College students can take on a range of jobs while in school, depending on their availability, experience, talents, and financial needs. For example, if a student is taking a lot of course credits in order to graduate early, he or she may not have time to work more than five hours a week. Let’s look at the types of jobs college students might have.
Work study is part-time work that’s awarded to students as part of a financial aid package. Students can often find work study related to their areas of interest. For example, someone studying biology might have a work-study job taking inventory of lab supplies on campus. Because work-study jobs are a part of financial aid packages, students who simply want to earn extra money may not qualify.
Not all campus jobs are work-study related. Students may be able to ask their institution’s human resource director or individual campus departments to see if other work is available. For example, the office of the registrar might need help filing papers. It may also be possible to apply to become a resident adviser (RA) and get free room and board in exchange for living on campus and serving as a role model for students. Some students may prefer to seek work off-campus, instead, since they may be able to work more hours and avoid competing with other students for on-campus jobs.
Students can certainly explore job opportunities in their communities. Such work might be related to a student’s field of interest—for example, a student interested in journalism might get a job writing ads for a local publication. Or it might be worth seeking a job that’s unrelated to school simply because it offers the most hours and pay. On the other hand, some may prefer on-campus jobs because their work supervisors are more respectful of their academic commitments and the need for flexible hours.
Similar to work-study opportunities, internships are usually related to a student’s area of interest. For example, a marketing student may get an internship working with a marketing director and contributing to the company’s social media campaigns. While internships can provide invaluable work experience, it can be hard to find ones that are paid.
Students who are concerned about not having enough time to work during college may wait and find part-time or full-time work during summer break. Such opportunities can be found through one’s guidance counselor, financial aid department, community members, or even online. One disadvantage of summer jobs is that they don’t last very long—the work is typically seasonal.