Papers and Paychecks: Part-Time Jobs for Working Students

Around this time of the school year, students might start feeling like their wallets are a bit lighter than when they started the semester. If this is you, you're not alone.

Around this time of the school year, students might start feeling like their wallets are a bit lighter than when they started the semester. If this is you, you’re not alone. According to the Institute of Education Sciences, around 40% of full-time students attending a public college or university hold a job while attending class. Whether you need extra spending money, a work-study job, or want a productive way to spend those extra hours during the week, a job might be an essential part of your undergraduate experience. On-campus jobs may be less scarce than you think at your school and there are advantages to working on campus. For one, you won’t have to travel far if you live in the residence halls. Also, you might be able to work out a schedule that allows you to work in between, before, or after class so there’s not a lot of running around. Below are some common on-campus college entities that hire college students.

Dining halls

Large universities often have multiple dining halls, giving students ample opportunities to work. Pros of the jobs include being able to prepare food if you’re interested in culinary arts, seeing familiar faces inside the dining halls, and having easy access to food at meals times. Cons include having to wash dishes, cleaning up messes people leave behind, and the dreaded “dinner rush.”

Bus drivers

Many universities have bus systems and shuttles that transport students around campus, to nearby off-campus locations, and student housing. If your school has a transportation system like this and they allow students to be drivers, it can be a higher paying position than other university sponsored jobs. Pros include a good hourly salary and learning the layout of the campus and surrounding geography. Cons include having to operate a large bus through inclement weather and constantly being on the lookout for pedestrians.

Campus bookstore

Most four-year colleges and universities have on-campus bookstores where you can buy anything from textbooks to collegiate sweatshirts and greeting cards. These stores also provide more work opportunities to students who want to work on-campus. Pros of the job include interacting with customers while helping them with purchases and getting potential discounts on merchandise. Cons include long lines of people trying to buy books at the beginning of the semester.


Some colleges and universities have on-campus daycare centers for students, professors, and university employees with children. If your school has one and they hire student teachers, this is a great opportunity for students wanting to pursue a career in teaching. Pros include getting first-hand experience working with children if this is your chosen field of study and having a career-related part-time job on your résumé. Cons include having the responsibility of taking care of dozens of young kids and being susceptible to any sicknesses they might have.

Library jobs

Library jobs can cover a wide range of positions incorporating many different skills. Some libraries have IT departments that need people who know how to fix computer issues or mechanical problems. There are also jobs stacking books and making sure students can find the books they need. Your library may also have a café inside at which you can provide coffee and snacks to your sleep-deprived student peers. Pros include having the opportunity to work with computers if that is something you’re interested in and being able to work in a quiet environment if that’s more your thing. Cons include a lack of socialization.

On-campus jobs are an excellent alternative to finding work off-campus which often requires the use of a car and typically involves a boss that’s less understanding of your hectic schedule. Check out the list of schools on InsideCollege that have lower tuition but require that students have a job while in class—one of these may be a great match for you. Whether you’re paying for college on your own, need work-study hours, or just need extra spending money, a part-time job could be just the solution to your financial woes!

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About Kristen Healy

Kristen Healy

Kristen is an Assistant Editor at Wintergreen Orchard House, a sub-division of Carnegie Communications, where she manages data for Midwestern colleges and universities. She graduated in 2010 from the University of Massachusetts Amherst with a double major in Journalism and Communication and a minor in Political Science. She is psyched about blogging about Public Colleges and Universities seeing as she is a proud product of one. She hopes that her four years at the Massachusetts state flagship campus will help her to bring new light to a broad range of topics that can relate to attending a public college or university. Her college career was spent writing for the news section of UMass’s Daily Collegian, volunteering at the university television studio, and enjoying the sites and activities of downtown Amherst. Kristen loves to travel and spent part of her junior year studying abroad in Galway, Ireland, where she gained perspective of what it is like to attend a large university in another country. She hopes her experiences in public higher education will help guide readers through their own college journeys!

You can circle Kristen on Google+, follow her on Twitter, or subscribe to her CollegeXpress blog.


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