Most college students work part-time during their studies, and especially in the summer months. They need the money to put towards tuition and living expenses. But it turns out that having a job in college has loads of benefits beyond the initial paycheck.
First of all, students who worked during college earned more after they graduated than students who didn’t. According to a 2019 study by Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations, students who worked in college earned up to $20,000 more after graduation than their classmates who did not work.
Of course, there's a fine line with everything, and this is no exception. Be wary of working TOO hard as a student. Even though having a good work ethic is a positive, the hustle and burnout culture
is always something to keep an eye out for. Know the difference between working hard and overkill.
Researchers also noted three other benefits that students pick up from working during college:
In other words, part-time jobs are good for students! And in case you’re looking for work, we’ve compiled 15 job ideas, arranged by category, for college students.
- Students acquire transferable skills (including those in time management and organization).
- Their resume is stronger, and more attractive to employers.
- They create a supportive job network for referrals and recommendations.
Photo by Free To Use Sounds
Self-employed jobs are great for students who want to build their business acumen. Building your own business from the ground up – even if your business is a sole proprietorship or very small – can be highly attractive to future employers and/or investors.
1. Babysitting for college faculty and staff
Faculty with children are often looking for part-time babysitters during the day and on evenings and weekends. Let your professors know that you’re available for babysitting. If you are reliable, it won’t take long before you have faculty from all over the college asking for you.
2. Dog walker
Pet owners who are gone all day need a trustworthy person to let the dog out for a short time during the day. Again, start building clientele by asking faculty and staff around your college. If you live in student housing, hand out flyers or post your services on a neighborhood social media site.
3. House sitter
Many homeowners who travel, even for short periods of time, prefer to have a house sitter than to leave their homes unattended. House sitting has the added benefit of leaving plenty of time for homework .
4. Private swimming instructor
If you have the proper certifications, consider offering private swimming lessons in the college pool. Faculty and staff children make great students. You can teach any age, and offer both one-on-one or small group sessions.
Almost anyone who can afford to have a house cleaner is always looking for a good one. And because most people want their house cleaned on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, you can make good money with just one or two clients and work only a few hours a week. As long as you really know how to clean a house, you don't need any special skills or equipment.
6. Window washer
If you have a truck, a ladder, and a bucket, you can wash residential windows. The going rate for a good window washer is high and many homeowners will hire you on the spot for recurring service if you simply leave a flier or mailer.
Photo by Petr Sevcovic
Working in the service industry can be difficult, especially if your customers are upset. But customer-facing jobs can be fun and exciting because you get to interact with many interesting people. Customer service jobs are also a great resume-builder because they show your ability to work with a variety of personality types. Some service positions have a lot of downtime and present opportunities for doing homework.
7. Restaurant server
Serving is a great job for someone who doesn’t have many hours to devote to work but who needs a high payout. A short lunch or dinner shift can yield what you might make in five hours at an hourly wage. Make sure you find out how tips are divided between staff and when – sometimes, you'll make more in tips than in your regular pay.
A cash paying job can be hard to keep track of finances, here's how to make your money last without blowing it all
Being a barista is not easy, but working in the hustle and bustle of a coffee shop can be fun. Some places, like Starbucks, will even contribute to your college tuition. Coffee shops are great places for extroverts who enjoy interacting with customers in a fast-moving environment.
If you can type, answer the phone, and are good with people, look for a receptionist position. All kinds of businesses, from hair salons to real estate offices, hire front desk personnel. Many need evening receptionists for four- or five-hour shifts after the day person leaves.
Answering the phone and welcoming clients can be an easy job and has the added benefit of giving you lots of time to chat with a variety of people.
10. Hotel desk clerk
Night hotel desk clerks often have a lot of downtime. If you are a night owl who likes to be alone, working in a hotel will give you time to do homework while everyone else sleeps.
11. Brand ambassador
If you like moving around and talking to people, you might make a great brand ambassador. A brand ambassador is hired by a company to attend events, festivals, or parties to hand out samples and talk about the brand. Often times they get rewarded in free products too!
12. Dining room assistant at a nursing home
Nursing homes often hire part-timers to come in for short lunch and/or dinner shifts. You might assist residents to the dining room, or just serve their meals. This can be a rewarding job – one that’s valuable to you and the people you serve.
Photo by Mimi Thian
Work from home jobs
Working from home provides a great deal of flexibility. If you’ve had it with commuting or you want to work in small bursts between classes, you might like a remote job.
13. Research assistant or work-study
Most colleges have money to pay students for research or other faculty assistance. Check with your school’s career center to find out more. Many faculty need research assistants to do library or online work that can be done from your laptop in your own bedroom.
Transcriptionists type audio-recorded notes, usually from medical professionals. Most doctors want a trained transcriptionist, but you can find online courses that are reasonably priced and easy to complete over the summer. If you type fast and spell well, you might be a good fit.
15. Virtual assistant
Small businesses often look to offload some of their day-to-day work to an assistant. Start by reaching out to local businesses to offer your services. You’re not limited by geography, of course, but sometimes being local lets you pick up or drop off documents from that business. Check out places like Fiverr and Upwork
Look for a job that fits your schedule and personality
So what’s the best job for you? It all depends on what you want to get out of your part-time work experience. Here are our top picks by category
If you are looking for the best paying job, you can’t go wrong with house cleaning for your own clients. Hourly rates range from $20 to $40 an hour.
If you are looking for the most flexible job that will allow you to balance work and school, you might like babysitting since you can take jobs when you want and say no when you’re busy. Babysitting at night also means you can do homework while the kids sleep.
Regardless of what job you choose, remember that part-time work is an investment in your career. Your future employers will look at your resume and appreciate your strong work history – along with your people skills, punctuality, and dependability. Your part-time work experience in college will set you apart from the crowd when you graduate.