For today’s college students, juggling part-time jobs and schoolwork is the new norm — a study from Georgetown University found that 70% of college and grad students work while attending school. Even so, student debt is soaring to record levels, with more than half of all students taking some debt to fund their education. And according to the Federal Reserve, last year, one-fifth of young adults fell behind on their loan payments. By working part time in college, you may be able to reduce the amount you need to borrow. However, for full-time students who already manage demanding coursework and life away from home, committing to even a part-time job can be a challenge. To safeguard against negative impacts on your grades, college employment advisors encourage students to pursue flexible jobs that are well-suited for the busy college student.Enter the side hustle.
Benefits of a side hustle in college
Reduce student debt: A side hustle can provide students with much-needed cash, potentially reducing their need to take on student loans, borrow money from family or rely on credit cards. Continuing your side hustle post-graduation can also help you refinance your student loans later on.Prepare for professional life: Work experience can help prepare you for your first job after graduation. Brett Ellis, a veteran career counselor who has worked with students at Kentucky State University, Georgia State University and Florida International University, points out that “having a job in college can give students insight into soft skills they’ll need in their professional lives, like collaboration, teamwork, problem-solving and conflict resolution.”Budgeting 101: Money from your side hustle can help you plan for upcoming expenses, whether that’s rent, the grocery bill, books or even spring break. Allocating income from your side hustle to fund your expenses is a great way to prepare for post-college life.Adulting: Working in the “real world” isn’t just about paying the bills. Freshly-minted college grads need to learn how to navigate office politics, work relationships and create a positive work-life balance. Improve time management: Juggling multiple tasks and responsibilities is a key component of most professional jobs. If you have a side hustle in college, you’ll be managing your work, studies and social life, so you’re gaining valuable experience in time management.How college students can find side hustlesYour school’s career services department has information on positions available both through your institution and in your community. If you’re interested in working from home, the digital economy has given rise to a number of remote positions, including blogging and working as a virtual assistant. There is also a growing number of online marketplaces to findone-time jobs, such as QuadJobs or TaskRabbit.
Here are 10 popular side hustles for college students to consider.
Child care: Busy parents need help with babysitting and tutoring, and college students can be both youthful playmates, strong role models and provide educational support. Child care jobs can be regular or occasional, depending on your schedule. Food service, catering and events: Working as a bartender or server is also a well-established college gig, and while these jobs are lucrative, the schedules and hours can be punishing. Thanks to the rise in food trucks, festivals and farmers markets, some foodie students may be able to find work in nontraditional food settings. Don’t overlook the prominence of food delivery services — Seamless and Instacart are in need of drivers for all those late-night food orders and large grocery deliveries. Small business work: With limited budgets and lean staffs, small businesses often need help with odd jobs and office work. College students, who commonly have excellent computer skills and social media abilities, can be good candidates to assist in small businesses. QuadJobs co-founder Andra Newman, whose company specializes in matching college students with one-time and part-time jobs, says 40% of QuadJob’s posted jobs come from small businesses. Helping with a small business can provide students with vital managerial and entrepreneurial experience. Brand ambassador: Since college students are social media mavens, many tech companies and young-skewing brands are eager to tap into their expertise and their networks. Companies including Red Bull, LinkedIn and Google often hire brand ambassadors on campus, Ellis said. These jobs are well-suited for students interested in marketing, advertising and PR jobs.Resident Assistant: Working on campus is a well-established path to flexible, part-time employment. Among the possibilities, Ellis says that working as a Resident Advisor in a dorm can offer both a flexible schedule and a chance to tailor your experience. RAs can pick up valuable pre-professional skills from supervising younger students and assisting with conflict resolution.Tech support: While setting up printers and modems might be second nature for tech-savvy college students, many people would gladly pay someone else to perform these tasks. These service jobs can provide some excellent experience for students interested in careers in tech and IT.Start your own business: If you have a great idea for a business, college may be the best place to launch it, Ellis said. That’s because many universities, colleges and community colleges have created entrepreneurial majors, classes and labs to nurture students’ ideas and help bring them to life. Students can take advantage of their college’s facilities, including computer labs and office space, and workshop their ideas with professors and classmates.Seasonal work: Ask any busy homeowner what they’d need help with and you’re sure to hear things like raking leaves, hanging Christmas lights or mowing the lawn. While these tasks may not directly prepare you for life after graduation, they can be great for networking with professional homeowners and parents, who can provide mentorship, guidance on internships and assist with your job search, Ellis said.Delivery/Mover: College students with access to vehicles or a willingness to haul goods can make extra cash helping with deliveries and moving. Small businesses and homeowners may have a need for these services, which could create networking possibilities and lead to full-time jobs, Newman said.Uber/Lyft drivers: Turn your stint as the designated driver into a money-making opportunity. Whether shuffling college students from late-night library sessions or celebrations at the bar, there’s always a need for reliable (and sober) drivers in college towns. With 43% of students facing rising debt costs, a side hustle can help offset your expenses, keep you on track with your studies and prepare you for life after graduation.This article was contributed by Alli Romano from Student Loan Hero.