Best Paying Jobs for College Students

When Tyler was accepted at his dream school, a private university, he knew it meant higher tuition and other college costs. He knew that he needed to work while he was in school in order to contribute to these costs and avoid debt.  

 

When Jasmin and her parents agreed that she could attend a college that was an airplane ride away from home, they also agreed that Jasmin would get a part-time job to pay for the additional costs of transportation.  

 

Sarah’s financial aid package included a work-study piece under the US Department of Education’s Federal Work-Study Program. Sarah will get a campus job to earn money to help pay for school, and the program will reimburse the college for at least 50% of Sarah’s wages, which increases the number of students the college can hire.  

 

According to a 2017 study by ABODO based on U.S. Census Bureau data and their survey of 3500 working college students, 52% of undergraduate college students work at least 27 weeks per year. So what are the best ways to maximize time spent and earn the most money? What are some of the best paying jobs for college students and how do you find them?

 

 

Best Paying Jobs

Tutoring

Helping other students academically can be rewarding and comes with flexible hours. Tutors usually arrange a regular schedule with clients, so the hours are predictable and outside your class hours. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, think broadly about what academic expertise you have to share.  

 

Peer tutors are college students who help other students in a variety of subjects. They often work in a college’s student assistance center or directly for an academic department. Other peer tutors offer their services independently on an hourly basis to other students.

 

If your college is in an area where there are other colleges close by, don’t limit your potential client base to your college’s students; foreign language and calculus classes cover similar material regardless of where they’re taught.

 

Make sure you have strong references or other ways to demonstrate your proficiency.

 

Tutoring high school or younger students in the communities near your college can be lucrative for college students. And academic tutoring can expand to include things like soccer coaching or babysitting. In addition to the usual resources for marking your services, you can contact local schools to advertise your availability. 

 

If you performed well on the SAT or ACT, check with local test prep organizations about working as a test tutor. All that test prep was worth more than helping you get into college! You also can offer these services on your own.

 

Website design

Students who have expertise in advanced website design can expect to be well-paid for performing these services in their spare time, either for an established company or by offering services themselves. For students interested in this industry as a career, the opportunity can also offer valuable networking for post-college jobs.

 

Even students who are not computer science majors can master template website design services like Wix (www.wix.com) and Square Space (www.squarespace.com) and offer to create simple websites for small business owners who may lack the time or expertise to do it themselves.  

 

Child care

Like tutoring, caring for children can be high-paying. You can arrange a regular gig (after school or evenings), or make yourself available on an as-needed basis. Parents will look for previous babysitting experience or other experience working with children. 

 

Personal companion

Companions help people who are elderly, disabled, or ill with a variety of tasks around the home. It can be a particularly rewarding job, because it gives you an opportunity to closely connect with the person you’re assisting.

 

Like childcare, these positions can have regular hours or be as needed.

 

Pet care

If you’re responsible and an animal lover, pet care is a great way to earn money in college by spending time with adorable animals. Regular or occasional dog-walking can be good exercise for you, too.  

 

If you’re available for overnight pet sitting, a weekend in a quiet house can be nice benefit! In addition to the student employment office and listservs, consider listing your services on websites like Rover (www.rover.com) and Wag! (www.wagwalking.com).

 

Resident advisor

Resident advisors are students who live in dorms and are the “grown-ups” in the student residence. They are responsible for enforcing the college’s rules within the dorm and helping to create a safe and inclusive living environment.

 

While the pay for resident advisors may be less than for other jobs, the position usually includes free housing, and that savings can be significant.

 

Fitness instructor

Like Zumba or yoga? Working as a fitness instructor, either at your college or at a local fitness studio, means you get paid to keep fit. Many fitness studios also let their instructors take other classes for free, so you save there, too.

 

Most fitness instructors must have some form of certification, whether through a national organization like the Athletics and Fitness Association of America (www.aafa.com) or through the specific fitness discipline being taught. And it’s rewarding to help others achieve their fitness goals.

 

Catering server

Working special events for your college’s food service provider, a local catering company, or a party planning company can be a fun, flexible way to earn money. The jobs are usually in the evenings or on weekends, and your working hours are spent in a party atmosphere!

 

Servers usually earn tips on top of their hourly pay.

 

Uber or Lyft driver

Driving for one of the ride-sharing services provides the ultimate in job flexibility.  Got an hour between class and practice? Drive someone to a doctor’s appointment. Early riser? Take someone to the airport before breakfast.

 

You must have a car and meet the other requirements for the companies’ drivers, and the expenses of gas and car maintenance are on you, so your net income may be less than for other jobs.

 

But if your schedule is unpredictable and if you like driving and meeting new people, driving for Uber or Lyft may be the perfect choice for you.

 

[Sign up to drive for Uber here.]

 

Finding Great Jobs

Colleges’ student employment offices are often the clearing-house for on-campus jobs. While some on-campus jobs may pay less than off-campus jobs, they have the benefit of convenience and minimizing travel time. And some student employment offices are resources for certain kinds of off-campus jobs like child care and tutoring.  

 

Many neighborhoods have listservs or Facebook groups on which potential employers and service providers find each other. Look for local neighborhoods on Nextdoor (www.nextdoor.com), a national social networking service for neighborhoods. 

 

Websites like Glassdoor (www.glassdoor.com) and Indeed (www.indeed.com) are aggregating websites that list jobs posted on other websites, and are full of opportunities.

 

And don’t forget to check Craigslist (www.craigslist.com) for employment opportunities, too.

 

There are plenty of ways to make good money as a college student, and do so without compromising your academics or all of your free time.

 

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This post was written by Marsha Shaines, an independent college admissions consultant in the Washington, DC metropolitan area who helps students and their parents across the country navigate the college admissions process (www.college-strategies.com) .  Marsha is also a lawyer, and before helping high school students, she was Deputy General Counsel of the Smithsonian Institution.  She has seen the college admissions process from numerous angles, including as a board member of College Tracks, a college access program in Montgomery County, Maryland, and college admission interviewer, and a college essay mentor.

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