The reality these days is that most college students will work while they are going to school. The cost of tuition is high — and climbing. In some families, parents may bear all, or a majority of the costs of college, but the majority of students are expected to contribute to expenses. Students may contribute to tuition and fees, or they may be responsible for earning their own spending money.
Most college students have summer jobs which help them to earn some of their income, but many students know that they will need to work while going to school. If your student will be working during the school year, he will first need to decide whether to try to find a job on campus or off campus. There are advantages on both sides. Your student may have been offered Federal Work Study as part of his financial aid package. If so, he will be looking for a qualifying job on campus. Not all campus jobs qualify for work-study funding, so he should be sure to ask.
If your student decides to look for a campus job, she may feel that she will have few options. Of course, the number of options will depend on the size of the school, but there may be more choices available than your student realizes. Encourage her to start her search early — possibly checking listings on-line over the summer. Campus jobs may be in high demand, and priority often goes to upperclass students.
Thinking creatively will help your student investigate possible campus jobs. Here are a few possibilities to consider. Of course, not all schools will have all of these options, but they may help your student begin to think about the options.
- Food service — One of the classics of campus jobs is work in the dining hall. Students may serve food, clean tables, wash dishes, work at the cash register or check-in, etc. With more and more dining options available on campuses, this area may include more potential jobs than ever.
- Tutoring — If your student has an area of academic strength, she may be able to land a job with the academic support center tutoring other students.
- Teaching Assistant — Upperclass students may be assigned to help instructors either by teaching along with the professor, facilitating discussion sessions, gathering material or grading tests or papers.
- Residence Assistant — Some students are assigned responsibilities in residence halls to supervise and counsel the students living on their floor. These students often undergo significant training and then are either paid or receive a discount on their housing costs.
- Library — The campus library often hires students to work at the check-out desk, shelve and organize books, etc.
- Admissions — Students usually lead campus tours, meet with incoming students, answer phone calls and e-mails, write for a college blog, and generally serve as college ambassadors at events.
- Buildings and Grounds — Students may be hired to help rake leaves, shovel snow, pick up trash, move furniture, or other general maintenance work. This may be an especially nice job for students who like to be outside and who enjoy physical work.
- Technical assistance — The computer or technology center may hire students to help in computer labs, troubleshoot student computer problems, or service student computers.
- Office and clerical work — Many college offices need help with general clerical duties. This may include answering phones, filing, copying, etc.
- Departmental assistant — Sometimes an entire academic department may hire a student to help all of the faculty members in that department. This help may range from picking up mail to conducting research, to filing or grading papers.
- Research assistant — Some faculty members conducting research projects may hire students to assist. These positions may be grant-funded and come directly from the individual faculty member rather than through the school.
- Lab assistant — Science departments may need students to supervise labs.
- Fitness Center — The fitness center may need students to sit at a front desk, maintain equipment, or teach classes.
- Mail Center and/or Copy Center — Students may help deliver campus mail, sort mail, or help with copy jobs.
- Desk attendant — With heightened security on many campuses some colleges assign students to front desks in residence halls. These students sign visitors in and out of the dorm. Sometimes these desks are manned all night — providing an ideal job for a nightowl who would benefit from some quiet time to get studying done.
- Lifeguard — If the school has a pool, they may hire certified student to work as lifeguards during open pool times.
- Notetaker — Some students with documented learning disabilities may qualify for a notetaker in classes. A student in the same class may be hired by the ADA office to take and copy notes for another student.
- Daycare Center — If the school maintains a daycare center, students may be hired as classroom assistants.
This list is not comprehensive. Each school will have a unique list of opportunities for students to work on campus. Most colleges or universities could not function without many student workers, and most colleges are eager to provide opportunities for students to boost their income. Finding a job on campus may mean that your student will be working for a lower wage, but he will have the opportunity to make important college connections.