Here’s some stunning news: Going to college is expensive. Pardon my sarcasm, but it’s getting worse every year.
If you’re currently a full-time college student, you’re probably already aware of the techniques needed to keep an eye on your finances. If you’re a high school senior heading to college next year, then you’ll benefit from learning how to have enough money to make it through campus life day to day.
Most college students don’t have the advantage of an unlimited budget. Well-off families sometimes can afford to give their college students a credit card or two to use for whatever they need. The bill shows up at home monthly and Mom or Dad just pays it. That’s a dream scenario for the majority of undergraduates who face an ongoing challenge of meeting the monetary demands of full-time higher education.
So, for many in the non-unlimited budget crowd, finding a part-time job is a necessary truth. It’s hard to quantify just how many full-time college students work at part-time jobs, but it’s a significant number. You can find them waiting tables at restaurants, stocking shelves at retail and grocery stores and providing test prep for local high school students.
I did some research on jobs for college students and found an interesting article: 37 Best Part-Time Jobs for College Students. At the top of the article, there is an interesting graphic: A pyramid. At each of the three points is a pair of words: Good Grades; Social Life and Enough Sleep. In the center of the pyramid is the punchline: Pick Two.
This gave me a chuckle and I nodded in agreement. I also started to think about a typical undergraduate student’s campus lifestyle, although the pyramid could just as easily apply to graduate students, who may suffer more severe consequences.
Adding a part-time job to a collegian’s lifestyle equation can really add pressure to “picking two.” Usually, it’s sleep that suffers, although grades may be a close second or even tied with lack of sleep. College students seem to resist sacrificing their social lives for almost any reason. Thus, sleep is probably the most robbed.
Are you looking for a part-time job to support your college expenses? Maybe you’re planning ahead to next year when you land on campus for the first time and want to optimize your time both financially and academically? If so, then maybe some suggestions from these 37 Best Part-Time Jobs ... can inspire you. Let’s take a look at a few of them.
The localwise.com team have organized their list into five categories:
- Local Business Jobs
- Food Service Jobs
- Startup/Office Jobs
- Work-Study Jobs
- Sharing Economy Jobs.
Here are my picks from each, with comments from Localwise followed by mine:
Local Business Jobs:
- Customer Service in a Book Shop
Local bookstores are making a resurgence, especially in college towns. Many book shops will be close to campus and offer some of the books required for courses, lessening your costs for school books with employee discounts.
This is a good way to save some cash on textbooks. You may recall that in a previous post, I noted that I used a copy of an extremely expensive art book from my local public library to carry me through an art survey course during my freshman year.
- Front Desk Associate at a Fitness or Yoga Studio
If you love fitness and can motivate people to exercise, this is the job for you. You won’t need much experience and will save money here as well. Most places offer their employees free classes -- a great way to stay active in college!
I worked at an indoor tennis club, manning the desk, giving advice, filling the vending machines and putting chlorine tablets in the aqua-sauna. While this didn’t pay a lot of money, I traded part of my work time for expensive court time. That worked out nicely since I got to play for free as a partial swap for my time behind a desk.
Food Service Jobs:
- Catering Staff
This is a great job for those who want a flexible, on-call position with decent pay. Previous experience in food service is a plus. There will likely be different locations for each event, offering an escape from your typical routine.
This can be an opportunity to come into contact with influential people who can enhance your campus network. Caterers often end up serving at the homes of professors or school administrators. It’s possible to strike up a conversation with someone helpful while doing your job. Plus, lots of yummy leftovers!
- Food Truck Staff
Depending on where you live, food trucks are the growing local business trend. Take the chance to work for a cool new business with a fun culture. You will also gain some customer service experience, food prep experience and the chance to travel while you work.
I love food trucks. This is a great resume builder. Of course, you’ll come back to your dorm smelling like a steak sandwich, but it can lead to work during the summer, if you can remain near the truck’s route. If you want to see what working on a food truck is like, check out the movie Chef. The good news about food trucks is that your customers can see what goes on “in the kitchen,” so to speak. Maybe that’s the bad news.
- Social Media Manager
Think you've been wasting your time on Snapchat and Instagram? You've actually been gaining useful skills. Put those skills to good use by running the social media accounts for a local business or startup. Some of these positions can also be done remotely, which is great for the busy college student who is good at multi-tasking.
This would be ideal for an established or, especially, a new small business. Small businesses usually don’t have a big budget -- or any budget at all -- to pay someone to enhance their social media presence. If you’re a college student, you no doubt have logged many hours on social media platforms and know the ropes. Now’s your chance to use those skills to make some cash and, if you’re lucky, your small business boss will allow you to work from home (your dorm or elsewhere), as long as you get the work done. This may be an ideal job for a college student or technically adept high schooler.
Many businesses hire bloggers to create attractive and relatable content for their websites. You don't have to limit your job search to local businesses for this one, as the work is generally remote and submitted online. You can even be proactive and reach out to your favorite blogs to see if they are looking for contributors.
Bet you wondered why I called out this one? Three guesses. Yep. I’m a blogger. As mentioned, this is another of those work-from-home type jobs that can actually be a lot of fun, as long as your content supports the mission and objectives of your employer. You could even become so skilled and clever with your writing that you become what I call a cel-Web-rity -- a Web celebrity. Think about it.
Studentaid.ed.gov defines these jobs this way: “Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.”
Work-study jobs are self-explanatory. Here are some of them:
- Library Assistant
- Dorm Receptionist/Security Monitor
- Campus Tour Guide
- Research Assistant
- Cafeteria Worker
Sharing Economy Jobs:
- Pet Care
Animal lovers rejoice: Now you can get paid to spend time with your furry friends. Dog-sitting websites like DogVacay and Rover offer boarding, cleaning, walking, daycare and more for pups.
If you're interested in caring for cats, Holidog offers services for both dogs and cats. This is well suited for people with limited, inconsistent schedules who need to earn a small amount of extra cash.
I would love this type of job, having been “Daddy” to several miniature Dachshunds and a Cocker Spaniel. Caution: Be careful about reptiles. Study up on alligators and pythons!
If you’re an aspiring creative professional, get a head start on your career and work as a freelancer during school. Fiverr and Upwork are massive marketplaces for all types of freelance work. BlogMutt helps bloggers gain gigs within the professional world. Freelancer is a space to advertise your skills and get hired from professionals.
This is for go-getters. It’s also a great way to encounter internship possibilities. Take stock of your inventory of skills and motivations, even your ideas about a future business. Once you have all that organized, you can present yourself as the next Steve Jobs or Sheryl Sandberg. Be creative. Go freelance!
That pretty much covers it. Scan the entire 37-job list for even more inspiration. If you can balance those three pyramid points without losing your mind or health, you’ll not only make some much-needed money but you'll also possibly forge a path that leads to your first job after graduation, and maybe on to a career. Best wishes for success!