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Part Time Jobs for Students: Being Broke in College is No Fun!

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In recent months the media has been chock full of grim tales about job-hunting new college graduates, making it easy to overlook another group of job seekers: current college students! Their situations may not be the same, but the semester is in full swing and a lot of students are already watching their summer savings dwindle. I speak from experience when I say that being broke during college is definitely not fun, and a lot of college students are already looking for part time jobs.

Even though college is a time of learning and fun, it’s also a time of growing up and learning to become financially independent. Most adults work to pay for their needs and wants. Besides, it’s nearly impossible to survive without some type of income, as small as it may be!

Most College Students Have Part Time Jobs

Even if your room and board is factored into the yearly costs that your parents help you with, textbooks and school supplies alone can cost a fortune. If you want to eat something other than the campus cafeteria every now and then but all you have are Ramen noodles and Easy Mac purchased with gift cards your parents gave you—you’ll most likely need some money!

If you’re strapped for cash but don’t have a car or other reliable method of transportation, an on-campus job is probably your best way to earn a few extra bucks after class. Most colleges and universities have quite a few work opportunities available right on campus and some students that enjoy a job they found during their freshman year are even fortunate enough to keep the same job throughout their four years at school! When I was in college, one of my friends worked in the same campus computer lab every single semester.

Benefits of Working on Campus

Getting a part time job right on campus has more than a few benefits. Even if you attend a relatively large school, travel time to and from “work” shouldn’t be a problem—most likely you can walk or ride your bike to your job. An extremely short commute means that you can schedule work shifts right after your classes end, and multiple short shifts are often more bearable than putting in eight or ten hour days on the weekend.

Campus jobs typically involve dealing with other students—students that realize you’re working to earn a buck or two. Most likely, they’ll be nice and not-so-demanding. The same can be said for your boss—college and university employees realize that you’re a student whose first priority is school and your classes. If you work off-campus, you might have to deal with some rude customers or a rude boss, and that can add stress on top of stress.

If you’re working right on campus, it’s safe to assume that you’re going to get paid. One more than one occasion I’ve heard horror stories from friends who showed up at work one day only to find a sign on the front door reading “Out of Business.” They were never notified that the place was closing, and they were never paid for their final week of work.

Benefits of an Off Campus Job

The biggest benefit I’ve heard about part time off campus jobs is a higher rate of pay, and you probably have a better chance at getting a raise, too. Some on campus jobs only pay minimum wage, and raises are rare. (I was a cashier and a part-time bookkeeper during college and I know I made more than my friend in the computer lab.)

You’ll also have more opportunities if you decide to work off campus. Waiting tables is usually popular among students because of the ability to earn decent tips, and late-night restaurants will often allow students to work until closing time if they have a busy class schedule. However, don’t forget that you’ll have to drive to work (or arrange other transportation) and it will take longer to get there and back to your dorm!

If you’re working an entry-level position in your field of study, you may even have the ability to continue on with a full-time position once you graduate. This happens more often than you may realize.

Common Part Time Jobs for Students

Below is a list of common part time jobs for college students—both on campus jobs and off campus jobs.

  • Tutor or study center assistant
  • Computer lab technician
  • Campus tour guide
  • Research assistant
  • Waiter or Waitress
  • Bartender or Barista
  • Receptionist
  • Sales Positions
  • Cashier
  • Foodservice employee
  • Paid Internships in your field of study

Be sure to visit the StateUniversity Job Board for more information about job hunting, resumes other job-related information!

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Melissa Rhone+

Melissa Rhone earned her Bachelor of Music in Education from the University of Tampa. She resides in the Tampa Bay area and enjoys writing about college, pop culture, and epilepsy awareness.


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