Image from Pexels

Image from Pexels

If you’re in need of that extra cash flow to sustain your awesome college lifestyle (see: more boxes of cup ramen and your Netflix subscription), then it might be time to find a job. No need to look further than some great options your school might offer, whether through work-study or regular employment, it’s usually the most accessible positions. Some of them are great…and some, not so much. Consider these options before turning in that resume!

Library Assistant

  • Intensity level: Low, you’re basically chilling with books.
  • Desirability: Everyone wants some quiet time.
  • Job description: Library assistants have a range of duties like sitting at the reference desk and assisting students with locating material, reorganizing and reshelving books, data entry, and other administrative tasks.
  • Pros: Most agree that the quiet down time and low-demand tasks is prime for studying. It’s killing two birds with one stone – you’re getting paid and you don’t sacrifice precious study time for it!
  • Cons: It can get a little boring and if you’re a super social person you might go a little stir crazy.

Resident Assistants (RAs)

  • Intensity level: Very high, many call it a lifestyle
  • Desirability: Fairly competitive selection process, a lot of people want the perks
  • Job description: RAs live in the dorms with students and supervises the residents, taking care of any housing issues, making sure there are no shenanigans, and engaging students in a residential community. Responsibilities are far-ranging: overseeing residents, preventing drug and alcohol use in dorms, mediating any conflicts, answering resident questions, dealing with housing and maintenance issues, and programming events within the dorm to build community.
  • Pros: RAs get their own room and usually it’s pretty spacious. They typically get paid full room and board in exchange for the year’s service. It’s also good for leadership and programming experience.
  • Cons: Being an RA isn’t something you do in shifts, it’s a full time job and a lot of people call it a “lifestyle.” You might be woken up in the middle of the night because of an emergency. Programming events like movie nights and making residents treats requires creativity and dedication. And no matter how much RAs want to be friendly with their residents, they do have to keep them in line and make sure they follow the rules; it’s a tough balance sometimes.

Dining Hall

  • Intensity level: Wide range depending on work station assigned
  • Desirability: Most people don’t like cleaning up food messes or restocking napkins. It can be a boring and physically taxing job.
  • Job description: Tasks are fairly similar to food service work: cleaning up tables and restocking supplies. There are also cashier positions like swiping students in.
  • Pros: Pretty straightforward work, doesn’t require too much mental energy.
  • Cons: It can get really boring, and cleaning up messes and dealing with students can be exhausting. Most don’t recommend this route.


  • Intensity level: Mild
  • Desirability: If the gym is your kind of atmosphere, you’ll dig it.
  • Job description: Duties range from things like signing students in (pretty easy) to more physically engaging tasks like cleaning and moving equipment.
  • Pros: Being assigned to sign students into the gym is very easy and makes room for a lot of down time to do work!
  • Cons: Being assigned to cleaning equipment can get kind of gross. Also, you’ll be surrounded by gym peeps doing “leg day” and asking friends to “spot” them constantly, AKA workout culture. This might not be your cup of tea.

Mail room

  • Intensity level: Sorting mail and giving students their packages isn’t rocket science.
  • Desirability level: Most say it’s super boring
  • Job Description: Tasks at a mail room include sorting packages, giving students their mail, helping mail things out, and all the fun post-office stuff minus the nice mail truck.
  • Pros: Fairly simple work that doesn’t require much thought.
  • Cons: Rote work, menial tasks, and contact with students all the time.


  • Intensity level: One-on-one contact
  • Desirability: Competitive positions
  • Job Description: The school may have a program where they hire students who have mastered their subjects (typically upperclassmen) to tutor others. These could be one-on-one sessions or group sessions.
  • Pros: If you like the subject and have it mastered, it’s easy and rewarding to teach others. This is great for experience on a resume.
  • Cons: Like with any tutoring, things can get frustrating and engagement with students is necessary.

Outreach services

  • Intensity level: Not a lot of physical work, but a lot of talking and engagement involved
  • Desirability: Depending on your personality type, you may or may not like it.
  • Job description: Outreach services for various departments such as the Office of Admissions or Career Services include tasks like answering the phone, directing visitors, answering questions, doing assigned jobs, and paperwork. Those who have worked these jobs says good communication and a social personality is a must; there are a lot of phone calls to be made.
  • Pros: Depending on the office, there’s a lot to learn. Typically, students can choose a certain area that interests them like the Office of Multicultural Affairs or the Career Center. Those who work in admissions often talk about how rewarding it is to represent the school. There are different skills for each job.
  • Cons: Being able to communicate with others and talk a lot can be exhausting for many people.

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the author

Jilliann Pak hails from the suburbs of SoCal but is currently attending school across the coast at Johns Hopkins University. When she’s not complaining about the cold weather or sleeping in the library, she’s probably eating, cuddled up into a blanket burrito, or watching Parks and Recreation, preferably all at once.

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