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Get a Job: Our five favorite gigs for college students

Best Jobs for College Students

by Max Baumgarten

A grand don’t come for free, and you know what? Neither does college. As you know, the price tag for a college education is hefty. Between scholarships, loans, grants, and help from the ‘rents, hopefully you’ll be able to scrap together enough dough to pay for the basics: tuition, room & board, and books. While ma and pa might take care of that meal plan, you are going to want to skip out on the cafeteria and eat a few meals out every month (trust me). Sadly, university dining dollars don’t usually fly at local restaurants, nor do they cover the intangibles like the obligatory Fight Club poster for your dorm room, thrift store garb, a mini-trampoline, liquor, or even licorice. That’s where extra spending cash comes in.

Consistently keeping a few extra Andrew Jacksons in your wallet will require some work on your behalf, though. And by work, we mean an actual paying job. Don’t fret; lots of students have to supplement their income with a part-time post. Whether you take an on- or off-campus job, one thing is certain: not all jobs are created equal. Not only will a job enable you to purchase the most useless and random of gifts for yourself, but it can actually be a worthwhile and enjoyable experience. Without further ado, our slate of top jobs for college students:

5. Foodservice: Foodservice jobs vary: you can be a prep worker, dining hall cashier, or even campus coffee shop barista. Tasks can range from mind-numbing to downright gross, and the paycheck is probably not going to going to break 12 bones an hour. However, foodservice deserves mention on this list for one important reason: even when it comes from a cafeteria, it’s hard to argue with the opportunity to take home some free grub.

4. The Library Employee: Most on-campus libraries provide countless employment opportunities, including work shelving books, cataloging documents, manning the checkout scanner, or shushing patrons. It may not be glamorous or even that lucrative (student workers can expect to rake in $8.00-$13.00 an hour), but the laidback atmosphere is ideal. There are plenty of like-minded coworkers who are usually game for a little socializing on the side, not to mention that downtime is notoriously abundant. There’s something about watching other people crack open a textbook that inspires library employees to tackle their own reading assignments.

3. The R.A.: Just to be clear, working as a Resident Assistant isn’t a part-time job; it can be a 24/7 commitment. At times, the position requires students to become cold-blooded disciplinarians (“I am going to have to write you up for playing loud music after 11:00 p.m.”) or sappy pushovers (“I’ll let you off this time, but no more alcohol in the room, okay, please?”), not to mention the responsibilities that come with being on duty a night or two per week, overseeing a hall, and making sure that students are being safe and getting whatever help they may need. So why is the R.A. position one of the best jobs for college students? Well, aside from the obligatory power trip, R.A.s make great bank. Usually an R.A.’s salary is equal to the cost of his or her housing expenses, and free housing is nothing to scoff at.

2. The Tutor: If you’re an expert in a certain subject, tutoring is a great way to share your knowledge with your fellow undergraduates. Your department may have an official program that you can join, or you may be able to strike out on your own by putting up flyers and talking yourself up around campus. While students might ask you annoying questions or expect you to do their work, you get to flaunt your academic prowess in front of an audience. Whether you’re in charge of a group session or just working one-on-one, tutoring puts you in charge, which is a nice reversal of the usual student-teacher routine you’re used to. The hours are flexible, and tutors generally don’t have to work that many hours per week, with relatively generous salaries often ranging from 15-30 bucks an hour.  

1. The Extracurricular: Joining a club or student group doesn’t usually pay. But while you might run for student government or join the campus radio station for the experience, leadership positions in certain organizations may actually come with a little something extra. For example, yours truly joined the school newspaper to get published clips and writing experience, but by senior year was an assistant editor getting an actual paycheck. Snagging one of these positions is a highly effective way to get actual work experience in a field that captures your interest, helping you simultaneously boost your resume and put cash in your pocket.


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