Looking to make some extra dough in a job that doesn’t involve a uniform or blue-light specials? Here are some tips on how to make some spending cash in college – and maybe even have a little fun while you’re at it!
Many people like to hire college students for babysitting, personal assistance, pet care or companionship because they know students are generally well-educated, driven and desperate for dinero.
“The benefits of babysitting over a conventional job are huge,” said Malia Mullen, 22, a senior at Central Washington University. “It gives you the flexibility of doing homework when the kids are asleep, you get to say no when you’re not free to sit, and your job is really to watch TV and play games. What could be better?”
One thing, actually: most of the time these jobs are paid off the books, saving students both taxes and the chunk of their income that many colleges automatically take before considering them for financial aid.
WORK ON CAMPUS
During the second semester of her freshman year, Gia Baker was hired to work as a teacher’s assistant in the film department at New York University, helping professors administer activities and taking charge of equipment. She liked the job so much she kept it until she graduated this January.
Baker, now 22, said one of the best things about working on campus was saving the cost, time and hassle of transportation. “Work was sometimes right across the street from my classes,” she said. “And if there wasn’t a class going on, I often had a chance to work on my homework. For a student, it’s really an ideal situation.”
Another plus: when you work for a university, your boss will likely be much more sympathetic when you need to take that day off during final exams or want to go home for spring break.
“The beauty of work study is that you suddenly become affordable to an organization that couldn’t otherwise hire you,” said Christina Alaimo, 19, a sophomore at the University Pennsylvania.
Through work study, the federal government funds a portion of undergrad and graduate student salaries in a range of different jobs. For Alaimo, it meant helping refugees relocate to the United States at Lutheran Children and Family Service in West Philadelphia.
If you’re thinking about this type of job, it’s crucial that you check the box on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) stating that you’re interested in work-study – otherwise you won’t be considered for eligibility. For more information, visit www.studentaid.ed.gov.
WORK IN YOUR FIELD OF STUDY
Ready to up the ante?
“I suggest students target companies that will give them the opportunity to use their education here in school,” said Carol Trigg, associate director of the career center at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA).
Trigg said the most lucrative positions she regularly sees posted at the university are for interns in engineering firms, where students typically perform entry-level work.
Leveraging your educational experience to perform jobs that require higher-level skills makes you more valuable to potential employers – and puts you in a better bargaining position to stretch for higher salaries. Not to mention the fact that when you graduate, you’ll have references, work experience and a possible in at the very same company.
WALK ON THE WILD SIDE
Engineering may pay the best, but Trigg said UCLA students also have fun with jobs at the zoo, coroner’s office and film sets. Hey, you only live once – and if nothing else you’ll certainly have something to e-mail home about.
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