It’s no surprise that many college students are broke. Tuition keeps going up while scholarships disappear and it’s harder than ever to get loans with the ongoing recession. So what’s a student to do when there are no more used textbooks at the campus bookstore and he barely has the money for a cafeteria burrito?
Sadly, it’s time to get a job. But with class schedules that are all over the map, it can be difficult to nail down a schedule for work (why, oh why, do they always put lectures in the morning and labs in the afternoon instead of placing one right after the other?). Often, a part-time job is the only option, and that usually means working nights and weekends at some minimum wage slop.
Luckily, the modern college student, connected to the internet and savvy in the ways of communication technology, may have a lot more to offer than an upgrade to large fries and a drink. Here are a few part-time jobs that every student will want to get:
You never thought learning the five-paragraph essay would pay off, but these days you can make up to $15 per article writing content for grind-house blogs like About.com or The Examiner (although rates for the latter vary based on page views and advertising dollars, so you could make more, or less). But if you’re a good writer, and especially if you are interested in technical or industry-related writing, you can sign up with freelance sites like ODesk and Elance to apply for jobs, get reviewed, and start making a name for yourself from the comfort of your dorm room.
Freelance graphic artist
This is virtually the same as freelance writing. If you have knowledge of common graphics programs and you are building a portfolio through class assignments, you can try to get work online through freelance sites (the same ones listed above). You may not be able to charge much at first, but you’ll your build your book or demo reel and you can start charging more as people become interested in your work.
While you can certainly get a job doing this through the campus (probably for minimum wage), you should think about signing on with an organization like The Princeton Review (which prepares high-school students for college entrance exams like the SATs, PSATs, and so on) or Sylvan Learning Center, which tutors younger students in a variety of subjects. You could even tutor K-12 students in-home by advertising with local schools, or help college students on your own campus to write essays, learn algebra, or discover the mysteries of science with tutoring sessions at the library or other public study centers on campus. Best of all, you can set your own hours.
A surprising number of students cite this type of job as ideal because it allows them to work a short shift (often switching with another part-time employee halfway through the day), earn decent pay for minimal responsibility (directing calls and incoming traffic), and even get some studying done during down time. Plus, it’s better than food service.
This job is not glamorous, especially when you’re getting harassed by drunks. But it is the fallback for college students everywhere because it will allow you to make all your classes (since you’ll likely work nights and weekends) and the tips can be a godsend when you don’t have two nickels to rub together between paychecks. BTW – way better tips can be had at bars because people get careless with their money when they’re drunk. So if you’re going into the service industry, this is definitely the way to make a fast buck.