Most students these days find themselves working while in college. A recent study indicated that over 43 percent of all full-time undergraduate students and 81 percent of part-time students had some sort of job while they were in school. For many students, working while pursuing their college degrees may be a necessity. This work may also be a useful tool and great way to start as well, providing invaluable experience and connections that help students succeed when they enter the workforce later on. However, too much work can do more harm than good; another study indicated that students who worked more than 15 hours per week while in college tended to have lower grades than those who worked less.
Before identifying the best jobs for college students with little to no work experience, it is important to understand why college students actually have jobs at all. After all, pursuing an undergraduate or advanced degree can be an arduous task, requiring students to attend classes and spend many more hours out of the classroom reading, studying, and doing homework; all of that is a job in itself. Nonetheless, most students add jobs to their academic workload as well. Here are the top reasons students work while enrolled in college.
One of the top reasons college students search for work is a simple necessity to get one. Many people who are attending college have to support themselves; in addition to paying for tuition and books, they often have to cover all of their living expenses and bills like car loans and gas; many students have to pay student loans as well. In short, a significant number of college students simply must work in order to pursue their degrees.
College students also work to gain invaluable professional experience. College students often seek job assignments in their desired career fields, which helps build out their resumes while still in school. In some cases, working in a job related to what a student is studying may also enable him or her to get the vital skills or certifications required to successfully pursue a profession following graduation as well.
Working while in college often allows students to make critical social connections that may enable them to succeed long after their studies are complete. While working, students may meet mentors to give them critical career advice, future employers, or peers with whom they can collaborate on entrepreneurial projects in their post-academic life.
Here is a look at some of the top jobs that college students can pursue to meet these three work objectives.
Today more than ever before, people are relying heavily on the gig economy to make ends meet. It is no surprise that college students have enthusiastically embraced the gig economy, and for a good reason. Working as a freelancer offers many benefits to people who are pursuing college degrees. Some of the most common freelance opportunities for college students:
Most of these job opportunities in the gig economy enable college students to work when they want, allowing them to have flexible hours. Most of these freelance jobs pay decently as well. However, in most cases, there will be little to no opportunities to gain critical job experience in a chosen career field, and it may not be possible for students to expand their professional networks in freelance jobs, either.
Many colleges and universities are affiliated with businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations that offer internships or periods of work experience outside of the academic environment. While this arrangement is most frequently associated with the medical profession, businesses and other fields increasingly make use of internships as well now and seek interns to work in their organizations for limited periods of time.
Working as an intern can provide college students some great opportunities. Internships can provide tremendous experience in a chosen career field which a student could never get in a classroom alone. Internships may also enable college students to expand their professional social networks and even turn an internship into a full-time job once the student finishes college. However, many internships are competitive, and students may not be able to qualify or get accepted to the programs they desire. Additionally, internships are often limited in time and do not pay a great deal, so students concerned about their finances may have to consider other options.
Another popular job for college students is working as a tutor. Many academic departments have some sort of tutoring program to assist people who are in need of assistance with courses and subject material. Additionally, many students with good grades also moonlight as tutors on their own and help fellow students (for a fee) get a firmer grip on challenging topics or get across the finish line when it comes to passing classes.
Tutoring can usually be done on campus or virtually, so it makes great logistic sense for students to work helping other students; there is no real travel required in most cases. Working as a tutor can also be a great way to network with key members of an academic department and other students as well. However, tutoring often doesn’t pay that much and does not really give students the work experience they will need to have a competitive edge upon graduation. Finally, students without a stellar academic record will not likely have an opportunity to work as tutors, either.
Working as a customer service representative for a company or other organization can also be a great fit for college students. Customer service reps assist customers with questions or problems they have with companies’ products or services. While some customer service reps may be on site, in many more cases, they will work over the phone; some college students may even be able to do this work remotely, from their home or dorm room.
Working as a customer service representative can build college students’ interpersonal and communication skills, something that will serve them well in future endeavors. In many cases, these jobs have flexible hours and enable students to earn money without even leaving their dorms. The pay is normally decent for this kind of work, especially when compared to other options. However, there will be limited opportunities for college students to network or gain direct work experience from a job as a customer service representative.
When it comes to the best jobs for college students with no experience, students should strive to find a job that best fits their needs, goals, and academic schedules. They should also ensure they balance work with their studies so that earning money and building work experience does not cause their GPAs to suffer. Students who put the time and effort into finding a job that meets their needs in this manner will put themselves in a better position financially and academically and will be ready for whatever comes next.