5 Part-Time Jobs College Students Want Most

By Melody Chi on February 23, 2015

Movies might portray college as a time of wild partying and all-nighters, but the truth is that college students have to pay rent just like the rest of us. How do they do that? By working part-time, of course!

Image via Mays Business School on flickr.com

In fact, according to the American Association of University Professors, 45 percent of undergraduates who attended college full-time worked while enrolled, and the figure skyrockets to 80 percent when the undergraduates attended college part-time.

But how do students decide which jobs to pick, you ask?

Well, that’s exactly what I inquired of actual current or former college students. In no particular order, the following are the five part-time jobs they declared they look for the most.

1.) Barista

Here’s a scenario you see too many times to count: you walk up to the counter at any Starbucks and see you’re being served by a young twenty-something you know just by looking is in college.

Why is that?

Image via http://upload.wikimedia.org

Because a Starbucks barista position comes with competitive benefits (especially for students) that can’t be beat by many other part-time jobs. For instance, Starbucks offers full tuition reimbursement for student workers pursuing their Bachelor’s degree online at Arizona State University.

As if that wasn’t enough, Starbucks also grants even part-time employees health coverage, income protection, time off, and a 401(k) savings plan. (You can find more details about those benefits here.)

All of this combined makes for one very attractive job for college students.

2.) Campus Worker

This is a catch-all category that refers to most of the positions one’s university hires students for. Some examples of common campus jobs include: resident advisor, food service worker, campus tour guide, campus events planner, recreation center/gymnasium attendant and financial aid consultant.

College students consistently pursue these occupations because of the flexible schedules that are offered, the convenient location (essentially, on campus and therefore near classes), and the relatively high number of positions available for students.

Image via http://upload.wikimedia.org

In comparison, non-campus jobs typically require at least a little commuting and a rigid timetable that may not mesh well with a student’s course schedule, which can be separated into chunks throughout the day and thus necessitate staying on campus until late. Non-campus jobs also do not tend to hire as many university students as a college can employ.

Therefore, until off-campus jobs can offer more flexibility, availability, and convenience, on-campus positions will continue to be the more popular choice.

3.) Office/Administrative Assistant

There’s no doubt about it: you see almost as many college office workers as you do college-age baristas. However, an office assistant position offers benefits of a different kind than a coffee shop does.

Image via http://upload.wikimedia.org

Students are so eager to gain experience working at an office simply because many of them will do so in some position or another after college. Snatching up experience to put on their resumes while at university can make the difference between getting that post-grad job or being relegated to the job search mill for another six months.

It’s also true that there are more entry-level administrative assistant or receptionist positions than there are, for instance, entry-level pharmacist positions, so this makes office assistant occupations more popular and approachable for students.

4.) Summer School/Summer Camp Tutor

College is an excellent time for students to squeeze in some teaching experience if they want to pursue an education career in the future, and summer is the prime time to schedule this tutoring that’s sometimes too hefty to fit into a university student’s regular academic year.

One job that allows for a maximum of social and academic experiences is summer school counselor. Students can help teach all grade levels, from elementary school to high school, so there is a plethora of experience to put on a resume.

What’s even more attractive is that these positions are more entry-level than not, so students don’t need to have taken many previous courses or have had formal training prior to applying. This also means that students can perform these jobs simply for money and don’t have to necessarily be pursuing a related career.

Here’s one more fact of life: college students will work mostly any job if it can get them abroad for cheap or free. That’s where the position of summer camp tutor can again come in.

Image via https://c2.staticflickr.com

For instance, I spoke with University of California, Davis alumnus Adriana Blair about her experience with the organization Camp Adventure, which places “college students and recent graduates in … programs on U.S. military bases, British garrisons and some U.S. embassies in Europe and Asia.”

With Camp Adventure, she worked as an elementary school summer camp tutor on a U.S. military base in Japan.

She plainly admitted that being able to go abroad mostly for free was her “biggest motivation” for becoming a summer camp counselor, because “[she] knew [she] didn’t have the financial aid to study abroad, and [she] wanted to travel.”

Blair’s opinion appears to reflect the feelings of most college students when it comes to pursuing positions that will take them abroad, and summer camp tutor is one of the most wanted positions that does so.

5.) College Entry Counselor

This is somewhat similar to the summer school tutor position, but instead is focused on teaching high school students about college and helping them choose which college to attend.

Like the campus worker positions I mentioned (#2 on this list), this job is relatively entry-level and so is perfect for college students.

Image via http://upload.wikimedia.org

It’s also a prime job for university students because they can incorporate their personal college experiences into the advice they give to their high school student clients.

So, while being a college entry counselor might not come with as many benefits as being a summer camp tutor does, this job is still in high demand.

By Melody Chi

Uloop Writer
UC Davis
Hello, I'm Melody! I am a recent graduate of UC Davis and a new Uloop writer. My excitement over writing for such a wonderful company is only eclipsed by my love of tea, reading, and snowboarding.

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