Top On-Campus Jobs for College Students

 Whether you need to find a job to fulfill a federal work-study requirement, or you’re looking to make extra money to get you through the semester, on-campus jobs are the ideal choice for students look for employment.

On-campus jobs are often a great choice for students looking for a part-time job. As any college student knows, life is busy enough as it is, with classes, clubs, homework, exams and extracurricular activities.

It can be difficult to balance school with a work schedule, and that balance is even harder to come by when you factor in the commute to and from work. Jobs on campus, therefore, tend to be a really good fit for college students. For one, on-campus employers tend to be more understanding about academic demands, and are used to accommodating staffing changes based on fluctuations in course load. In addition, you won't have to worry about scrambling from class in order to make it to work on time, and working on campus is a great way to meet new people. You’ll also make valuable connections with faculty and staff at your university. 

The Benefits of Working On Campus

University students talking in lounge
Tom Merton / Getty Images

When you work on campus, you don’t have to worry too much about commuting to the office, which can be especially tricky when it comes to balancing homework, studying, and of course, class time. Also, working on campus can be a great way to meet new people and make valuable connections with your college’s faculty and staff.

Here are some of the best jobs to consider.


If you’re up for the hustle-and-bustle of a college café, consider working as a barista. Not only will you likely get your daily caffeine fix, for free—a clever way to save money, especially if you tend to spend $5 a day on a latte—but you’ll also get to know the “café” regulars and meet new people, too.

In addition, the skills you'll learn as a barista, like making espresso drinks, working as a cashier, and counting change, for example, are easily translatable to other café and restaurant jobs that you might want to pursue post-graduation for extra cash.

Mail Room Attendant

Almost all college dormitories have some sort of mail room where students can receive letters and packages. Working in the mail room is a good way to meet people in your dormitory, or, if you work in another residence, it’s an excellent way to connect with peers who you might not meet otherwise.

And, since there tends to be a bit of downtime while working in the mail room, you might also be able to get some reading done or some assignments completed while you’re making money.

Library Attendant

If you can stand four- to eight- hour shifts in a hush of silence, working as a library attendant might be an ideal job for you, especially if you tend to spend lots of your time in the library to begin with. Library attendants generally have the responsibility of maintaining an environment conducive to work: making sure students aren’t talking loudly, or being disruptive with food or drinks, for example.

Also, most library attendants are able to get their own school work done while getting paid to oversee the library.

Teaching Assistant

Most colleges and universities hire undergraduates or graduate students to work as teaching assistants, in fields as wide-ranging as journalism, mathematics, physics, and biology. If you’ve performed especially well in one class or have a relationship with a professor, inquire about the possibility to apply to be a teaching assistant.

Although some TAs are required to host their own seminars or discussions for students enrolled in larger lectures, in other case, their responsibilities are limited to proctoring exams and grading papers.

Administrative Assistant

There's a ton of tasks to be done on a college campus: phone calls to be made, papers to be filed, emails to be answered, just to name a few. Many academic departments hire student administrative assistants at the beginning of each semester, so check in early to see if there's an open spot.

You might also want to ask about job openings at your school's staff offices, like its career services, student services or registrar, human resources, or information technology center, for example.

Research Assistant

Many departments recruit paid research assistants. Not all research is in hard science, though. You may be able to find a job doing background research for English, history, psychology or sociology. While not all research assistantships are paid hourly, many come with a stipend. Either way, a position like this also gives you research skills to strengthen your resume.

While looking up research jobs, you might also find opportunities to participate in research studies, too. This can be a fun (and interesting!) way to make cash on the side.

Campus Ambassador

Many corporate companies, from Google to Red Bull, Zip Car to Monster, hire students to act as 'student ambassadors,' spreading the word about their product or service on campus. If you're outgoing and like to interact with people, this can be a really fun job, and might also come with perks like discounts or freebies.

Companies usually post these types of opportunities on Craigslist, but check with your college career services office, too.

Fitness Class Instructor

Your college's campus gym probably offers group fitness classes like yoga, pilates, kickboxing, cycling, or boxing. If you have the skills (or, if you're a certified instructor) teaching a fitness class is the ideal way to stay in shape, meet like-minded students, and make money.

Peer Tutor

If you're strong in a particular subject, why not tutor your peers to make some cash? If your university has an educational resource center, there may be a formal tutoring position you can apply for. Or, you can put up a flyer and advertise your services. Also, colleges with strong athletic programs usually recruit tutors to work with athletes.

There are also many online tutoring jobs available, and most of these have flexible hours.

Resident Assistant

 While you often have to apply in advance to be a resident assistant, the position is one that comes with a huge perk: free housing. Although you're responsible for overseeing your residents' safety and organizing the occasional floor meeting or group outing, otherwise, the job isn't too demanding, and can save you a ton of money each semester.

Social Media Assistant

Are you a social media maven? As social media becomes more and more important, colleges are trying to keep up with the latest social media trends. Who better to tap into than students who are social media experts without even trying? Your college's marketing department, as well as its different offices, departments, and services, might be looking to pay a student to assist with social media.


Lifeguarding is an occupation that many teenagers take up in high school, so it makes sense to continue working as a lifeguard through college. But, even if you don't attend college in an area that is blessed with warm weather all year-round, you can explore opportunities to lifeguard at your campus' indoor swimming or diving pool.

Student Production Assistant

If you check your college's campus activity calendar, you'll likely see a multitude of different events, from comedy shows, to dance productions, to trivia nights, to karaoke or open mic. All of these require technical services like lighting and sound, and many colleges employ student-run organizations to provide these services. It's a great way to get to check out events for free, too.

Campus Tour Guide

Do you love your school? Know the ins-and-outs of your campus? Want to spend time on your feet, discussing what's so great about your college? If so, consider applying for a job as a campus tour guide.

Although it's a position that requires a ton of energy it can be fun to engage with potential students, and it's a great fit for college students who are extroverted and energetic.

Event Caterer

Most colleges and universities have their own catering company to provide for alumni events, networking nights, matriculation and graduation ceremonies, and admissions events that are on campus. Check in with your college's dining services to see if there any opportunities for work.

These types of jobs often come with the perk of free food and the chance to meet important people associated with your college.

Find a College Job

Ready to start a job search for that perfect campus job? Here are tips for finding student jobs.

Top 10 Tips for Finding a Campus Job

1. Brainstorm about what you want to do. Think about what skills you have that you could put to use on campus. Were you a lifeguard in high school? Consider working at your university's fitness center, staffing the indoor pool. Did you have a summer job as a barista? Try working at your campus coffee shop. Have you worked at a restaurant? Consider your college dining hall.

2. Don't ignore your resume. Just because you're looking for a job on campus doesn't give you an excuse to let your resume slide. Treat the position as you would any formal job opportunity, and make sure your cover letter and resume are spic and span.

3. Check your college's job board. Many colleges have online databases where they list job openings for students. Some have a specific section dedicated to on-campus jobs. Make sure you take advantage of these listings. If you're eligible for the federal work-study program, check to see what jobs are available.

4. Don't be afraid to ask, "How'd you get your job?" Make use of your peers. If you have any friends who work on campus, see if there are any openings at their workplaces. Ask if they can connect you with a manager or supervisor who would be willing to take a look at your resume. If you see an acquaintance working somewhere you'd like to work - like the campus Starbucks, for example, or in the dining hall - don't be afraid to ask if their workplace is hiring.

5. Network with professors. If you do well in a class or have forged a positive relationship with one of your professors, you can ask if their academic department is hiring an administrative assistant, or even if the professor themselves is looking for a teaching assistant or exam grader, for example.

6. Don't ignore those cork boards. From the campus student center, to dorms and dining halls, there are plenty of places where people put up flyers. Sometimes, these might be advertising open positions on campus, so make sure you take a gander next time you walk by.

7. Put up your own flyers. If you're highly skilled in a particular subject, like mathematics or physics, or if you are bilingual and able to tutor students who are taking a foreign language, you might be able to put these talents to use. Consider putting up a flyer of your own to advertise your skills.

8. Stop by Career Services. Your college's Career Services is a valuable resource that you should definitely take advantage of. Not only can the office help you clean up or craft a winning resume, but they will also know about the employment opportunities on campus.

9. Think long-term. Not all on-campus jobs are easy to come by, but if you put in the right amount of planning and effort, you might be able to land yourself a stellar position. For example, although the hiring process to become a resident assistant in a dormitory is an extended one, the perks (free housing, for example) are enormous. Keep your eyes and ears open for these types of opportunities.

10. Check Craigslist and other job searching sites. Sometimes, companies post jobs that might not be directly linked to the university, but still take place on campus. For example, corporate companies like Google, Red Bull, and ZipCar often hire "campus ambassadors" to spread the word about their product or services on campus. In addition, advocacy organizations like Planned Parenthood, the Human Rights Campaign, and Greenpeace are just a few who hire students to flyer on college campuses.

If you don't find a position on campus that's a match, consider these online jobs for students which should fit almost anyone's schedule.