You’ve just moved into your college dorm, and the parentals have finally left.
Or maybe you’re a seasoned college professional headed to the bars to “study.”
Either way — if you’re anything like I was — you’re strapped for money and resisting the urge to ask Mom and Dad for “a raise.”
Sure, you could become a barista, living off the tip jar. You could even work at the campus bookstore or don a hairnet and work in the dining hall.
Those are all jobs worth looking into, and ones many of us Penny Hoarders have held.
But we’re going to encourage you to think outside the box this semester. There are plenty of nontraditional, on-campus gigs to be had.
Disclaimer: These jobs will be unique to your campus. But I hope this post gives you some inspiration to scope out the scene yourself. Chances are, if you simply Google *name of college* + jobs, you’ll find something good.
8 Outside-The-Box, On-Campus Jobs For College Students
Working on campus is underrated.
During my senior year, I had two paid, on-campus gigs: I was editor of the yearbook and a tutor.
These positions allowed me to set my own hours around my class schedule. Plus, I could work between classes and the commute was, well, nonexistent.
So here are eight on-campus positions that aren’t your average college jobs.
If you miss being active and your Mother (Nature)…
Head over to your campus recreation center.
Oftentimes, campuses have rentable recreation equipment. Think: canoes, bikes, sailboats or skis. You could be responsible for renting these items out and might even get some sweet perks.
2. Become Your College Mascot
If you like to play dress up…
Nope. We aren’t going to suggest you visit the theater department, but that might be an option, too.
Instead, try on your school’s mascot uniform. Yes, you could get paid to be the beloved mascot.
One of my best friends in college was Clemson’s tiger cub. She took after her sister, who was a cougar for the College of Charleston. She auditioned and worked football, basketball and baseball games, as well as on-campus events.
What a legacy.
3. Become a Tutor
If you’re a high scorer in the academic arena…
That’s just a fancy saying for tutoring student athletes.
This was actually one of my jobs. I set my own hours — about 12 per week — and tutored athletes in English. The job could be difficult (not everyone liked English as much as I did), but it was rewarding and paid decently.
4. Work with Computers
If you’re a computer whisperer…
Because computers always crash during exam week.
Many campuses have IT centers where you can take your sad laptop for repairs. It could also be considered a therapy center for those frantic students who lost a 10-page paper.
You should probably know how to say, “Did you try turning it off and back on?”
If that doesn’t work, you might report the problem or troubleshoot the issue and resolve it before moving on to the next anxiety-riddled student. Or break the news that, well, the computer is just too darn old.
Chances are, you know where your school’s IT department is. Just stop in and ask about a job, or go on your computer for more information.
5. Drive for Work
If your friends trust you behind the wheel…
That’s a good sign because I tend to make my friends carsick.
Drive on over to your school’s transit services and ask about driving gigs. Some schools have buses from remote parking lots to campus. Others have buses and vans that run after hours. Sometimes there are even university-sponsored, late-night cabs.
These gigs tend to pay well. Oh, and I’ve heard you also get to pick the radio station. Job perks, am I right?
You’ll want to contact your school’s parking and transportation services department. You probably already dealt with them when you had to pick up your parking permit — or fight the pesky ticket you got for using a faculty spot when you were running late for that exam.
6. Work with Food
If you know your way around a cocktail party…
Sure, college campuses are full of musty classrooms and old buildings. But they’re often full of history and laced with perfectly manicured gardens.
That’s why your campus probably has an event center or hosts weddings and large parties. Many campus dining services offer catering for big events and need servers.
Hey, you might even get to rub elbows with fancy alums (#networking).
7. Work and Study Abroad
If you wish you were traveling the world instead…
Well, these students can’t coordinate their own trips across the world. Many campuses have large study abroad departments in need of assistants, graphic designers, social media gurus and even writers.
Get your foot in the plane early. Your school probably has a study abroad office on campus. If not, stop by the student affairs office. Those folks will be able to help!
8. Work in the Library
If you’re a bookworm…
Good news. You don’t have to know the Dewey Decimal system nowadays to work in a library.
Ideally, the library is the center of your campus and your life… right? You could work there as a desk assistant, archivist or even an “intralibrary loan packer.” One of our editors did that, packing and shipping requested books to other schools.
The idea here is to always think outside the box. Don’t assume you have to scoop up globs of macaroni or steam milk to make or save money in college. There are plenty of jobs on campus worth looking into — even online.
Your Turn: Did you have an interesting on-campus job in college?
Carson Kohler (@CarsonKohler) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. After recently completing graduate school, she focuses on saving money — and surviving the move back in with her parents.