How To Find a University Job While Going to School

It can be stressful trying to find a job when you're first starting college but don't worry; there are a lot of jobs available to students! There are usually a lot of "desk jobs" on college campuses that allow students to do homework while they're on the clock. ⌚

In this article, we'll go over the kinds of jobs most campuses have, what these jobs are like, and how to find out who's hiring on your campus! 🤩

Spot the Difference: Work Study vs. Non-Work Study Jobs! ✏️

When looking for an on-campus job, the first thing you should know is about work-study eligibility. There are two kinds of jobs available for students on campus; work-study jobs and non-work study jobs. 🕴

  • Work-study jobs are reserved for students whose families make under a certain income each year. Only work-study eligible students can apply for and work at these jobs.  
  • Non-work-study jobs are jobs that any student (work-study eligible or not) can apply for.

You have to fill out the FAFSA each year to know if you are work-study eligible. Once you have completed your FAFSA, it will tell you if you are work-study eligible or not (based on your family’s income). ❓

If you are work-study eligible, that can be helpful because you can apply for any job on campus! If you’re not work-study eligible, don’t worry because there are tons of non-work study jobs on campus that you can apply for too! ✅

GIF courtesy of Giphy

Where you Can Get a Job 🏢

If you haven’t lived on campus before, knowing what offices/programs/buildings may hire students on-campus can be hard. While each college is different, here’s a general list of familiar places on college campuses that have student workers: 📝

  • Dining Halls/Restaurants/Cafes (any place selling food)
  • Library
  • Fitness Center
  • Residential Life Office/Dorms
  • Being an RA
  • Tutoring Center
  • TA
  • Research
  • Public Safety
  • Student Events Offices/Campus Life/Activities Office
  • Tour guide/Admissions Office
  • Other Specific Offices (these vary by campus)

What Are Each of These Jobs Like? 🚗

Which of these kinds of jobs should you look for? Most of the time it’s best to work a job that you can do homework at, or a job related to your major. To get a better idea of which jobs you may want to apply for, here’s an overview of what some of the most common jobs on campus look like… 👍

Dining Halls/Restaurants/Cafes (any place selling food) 🍎

Any place where food is sold on campus will most likely employ students. Typically student employees will work as cashiers, in dish rooms, as servers, or helping out with food served at events. The best kind of foodservice job on campus typically involves you working the register as a cashier. 💰

Some colleges have small stores or cafes that sell food, and the students that work as the cashiers there are allowed to work on homework when there aren’t any customers. Always try to get a job where you can work on homework or something related to your classes first because you’ll have a lot more out-of-class work in college than you did in high school! ⚠

Library 📚

College libraries are another place where you can find students working on pretty much any campus. Working at a library is another kind of desk job where you typically can do homework while you're on the clock. 📚

Students who work in libraries may help put away books, check out books, or set up other library events. Typically, there's always a student sitting behind the library's main desk doing homework, and that's a great job if you can get it. 🪑

Fitness Center 💪

Another potential desk job is working at a fitness center. Many campuses have a gym or fitness center on campus, and there are usually students working at the front desk of that space. There’s a wide range of tasks student employees may need to do while working at a fitness center, but there’s typically one student always working the front desk, and that’s another excellent job that will pay you to do homework. 🔊

Residential Life Office/Dorms 🏡

Some residential buildings on campus will hire students to help with cleaning and other work. This job isn’t as great as some other desk jobs because you most likely won’t be able to do your homework at work, but it can be a good job option if you can’t find another job! 🧹

Being an RA 😊

Arguably one of the best jobs on a college campus is being a Residential Advisor (or RA). RA's live in on-campus housing (typically dorms) and are in charge of the floor that they live on. They coordinate activities to help their floor bond, call in case residents need help, and assist in conflict resolution between roommates. Many colleges give RAs free room and board, which means they do not have to pay for their dorm room or they're on a campus meal plan. 🎇

Being an RA is a lot of work; it typically requires you to start the school year a little early to go through training, and you have to have lived on campus before applying. However, RAs can typically have another on-campus job if they would like, they save a ton of money, and they get to have a positive impact on the other students living on their floor! 😁

Tutoring Center 🧠

Most college campuses have a tutoring center that runs tutor lead study groups and one-on-one tutoring (extremely helpful and already included in your student fees). Students who have taken a tough class before get hired as tutors. Then, they help groups or individual students with practice problems, homework assignments, papers, projects, and any questions the students might have.

You would have to be at least a semester into college to apply for (you need to have taken a class at your college and do well in it before becoming a tutor for that class). This job can give you fantastic experience in the field you are studying, especially if you're going to school to become a teacher. It is also a beneficial resource for all students, so you are doing a lot of incredible work if you work for your college’s tutoring center! 🎓

Tech Help Desk 💻

Many campuses also have some sort of IT help desk either in their library, in a student services building, or some other location. If you’re studying computer science or are just particularly techy, this might be the perfect job for you! This is also typically a desk job where you can work on your homework while you wait for students to come in and ask you questions, which is an advantage. 💯

GIF courtesy of Giphy

TA 📓

Another job that can give you experience for your future career is being a Teacher’s Assistant (or TA). In science courses, TAs typically set up lab equipment and help students with lab activities. TAs may also help grade coursework or do other jobs to help professors. You usually need to have already successfully taken a course before you're eligible to TA for it.


One terrific way to potentially get paid is to research with a professor. Undergraduate research is primarily unpaid, but sometimes you can apply for stipends or funding to do undergrad research that will pay you for your work! 💵

To get involved in undergraduate research, you typically have to talk to a professor and see if you can research with them. Professors have research projects that they work on and sometimes have spots for students to get experience by doing part of the research. 👌

Student Events Offices/Campus Life/Activities Office 🎉

Most colleges have a student activities office that runs events that happen on campus! Usually, these offices hire student workers to help set up for events, work events, and/or work at a front desk. 🎈

Tour Guide/Admissions Office 🏛

All colleges have some sort of admissions office that includes tour guides! Welcome/Admissions Offices typically hire current students to give tours to prospective students. Tour guides are trained to show high school students the different buildings on campus and give them a positive view of the school. 🔭

Student Government/Stipend Positions 🗣

This may not be the case at all colleges, but leadership positions in student government come with a stipend at some colleges. Some student leaders in government get paid a certain amount of money for working in that position. There may also be other student positions with stipends, but this depends on the job and the college's policies. 🔨

Specific Offices 👈

Every college has a lot of different offices that may have open positions for students. Depending on your campus, there are probably a lot of various offices not listed in this article that employ students. Students may work in resources or operations on campus, for a public safety office, with an academic division, or a wide variety of other places. 😱

Finding these kinds of jobs comes down to talking to people on campus to find out what opportunities exist. Some of these jobs may also be listed on your college’s website, so check that out as well. 👓

How to Find the Jobs that are on Your Campus 💰

Now that you have an idea of what jobs might be out there, how do you figure out what jobs your college has? The first way to hear about on-campus jobs is to just talk to people. If you know of someone who has a job on campus, ask them how they got it and if they know of anywhere that’s hiring. Many colleges also have a student help desk or resources center, which are other great places you can get help finding a job! 🗣

Another great person to talk to about finding a job is your academic advisor. You’ll typically meet with your academic advisor once a semester, so you’ll be able to speak to them then. Even if they don’t know of any jobs, they can point you in the right direction. 🏹

A third way you’re likely to find out about jobs is bulletin boards. Keep your eyes posted for any hiring signs on bulletin boards or in common areas like dining halls, libraries, students centers, and buildings with classrooms. Don’t forget about social media as well! Follow different organizations at your college on social media, and join your campus’s Facebook group if your school has one of those. Facebook groups and other social media pages typically have a lot of postings about job openings. Additionally, check out your school’s website for job listings. 🌐

A final way to hear about jobs is to go to events and talk to the people there. Maybe you go to an event put on by your school’s activities office, and after talking to people there, you find out they’re hiring. Perhaps you attend a biology club meeting and hear there’s a need for biology TAs. There’s no guarantee that you’ll find a job by going to any specific event, but the more you go to events and the more people you meet, the more opportunities you’ll be in the know about down the road! 🌞

How can I Find a Job Related to What I’m Studying? 🔆

Talk to your academic advisor! If you’re a STEM major especially, talk to professors about research. See if there’s an office on campus that relates to what you’re majoring in or would give you the skills you need for a future job. Talk to academic advisors, one-stop student services, and your professors. 👨‍💼

GIF courtesy of Giphy

Job Application Advice 💸

Once you’ve found jobs on your campus, now all you have to do is apply! Many jobs on campus can be informal applications (just having a brief discussion with the person in charge of the job or a quick online survey), mainly because multiple places are currently short-staffed. 📧

  • If you do have to go through a formal job application process, here’s advice on creating a resume and sending emails asking about jobs/research.
  • If you are a first-year college student, your resume will be based on high school work or work you’ve done before going to college.
  • If you’re a current college student, you can include the activities and work you’ve done in college on your resume. Check out Fiveable’s Career Resources for more job application tips and tricks!

Good luck with the job hunt; you got this! Remember, it may take a little bit to find the right job on campus, so keep at it. Also, don’t be afraid to apply to multiple places and try to get the job that works best for you. 👏

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