Earning spending money
Are you thinking of taking on a job while in school to earn extra cash? Many students work part time while going to school. Some even hold full-time jobs.
Working doesn't have to interfere with getting good grades, or even with having time for social activities, but it does mean you have to manage your time carefully.
It can be helpful to schedule your study time like you schedule your work time. Remember, school is your most important job right now. A college education can give you the biggest payoff down the road in terms of career opportunities and income, so even if you have to get a job, school still needs to be your number one priority.
Warning! Before taking a job, check with your financial aid office. Ask if earning additional income will affect your eligibility for financial aid. If it will, calculate which will be more beneficial-the job or the aid.
If you need to work, you might first check into Work-Study programs at your school's Financial Aid office, which are a form of financial aid.
It is important and helpful in your job search for you to have a resume that reflects your skills and experience. Information on how to create an effective resume and completing employment applications is provided on this web site.
Tips for finding on-campus jobs
On-campus jobs (that are not Work-Study) have several advantages over off-campus positions. You donâ€™t have to travel away from campus and they often have flexible hours that can adapt to student schedules. Some jobs may be internships related to your course of study. These provide valuable experience and may qualify for academic credit.
When looking for an on-campus job:
- Apply with your financial aid office as soon as you arrive on campus. Vacant jobs fill quickly.
- If you're just starting college, it might be a good idea to wait at least a year before adding a job to your schedule, if you can. College is more demanding than high school and you'll want to give yourself time to adapt to those demands.
- Consider jobs with â€œperksâ€:
- Bookstore jobs with employee discounts can save you big bucks on your own books.
- Library jobs might have slow periods that give you time for study.
- Computer center jobs can give you access to resources at reduced costs.
- Working for a professor in your field can give you an academic as well as a financial boost. You also might ask if your professors know about summer jobs or paid internships in your field.
- Decide where you'd like to work on campus and, if no job openings are posted, ask about a job directly. Check back regularly for openings.
Participate in research studies
Need extra cash now and again? Watch for flyers on campus seeking volunteers for research studies. Some research-heavy departments such as psychology often pay student volunteers. Graduate students often recruit for students to participate in (and get paid for) research projects that are part of their theses. You could also contact research-heavy departments and see if you can submit your name to participate in future research projects.
You also might look for opportunities to participate in focus groups. These are structured, small group discussions of specific topics. Groups last one to three hours and participants are often given a stipend for attendance. The amount varies, but can be up to $50 or more-plus, they often serve food! Focus group sponsors have a goal for the discussion. They might want to know what you think of a particular product or advertising campaign and the group facilitator will ask specific questions to get your opinion.
Warning! Many Web sites suggest that you can earn money by taking surveys online. All you have to do is pay a small fee to register. Don't sign up without checking it out first. There are some legitimate companies that collect names and send them periodic surveys, but the pay, if any, is generally very little.
Tips for finding off-campus jobs
Some points to consider if you decide to look for an off-campus job on your own:
- Limit your work hours, at least at first. College is demanding and it can take time to adjust to the rigors of the academic workload.
- Look for flexible schedules and short shifts. Some employers want you to work overtime or work long shifts. Some change schedules to handle peak periods. These kinds of jobs could affect your class attendance and course work completion.
- Factor in transportation time and costs when considering a job offer.
- Find companies that are used to hiring college students. They may have a better understanding of your needs.
- Consider jobs with "perks":
- Jobs that let you earn tips will put more cash in your pocket.
- Restaurant jobs that provide free employee meals while on the job may reduce your own food expenses (if you aren't paying a flat rate for food on campus).
- Employee benefits such as health insurance or paid vacation time.
- Watch for help-wanted signs in windows or on store bulletin boards.
- Visit job placement centers run by your school, city, county, or state.
- Look for companies or organizations that are in the same field as your studies. Call their Human Resources Departments to see if they have any paid internships or part-time positions available.
Create your own job
Being your own boss gives you the ultimate flexibility in balancing studying and work. You can simply say "no" when you have a major test or paper coming up. Of course, you also have to get the word out about your business.
To decide what type of business you should start, ask yourself these questions: What skills do I have? What am I good at? Will people be willing to pay me for this service?
Some services you might offer:
- Pet-sitting or dog walking
- Troubleshooting computers
- Selling handmade goods such as jewelry, photography, or paintings
- Detailing cars
To let people know about your business, post flyers around campus stating your experience and contact information. School faculty and administrators may be potential customers for child-care and pet-care care services. Classmates who are struggling in a class that's easy for you can be tutoring prospects.
Determine what you'll charge by researching "going rates" in your area. Always be upfront with customers about how much you charge and when you expect to be paid. Collect the money in person or give customers an invoice for the amount due.
Keep a calendar of work and study commitments so you can keep track of-and meet-all of them. The quickest way to go out of business is to get a reputation for not doing what you say you'll do.
"I took babysitting jobs to earn extra money in college. You can pretty much do these jobs randomly, and it pays alright for some extra cash."