Many students seek part-time jobs to pay for tuition, books and living expenses. With class, studying, and extracurricular activities, working a job seems like a daunting ambition, but there are ways to make good money while earning a degree.
1. Find part-time jobs on-campus.
During my undergraduate years at Syracuse University, I mentored incoming freshmen minorities on adjusting to college life.
Not only was I paid for seven hours a week, but I also enjoyed the position mightily and found it incredibly rewarding. Just last week, one of my mentees sent me a note saying she was accepted into an analyst program at The Orange Value Fund, LLC, largely because of my guidance.
The note was priceless.
Currently in graduate school at Duke University, I work as an Admissions Coordinator, Marketing & Communications Blogger and Tweeter, as well as a Strategy Research Assistant at The Fuqua School of Business.
These three jobs have provided me valuable encounters in academia and put money in my pocket for food and living expenses.
I had to keep my ears open for any opportunities that arose — many students can take advantage of Federal Work-Study.
“The biggest mistake is not taking advantage of work-study,” said Zac Bissonnette, author of DEBT-FREE U: How I Paid for an Outstanding College Education without Loans, Scholarships, or Mooching off my Parents.
“Schools give out almost twice as many work-study positions than they have available simply because they know so many kids won’t accept them.”
2. Land paid internships for the summer.
My experiences at school and entrepreneurial spirit in media culminated in a lucrative apprenticeship at JP Morgan Chase after my junior year of college. The summer is a great time to work full-time hours and put money in your bank account before a new school year starts.
“Not only will you make money through paid internships, but you’ll learn how to save too,” said Farnoosh Torabi , host of “Financially Fit” on Yahoo! Finance. “Developing these habits before you graduate will serve you better than learning them when you’re older and working your first job.”
3. Be entrepreneurial.
During college and graduate school, I held several part-time jobs on-campus and off of it.
After interning at a radio station during the summer following my first year at Syracuse, I started a little freelance business where I booked guests for business radio shows.
By my junior year, I was making enough money every month to cover rent.
At Duke, I primarily produce two radio shows, The Wall Street Shuffle and Stansberry Radio, and consult for others. I also freelance for various print publications (which pay me by article or the traffic my pieces generate).
4. Party less, work more.
There is an opportunity cost to partying.
By one account, the average undergraduate drinks for 10.2 hours each week.
If students spent half that time working at $8 per hour (after taxes and deductions), they will make nearly $1,500 per school year.
“You should obviously have fun in college, but if you treat it as an investment in your future, you’ll be proud when you look back later on,” Torabi said. “Students think too much about life today rather than five, ten, 15 years down the road and the value it could add to their personal and professional careers.”
The Time Factor
A student’s number one priority should be to excel in the classroom. Grades should never be compromised.
Through meticulous planning and time management, I’m able to spend approximately ten hours a week on my part-time work. This leaves me ample time to focus on my academics.
“Parents think kids who work jobs won’t have time to study,” Bissonnette said. “There is actually no correlation between the two.”
In conclusion, focus on building skills – not a bank account.
Then, the cash will start flowing.
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