the majority of post-secondary students (57%) say they plan to work during the school year in order to help pay the bills. Faced with rising tuition fees and living costs, working part-time is quickly becoming a necessity for students.
Balancing full-time studies and part-time work is a significant challenge. More often than not, it requires finding work in the evenings or on weekends.
Best Part Time Jobs for University/College Students
1) Work Study/Work Learn
Most universities and colleges offer some type of work-study scheme, where the school finds a suitable work placement, usually within the school itself, and subsidizes a portion of the student’s wages. This is an ideal way for students to enhance their educational experience while paying for rent, food, and fun. It also helps students get more involved in the campus community, gain career-related skills and work experience, and contribute to their faculty’s or department’s programs and services.
Work Study/Work Learn can be a great way to get a foot in the door in your field of study, work with grad students and professors, and most programs emphasize compatibility with student schedules; often including a policy of limited hours per week.
2) Work for the University/College
Students who can’t find a suitable work-study placement may find the next best thing is working for the school itself. If you can’t find a research or lab assistant position, the bookstore, campus food services, libraries, student unions and faculties often have entry-level jobs for students. Again, working for your school is compatible with your schedule, and campus employers are likely to be understanding about your limitations and priorities.
Check the Human Resources section of the University website regularly for campus job postings.
While the temporary employment rate has dropped since 2006, there are still many part-time options for students outside of the academic world. Coffee shops, nightclubs, and retail all offer opportunities for part-time work, but most often need staff at times when students are in class. Restaurants, however, offer a schedule that can be suitable for student life. Shifts in the evening, or for weekend brunch, jive with classes during the day. Serving and bartending builds interpersonal skills and provides valuable customer service experience. Whereas cooking or dishwashing often includes free meals, which is a huge bonus for the starving student, and the collegial atmosphere of the kitchen can be a welcome break from the academic world.
4) Hard Labour
Keeping in shape, working outdoors and making a higher hourly wage than the coffee shop are all attractions of working manual labour. Landscaping, painting, light construction and maintenance jobs all offer a chance to put your body to work, but the perils of physically demanding work include being too tired to study. If the employer is flexible, you may find weekend hours cutting lawns or swinging a hammer, but hard labour is more suitable for the summer than the school year.
5) Get Creative
Many students utilize a creative pursuit as a way to unwind. So why not make a bit of cash, while also releasing some school tension? Playing gigs, slam poetry, paint, write online content, make crafts and sell them at the Christmas craft fair (every SUB has one). Many creative outlets can provide a modest income, but be aware that it does take work. The important thing is to avoid putting big money up front and to go into it with the attitude that the experience is as much about getting some creative time as it is about making cash.
Keep Your Priorities
Whatever part-time job you choose, it is vital you remain honest with yourself and your employer as to your limitations and priorities, in order to avoid burnout. The RBC/Ipsos Reid survey found that 77% of students who were working part-time expected their grades to be negatively impacted, and student life can be stressful enough without being overworked. Set a reasonable limit to how many hours per week you can work (10-16 is probably enough), and remember you are a student first.