Alternatives to Waiting Tables in College
If you are like most college students, you have probably found that you face limited options when it comes to working while in school. This could be due to several factors, including balancing work with a school schedule, inadequate access to transportation, and a lack of experience.
But predominantly, you probably have a very restricted time frame to devote to employment, between classes and studying (and let’s face it, pounding Red Bull can only get you so far and then you need some sleep). Unfortunately, this means that you suffer the same fate as most of our nation’s brightest minds, which is to say, you are stuck spending four years waiting tables, slinging greasy fast food, or competing for campus jobs. However, if you made it to college in the first place, chances are you have more options than you realize.
Here are a few alternatives to the food service industry that you may not have considered (or even heard of).
Tutoring is something that almost any college student can do. You may be good at math, science, English, foreign languages, or all of the above. You may play an instrument. Any of these interests or talents can equal money if you market yourself right. And if you have afternoons, evenings, or weekends free, there are younger students who need your help. There are businesses that specialize in tutoring, such as Sylvan Learning Center (all subjects) and The Princeton Review (SAT and other test preparation), but you can also offer your services at local schools by posting a flyer with your availability, rates, and contact information.
Care-giving may be another good option. Besides becoming a part-time nanny (or manny), most care-giver organizations also offer elderly care (or companionship) and pet-care positions (pet-sitters, dog-walkers, etc.), as well as placing house-sitters. How great would it be to get paid for living in (and caring for) someone else’s vacation home for ten months out of the year?! Just be aware that for these types of positions, you will probably have to provide great references.
3. Online Work
You can also find work online. ODesk is a great website for people with skills who want to set their own schedule. Do you like to write? Or are you tech savvy? Maybe you have a flair for website design and development. ODesk is basically an open forum for companies seeking services, and contractors looking for work. You simply create a profile (which can include samples of your work) and start shopping for jobs.
Once you take the patented ODesk test, you can apply for as many jobs as you want (until you pass the test, you only get two apps a week). And then you either get paid by the hour (ODesk has a unique computer-based time tracker to show employers you are working all the hours you claim and to make sure you get paid for the time you work), or you accept an offered flat rate. Elance is another website, like ODesk, that caters to companies seeking freelance workers. It doesn’t offer the time tracker option to ensure payment for time worked, but it still allows you to browse a multitude of jobs from the comfort of your own home (or dorm). And both sights offer payment options like PayPal and direct deposit.