Best Work Study Jobs on Campus

Hey there ambitious students!

Ready to make money in college?

If you receive financial aid and get Federal Work Study, you can pick up some of the sweetest jobs on campus.

But I'm not here to just show you how to get a boring old campus job that pays you minimum wage. I'm going to tell you about the best jobs on campus - the jobs where you can build your career capital and the jobs where you can have time to study or catch up on your reading.

Who else wants to get paid to study?

The sweetest job I had in college was as library security. I literally sat at a desk, doing the reading for my next class, looking up occasionally as someone walked through the door. I answered maybe 5 questions from tourists per month. And that was mostly it. For me, that was enough. I just wanted a little income and time to do my studying so I wouldn't have to do it outside of class. I was basically being paid to do school work.

A lot of work study jobs can help you get a leg up on employment down the line. Research and lab assistants develop a deeper understanding of material and earn hands-on experience that translates into value.

This list of the best work study jobs includes both those jobs that feel like you're just getting paid to study, and those that will help you build career capital and further your academic powers.

I needed a relaxing job that let me complete assignments while I worked, because I wanted more free time outside of class. You may feel the same way and seek out those jobs that require little to no brain power, just a butt in a chair.

Or you may want to increase your value right away and go for those jobs that will help you advance your career skills.

These principles apply to any job/internship you go after in college. Work study simply means that the government pays for part of your hourly rate, so some employers (like Universities) choose to only offer work study jobs.

For those of you who aren't eligible for work study, sign up for the email list and get notified when I post about the best jobs to have in college (that aren't work study).

 

How do you get work study?

To find out if you're eligible for work study you first have to find out if you're eligible for financial aid. Submit a FAFSA and then check out your award letter. Tip: You have to meet the priority deadline for filing the FAFA (if you go to their website you'll find it). Work study goes to students with the highest priority and the funds are limited (though to note, I've never been turned down or known anyone who has).

How much can you make?

Expect to make anywhere from $11 - $20 per hour. You're not going to be rolling in the money, but this is a value jump, not a get rich quick scheme. Once you gain the experience from the right work study positions you can leverage your career capital for a better job and higher pay.

The key is to choose jobs that aren't terribly demanding, but that teach you a high value skill, so that you can continue to succeed in school with top grades.

Right!

Now let's get into the good stuff!

The Best Work Study Jobs on Campus

These are just a few examples of awesome work study jobs. Check your school's work study site to find out just how much you can do with work study! (Why did I use work study so many times in that sentence??)

Tutor

All college campuses have tutoring/resource centers where you can get help in a variety of subjects. Math and English are the two staple subjects, so if you have A's in your Math or English classes, you're usually eligible to tutor these subjects. Typically, you need an overall GPA that doesn't suck (to be honest, most tutoring positions set a surprisingly low bar for their requirements) and you need to have completed the course with a B or higher in which you're trying to tutor.

Why this is a great job:

Out in the real world, tutors make anywhere from $50/hr to $250/hr, depending on the subject they teach and their level of proficiency. Bottom line, you can make a TON of money tutoring for just a few hours a day, freeing you up to focus on other things instead of working a grinding 8 hours.

Skills you learn:

How to teach and how to communicate effectively go hand in hand. Great tutorscan assess a students strengths and weaknesses and use that information to adapt their teaching style. By becoming a tutor, not only are you on the way to mastering a subject, you're deepening your ability to communicate difficult ideas. This is an incredibly valuable skill for your future career.

Library Security or Gym Desk

Want to do your homework and get paid? Finding a job that has little to no actual work involved is the way to go. With Library Security or by working the desk at your college gym, you'll hardly have to look up from the book reading to check people in. This is a great job for those of you who want a little extra money and a little extra time you don't have to spend on your school work.

Why this is a great job:

There are many positions in the library that can lead to further opportunities. While security or the gym desk might not be the most impressive line on your resume, getting to know the top people on staff in the library or trainers at the gym may be your ticket to a higher position. From library security I was asked to work in Graduate Services, the cushest of library jobs (you get to hobnob with hardworking graduates while doing your own assignments.) If you have an aptitude for networking and seizing opportunity, this can be a lucrative and door-opening position.

Skills you learn:

Well, it's not like you're going to be learning many skills if you're not doing much work, but that's kind of the point of this type of job. The real skill you learn here is how to leverage your position so that you can spend time learning the skills you want to. Not all desk workers get referred to better positions. You have to be able to befriend the right kind of people here - an incredibly valuable skill for the working world.

Research Assistant/Teaching Assistant

There are research assistant positions for almost any department you can think of -- photography, biology, English, computer science...the list goes on.

With the sciences you can count on helping answer questions in labs and grading assignments. It's like being a tutor, but you work closely with the professor, and if you're really good this can lead to more responsibilities and future positions (like getting asked to actually work on ground-breaking research with your professor!)

Why this is a great job:

As a research assistant you will certainly learn the coursework on a deeper level and embark on the path of becoming an expert. It's a quick funnel into more serious research work if you prove yourself worthy.

Plus, working closely with your professor increases the likelihood you will become friends, and professors as friends equals a lot of great perks, like scholarship nominations, excellent references, and better grades.

Skills you learn:

Even if most of your time is spent paper shuffling, you're still learning some behind-the-scenes actions of professors. If you want to go into academia or are interested in research in the sciences or humanities, this job will open quite a few doors for you. With this path, you're not only developing your abilities as a student, you're setting yourself up for success with grad school and your career.

Teach English Abroad

Want to get paid to travel? Some schools are set up to pay you through work study to take a semester and teach English in places like Korea, Japan, and Germany. All you really need for this job is patience, a professional attitude, and a willingness to immerse yourself in a new culture.

Why this is a great job:

Uh, free travel!! Usually Teach English Abroad jobs pay you well over what you'll need to live in a given country (this is a thing to check for when applying) so you can have a really great time traveling and make some money to bring back with you. You can start learning a new language, or if you already know a bit of your host country's language, you can build those skills with language immersion.

Skills you learn:

Language learning aside, you gain a bit of experience as a teacher. You also learn a lot of essential life lessons when you're living abroad. Many employers love to learn that people have traveled while in school, because they know how important the interpersonal skills are that you learn when dealing with an unfamiliar place and its people.

Art Gallery/Museum/Film/Dance Attendant

Into the arts? Further your knowledge and get access to sold-out performances by working for the art, museum, film, or dance department.

Why this is a great job:

Free performances! Not to mention a chance to meet speakers who come to present at a screening, performance, or exhibit. You get hands-on experience working in a field rich with stars - and you can certainly learn a thing or two about how to become great at what you do by hanging out with the elite.

Skills you learn:

I like to call it "making friends," some people call it networking. This is one of the best arenas to use your people skills and make friends with some of the worlds greatest artists.

If you're on the shy side, this is a great position to sink into more esoteric pursuits, like exploring the film archive or museum holdings. Gain a deeper understanding of art history and theory and rack up a storehouse of knowledge about the best performers and art productions of all time.


Well my friends, this is just a taste of what your school may have to offer. Don't waste your time on a job that won't build your career capital. Money's all well and good, but you can earn money AND set yourself up to earn MORE of it down the line.

Here's an action item for all you ambitious students! Find your school's work study page and check out the jobs in the areas you're interested in.

I'm going to follow up soon with a post about how to land your dream job in college, so stick around!

If you'd like to be the first to know when this post drops, sign up here and get access to some of my very best tips and tricks for becoming a rare and valuable asset in college.

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Did I miss a job you think needs to be on the list? Comment below and let me know!

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