How to Get a Work Study or Part-Time Job in College

by Ashley Eneriz

If you’re looking to get a part-time job in college, it’s important to find the right one. Having extra money to spend is always a plus, and there are typically many work opportunities available. However, your time “on the clock” shouldn’t come at the cost of your grades or negatively affect your college experience.

Wondering how to find the right position for you? Here are four helpful tips, as well as advice for making the most of your working hours.

1. Search for Work-Study Opportunities

If you qualify for the Federal Work Study program—which is a need-based government program granted to students through filling out the FAFSA—your school will make every effort to hire you for a position that suits you. Even if you don’t qualify for the program, you can still find on-campus gigs that fit into your schedule.

There are multiple benefits of working on campus. Not only will you be working with fellow students, but you will be serving your classmates and professors, and you’ll typically have an easier time balancing your work schedule with your school demands.

2. Check With Your School’s Job Center

Your university might have a separate place where you can look for jobs and internships available in your community. Many local businesses and alumni will post jobs with nearby colleges because they want to attract students who are interested in becoming part-time employees.

Azusa Pacific University students and grads can find postings through the APU Career Network. If your school does not offer a platform like this, see if another local university or community college provides a similar service that’s open to the public.

3. Network in Your Community

Another way to find local opportunities is to get out and about in your city. Start with the restaurants and shops you visit often and ask if they are hiring. Don’t be afraid to make friendly conversation with the cashier and manager—let them know you would love to work there. If they are not currently hiring, ask when a good time would be to come back later in the year to check again.

Don’t end your search there! Approach several businesses, getting to know the employees and owners as you go. So many students rely on online applications to get them a job, but a friendly face and solid networking can go a lot further when it comes to finding a part-time job in college.

4. Keep Your Future Career in Mind

When searching for opportunities and networking with different people, don’t forget to ask yourself, “Where do I want to work after graduation?” It’s a good idea to target businesses that relate to your chosen career path, as this can help you gain experience and make yourself known before you have your diploma in hand.

If you are pursuing a teaching degree, why not ask local schools about entry-level positions, internships, and volunteer opportunities? Similarly, health care majors can find employment, internship, or volunteer opportunities at nearby hospitals, doctor offices, or schools. No matter what degree you are working toward, you can find a matching opportunity in your area.

With an internship, you will receive valuable experience in your field—and you could get your foot in the door. Upon graduation, interns are more likely to get a full-time job offer than their non-interning competition, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers. Employers would rather promote someone who has already proven their worth than hire a completely new worker.

When it comes to finding a part-time job in college, you need to be proactive, not passive. While many great opportunities will be posted online or through your college job center, don’t let that be your only means of searching. Asking local businesses, friends, and family members if they know of potential job opportunities can lead you to positions that haven’t been advertised yet. Not to mention, you’ll polish your networking skills.