Working Part Time in College: Four Common University Jobs



You can only cut your budget so far before you will kill yourself. So if you are a college student living on a budget, you will want to look at areas where you can earn more money. Fortunately, there are many common university jobs for students working part time in college

Note Taker

The notes that you meticulously scribe from your professor’s daily lectures could be worth more than a good grade; they might be worth money too. Many colleges solicit notes from note-takers for students with learning disabilities or lengthy illnesses. Often universities will compensate you for your time. Payments can be calculated through a per diem rate or an hourly wage for your time in your class.

If you are already going to class and taking notes, it is an easy way to make money. However, the need for note-takers depends on the class and whether or not there is a student who needs assistance.


Do you academically excel at the classes you major in? You can earn money tutoring your peers.

Colleges provide peer support for students in introductory classes. Tutors are commonly selected from the student body, but you must have a strong academic standing to be selected. Payment is in the form of hourly wages.

Tutoring requires good communication skills and patience. Most tutees are struggling in their classes, so you have to be able to modify your explanations so that the students you are tutoring can grasp concepts. If you have a passion for teaching, tutoring is a great way to gain experience.

Federal Work Study

The federal government subsidizes jobs for college students called the Federal Work Study. Those in a work study usually work various jobs across campus. Wages must be minimum wage or higher.

However, there are a number of requirements that you must meet to be eligible. You must have financial need. Also, you cannot work more than the value of your federal award. In other words, the amount of hours that can be worked and money earned is capped.

Paid Internship/Co-Operative

One of the best jobs you can find in college is a paid internship or co-operative.

Since these jobs are related to your major, universities will award you credits for working. Also, the real world experience is a significant resume enhancement. If your major is in a technical field, it may be possible to earn wages much higher than minimum wage.

Caveats to Working Part Time at College

Regardless of the hole in your budget, it is essential that you stay focused on your educational goals. Working will naturally divide your efforts and time between making money and academic achievement. It is easy to let the prospect of making money overshadow the real reason you are attending college.

Whatever you are earning while working part time at college, it is not likely to exceed the amount of money you are spending in tuition for your degree. You are spending all this money so that you will earn an even greater salary once you graduate. Do not let the prospects of earning a little money now distract you from earning much more in your career later.

Before taking on any part-time job in college, be certain that working will not impact your academics. If it does, cut back on the hours you are working.

Shaun is the author of the blog Smart Family Finance, a site dedicated to exploring the challenges of family finance; from starting a marriage to starting a family, from teaching your children about finance to helping them pick a college, from single income to multiple income. The intricate world of family finance unlocked, one post at a time.


  1. Charles says

    i worked at baskin robbins during my freshmen year in college. After getting a 2.5gpa during my first semester, i quit my job and focused on studying. i couldn’t handle working and studying at the same time.

  2. says

    Hi Shaun,
    I have to recommend being a tutor to anyone who wants to earn some extra cash. We all have at least one area that we are an expert in and why not get paid to teach it to someone else.

  3. says

    I know my fiancee worked all throughout college. I also did the same. However, when she thought she wasn’t able to juggle it all she always let work die down rather than her education. She was going to work at the writing center–helping people write their papers, but the hours did not work with her school schedule. You just have to find something that is conducive to your schedule.

    • says

      I worked full time during college, and in retrospect would probably have been better off working only part time. But it didn’t seem like a big deal at the time, since my job gave me plenty of time to work on school work in between calls. You have some good suggestions for part time jobs :)

      • says

        I mostly worked full-time during college. That is to say, of the 10 years I went to college, I worked full-time for 8.5 of those years. I would have preferred to not have had to go that route, but I’ve always sought out jobs and school schedules that would allow me to succeed at both.

      • World of Finance says

        Internships are a great way to start getting experience in your field…. once you have the degree and some experience, you are seen as more valuable to employers.

  4. says

    Excellent points. You should choose a job which doesn’t interfere with the study, the main purpose you are in college for. I see people in pizzeria around here who are local university students. Not sure how much they are able to study. The best job for a student is to get something on campus, that’s I think..

    • says

      That’s part of the reason I included these jobs. Most you can easily work your classes around. They provide flexibility and are close. But, it is important that you don’t over extend yourself.

  5. says

    I thought that I would be too busy with school and getting acclimated to university to have a job, but seeing my limited savings dwindle I realize that I have a bunch of free time that I could have been using to make money instead of killing it with time wasters like I did. I had a lot more time in my day than I thought, so even though I got good grades this year without working, I think I will be able to handle the balance of work and school next year.

  6. says

    I certainly like your caveat. While I do believe having a part-time job in college is an excellent idea and certainly goes a long way in not easing the students financial burden, they still shouldn’t get carried away by earning more at the expense of the education. As with most things in life, a healthy balance is key.

  7. says

    I think Co-OP and Intern jobs are a really good idea for students. Why not get a good bout of experience before your peers? That way you graduate with a big step ahead. It’s a win win situation. My friends all tutored.

  8. betsymuse says

    My oldest didn’t qualify for federal work study until our youngest also started college, but getting one of the better work study jobs can be difficult. She lucked out by staying in town for the summer to work an internship in a neighboring city. She responded to an ad from the university to fill another student’s FWS position for the summer in the Assistant Dean’s office. They liked her work so much, they hired her in the fall to fill the job. The other student was offered a different position without as much responsibility. As it turns out, they also had some budget outside of FWS to hire students (or others) to work in the office. These aren’t advertised hours, just padding in the budget to offer flexibility.

    So…the moral of the story is, if you get a job through federal work study, give it your best work. You might qualify for a FWS job the next semester, but you are not guaranteed the same job. Don’t treat your FWS job like it is just another paycheck.

  9. Hunter - Financially Consumed says

    I think you present some really great ideas in this article. I think it’s important to work your way through college. It teaches a whole range of skills that are missing in the classroom, but essential to successfully transitioning to the workforce after graduation.

    My last 2 years of college were ligh-on in terms of classromm hours, so I had a part-time job in a department store. The balance was fairly easy to manage. It’s great to have money as a student!

  10. says

    I totally agree. I actually did many of these. I’ve been a tutor, note taker and paid intern. I really enjoys tutoring in particluar. It did a lot to prepare me for working in my career as far as communication goes and leading.

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