The cost of college is going up, and many students graduate with a mountain of debt. If you’d rather not take out a ton of student loans, it pays to work while you’re in school.
You can use the money you earn to chip away at any existing student debt you’ve already racked up or you can use your earnings to pay your future tuition costs to avoid further debt.
You might think that getting a job during college is tough with limited work experience. You might not have reliable transportation, either. But you can get a job while you’re studying.
Here are seven of the best college jobs for students.
1. Sign up for the Federal Work-Study Program
The Federal Work-Study Program offers qualifying students the opportunity to take a job through their colleges and use their earnings to cover their education costs.
Under this program, you’re matched up with a job and paid directly for the hours you work. Your hours, however, are limited to what the program grants you. That decision is usually based on your course load, academic progress, and financial need.
2. Look for a university job independently
If you don’t qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program, you can pursue a job through your college by applying to openings on campus.
These jobs aren’t always the most glamorous. You might, for example, stock supplies at the campus bookstore or serve slop at the local dining hall. Still, it’s money in your pocket to help pay for tuition, so it’s hard to complain.
3. Work for a local business
If you have a car or access to public transportation, go to local businesses and see who’s hiring. You might snag a job at a local restaurant, retailer, supermarket, or another business. The pay will probably be slightly better than that of an on-campus job since those are arguably the most convenient.
There are lots of jobs for college students in college towns -- you just have to find them.
4. Become a tutor
Many college students need help with their studies and are willing to pay for it. If you excel in an academic area, try offering your services as a tutor.
The best part about it is that the hours can be flexible -- just arrange to do your tutoring at times that work well for you. You don’t need to commit to a series of shifts as you would with the aforementioned jobs. Which is especially nice during midterms and finals.
5. Drive for a rideshare company
If you have a vehicle of your own, why not use it to make some money? Sign up to work for a rideshare company and shuttle passengers back and forth at your own convenience. You’ll have the option to work as many hours as your exam schedule allows, making this a great flexible job for college students.
Just keep in mind that there are certain requirements you’ll need to meet to be eligible to work in this capacity. Uber, for example, requires that applicants under the age of 23 have at least three years of driving experience. That means you’re probably out of luck as a college freshman. But the option might present itself once you’re a junior or senior or if you’re an older college student.
Some of those college professors who spend their days educating you have kids. Kids they’d love to ditch here and there to get out with fellow adults. If you’re good with children, see if there are any babysitting opportunities available where you study. You can advertise your services in student lounges, lecture halls, and anywhere else you think folks with kids might take notice.
You might not think of babysitting as one of the best jobs for college students, but it has a lot of benefits. For example, you may be able to study while the child is napping or after they’ve gone to bed. It can also be a great way to build a personal connection with your professors.
7. Be a blogger
If you’re a decent writer, one of the most flexible jobs for college students is being a blogger. Many businesses want ongoing content for their websites, and you probably already have the equipment needed to do that job. A laptop and an internet connection are likely required for your studies, so you’re set. And while you may have deadlines to stick to, you can once again set your own hours and work when it’s convenient for you.
Keep a balance
Earning money during college is a great way to keep your student debt to a minimum and pad your savings account.
Just make sure your job doesn’t interfere with your ability to do well academically. If you fall behind on your classes and wind up failing any, you could end up costing yourself more money by having to repeat those courses. And that’s the last thing you want.