Part-Time College Jobs that Pay You to Study

by Jessica Brown

Related Articles

An Inexpensive Education

Thrifty Student Life

Trouble Repaying Student Loans

Given the rising costs of tuition, most U.S. college students hold one or more part-time jobs, trying to make ends meet. Unfortunately, as the number of hours spent working increases, the amount of time available for studying decreases and grades may suffer as a result.

But savvy students know that campuses offer many part-time jobs that effectively pay students to study. The trick is knowing where to look! Note taking, tutoring, monitoring study halls, staffing a dormitory front desk, and proctoring exams are wonderful opportunities for college students to receive income while studying.

Note Taking Services

Some students with special needs are unable to take notes during course lectures. To assist these individuals, a university's Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (or a similarly named department) pays good students who are enrolled in the same courses to take notes. Once hired, the note takers simply attend the lectures, take detailed notes, and provide copies for the disabled student(s).

Likewise, student government associations may hire note takers who are enrolled in the university's most popular core courses so that their notes can be sold to other students as a revenue-generating activity.

Either way, note taking is a great opportunity to be paid for going to class, and it is also an incentive to be a more attentive student and take better notes.

Monitoring Study Halls

During dead week and finals week, many universities offer quiet study hall environments for the students living on campus in dormitories. These universities hire student monitors, whose only responsibilities are to open and close the facility, ask students to sign in upon entering, and ensure that there is no talking. The rest of the time, the monitors are free to study for their own exams, earning minimum wage as they do so. As an added bonus, many universities provide free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to help the students stay awake as they study into the wee hours of the morning.


Good students can often find paid one-on-one tutoring opportunities to help their peers who are struggling in certain courses, but these tutoring hours decrease the amount of time spent on their own studies.

Tutoring in a university-organized group setting can sometimes be more beneficial. Most universities provide math labs, writing labs, or similar facilities that invite all students (or sometimes only student athletes) to "drop in" during scheduled hours for free tutoring assistance. However, students rarely take advantage of these opportunities during the beginning and middle of the semester, leaving the tutors with nothing to do during their paid hours other than study for their own courses. As finals week approaches, this situation generally changes such that the tutors have to spend their time tutoring others, but during the beginning of the semester, this can be a simple way to earn money while studying. Anyone interested in this opportunity should first try to find out how heavily the university's facilities are used, making sure that they will indeed have free time to study for their own courses during most of the semester.

Staffing a Dormitory's Front Desk

Most universities hire students to staff the front desks of their dormitories 24 hours a day, making sure that strangers do not enter the building, sorting incoming mail, renting out media equipment, taking note of repair requests, etc. During the day, this job can be quite busy, with constant interruptions. At night, however, the front-desk clerks find themselves with little to do other than study.

Although the late night shift is not a good option for students with early morning classes, it does allow many students to receive income while they study in a quiet environment.

Proctoring Exams

Students who have received high scores on their college entrance exams (such as the SAT, GRE, GMAT, or LSAT) may want to consider working part time for a test preparation company (Kaplan, PowerScore, The Princeton Review, etc.) as an exam proctor. Test preparation companies often offer free practice exams on university campuses to recruit new students, helping high school seniors assess their exam performance and determine whether they would like to purchase test preparation services. The companies hire proctors to welcome the students, pass out exams, and time each section of the test with a stopwatch. With each exam lasting two or three hours, the proctor has ample time to study while the high school seniors complete their practice exams.

There is almost nothing better than being paid to do something you would have done anyway. While none of these jobs are very high paying, they should at least offer minimum wage, and every little bit can help a struggling college student. These jobs are filled quickly, so entering students should contact their universities before the academic year begins to learn which of these opportunities may be available to them and to start the application process as soon as possible.

Take the Next Step

  • It's tough raising kids today! You need every time and money saving idea you can find. That's why you'll want to get our free weekly Dollar Stretcher for Parents newsletter. You'll find great ideas designed just for parents that will help your family 'live better...for less'! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE.

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.

Debt Book
Stay Connected with TDS

Do you struggle to get ahead financially?

Surviving Tough Times is a weekly newsletter aimed at helping you stretch your dollars and make the most of your resources.

Debt Checklist

And get a copy of Are You Heading for Debt Trouble?
A Simple Checklist and What You Can Do About It
for FREE!

Your Email:

View the TDS Privacy Policy.

Debt Book