College is expensive, and between classes, homework, studying and extracurricular activities, it’s also time-consuming. You might not think you have time for a job on top of all your other commitments, but there are plenty of part-time jobs and side gigs out there for college students.
In 2017, 43% of full-time undergraduates and 81% of part-time undergraduates worked while in college, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Having part-time employment improves your financial situation by offsetting some costs. You could start paying back your loans while still in school, cover your textbooks or simply start saving.
Most millennials have small or nonexistent savings accounts. In 2017, 46% of millennials (ages 18 to 24) had $0 in savings while 21% had less than $1,000, according to a survey by GOBankingRates.
It never hurts to have some extra cash in your pocket, in case you need some unexpected school supplies or have to replace something that breaks or gets lost. On the more self-helping side, having income can alleviate some stress; start a rainy-day fund or treat yourself every once and a while. You could go see a movie or local show, dine out with friends, take a day trip or refresh yourself at a salon or spa.
For college students looking to make some money, there are a variety of opportunities to fit all kinds of interests, schedules, skills and personality types. It’s prime time for side gigs thanks to all the temporary work and part-time jobs college students can discover in just a few clicks.
First, consider the kinds of services your university offers. Between the campus library, eating establishments (like a dining hall) and coffee spots — we all know how college students live on caffeine — there are plenty of places you can work within decent proximity to class. Often after your first year of residency, you can become a tour guide for possible incoming students or tutor your peers in classes you’ve already passed. If you live on campus, you could become a resident assistant (RA). Some colleges even offer additional rewards to RAs like single rooms and/or discounts on room and board. One of the biggest perks of working for your university is that your job should prioritize working around your class schedule.
If you have specific skills, interests or want to potentially learn something new and get paid to do so, freelancing could be perfect for you. Creative types often opt to freelance and earn money doing something they enjoy, such as design, photography, video editing, writing and so on. Working as a freelancer offers the opportunity to work online, from the comfort of your home and at your own convenience. Additionally, any work you do can become part of your portfolio and help in your search for future employment.
Think about the kinds of places that typically surround a college or university: banks, bars, bookstores, clothing stores, coffee shops, grocery stores and places to eat. These establishments offer retail positions, aka some of the easiest jobs to find and secure. These types of opportunities can be ideal for college students. For example, banks open early; you could be a teller if you have afternoon or night classes. On the other hand, bars (if you’re old enough) and restaurants are usually bustling at night, and so you could work after classes.
4. Gig Work
Another kind of opportunity found online is a temporary job or gig. These can be very short term, lasting only a day or two. Gigs are posted on apps or through sites like TaskRabbit, a mobile marketplace where you’ll get paid to do some manual labor. If you’re handy, good at cleaning, organizing, packing etc., you might have what it takes to be a gig worker. Gigs are perfect for students with extremely packed or continuously changing schedules. Also, depending on the type of job, you might be able to get in some exercise and skip the gym.
5. Paid Internship
While harder to find than an unpaid internship, paid opportunities are out there. Many internships can be found online, count toward class credit and/or align with your career goals. They can also be remote, but these are often more sought-after. Once more, your employer will know you’re in school and should try to work around your schedule. Internships are great to add to a resume, help you gain experience and — depending on the opportunity — build up your portfolio.
For some, traditional jobs are a thing of the past. If you need something that offers more flexibility, freelancing or gig work could be for you. However, any job where you don’t have to physically be there or lacks a routine requires you manage your own time efficiently, and that can be difficult.
If you’re looking to make some money while in college, find out what kind of job is right for you with a little research and trying different things. Another benefit of part-time jobs and gigs are that they don’t have to be forever.
Student loans help pay for school, but having an income can allow you to cover unforeseen expenses, textbooks, occasional indulgences — for mental health of course — and start building up a savings account. Once you’re making money, our tips on saving and money management can help you make the most of it.
Did we forget something? What are the best kinds of jobs for college students? Should college students try to work or focus on their studies?
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