not a way to enrich your academic knowledge so I would focus on library jobs or tutoring as the best options for college student jobs.
Good point, Vanessa! Library jobs or tutoring are very good jobs for college students. For those who can’t get those jobs, or need even more flexibility, a nanny job could be a good option in terms of pay and flexible schedules. Many nanny jobs allow college students to work through the summer and take on more hours, too, which is not always the case for library or tutoring jobs, which tend to dry up in the summer.