The Best Summer Jobs For College Students

College can be a fun experience for everyone, but at some point, we all feel the stress of assignments, internships, and rising tuition costs. But what is the answer to all of that? Many of us may say, “Get a part-time job and build your experience in the working world.” 

However, it’s more than just finding a job at times.

The process is long and dull, as you may sit at your desk writing hours of cover letters, editing your resume, and submitting your application. But once you submit your files and pass the interview, you may ask yourself “What will I say once I get the position?” 

The unfortunate reality is that some of these postings are scams, and such activity has been on the rise in recent years. In 2019, approximately 14 million individuals lost around $2 billion due to job scams.

During the pandemic, more individuals have also witnessed job scams as well, with 32 percent of individuals stating that they were never paid to work. Job scams affect individuals around the ages of 25-37 mainly, but they can also affect college students as well. 

Moreover, some part-time jobs may not be the best fit for a student.

Sure, there may be a need to make as much money as possible, but the schedules may not be flexible enough, with the results being apparent in midterm or final exam season. The work also may be too much for what you’re being paid for, or may not have much of an impact on your work experience. 

So what are some of the best summer jobs for college students that are good starting points other than summer internship that may not turn out to be a paid internship? Food services can be a great way to earn extra money, but being a food server doesn’t always add to your skillset or help you network for a future career.

If you’re looking for a great summer job that you can even do during the school year, check out these 20 jobs listed below.

The Best Summer Jobs for College Students

1. Lifeguard

Do you have your lifeguard qualifications? If so, do not hesitate to apply to a lifeguard job. Although the job may seem silly as you’re watching over a pool deck, you will learn communication and problem-solving skills.

Often there is a community pool, country clubs, water parks, and even summer camps who are in need of a responsible lifeguard during the summer break. You may also be able to get a job as a swim instructor on the side.

These skills will help you during group assignments in college, or projects in the postgrad world. Furthermore, you will learn how to think quickly and thoroughly in emergency situations. Are you up for the challenge? 

2. After School Worker or Camp Counselor

Many people may say that being a camp counselor is tiring: You have to oversee dozens of children, plan activities beforehand, scream out the guidelines of the camp, and constantly play games with everyone.

It may not be everyone’s idea of a summer vacation, but if you don’t mind an early morning during the summer months, it can be a great opportunity to work at camp. Plus, if you are looking for outdoor jobs, working at a cap is a great option.

Sure, camp experience is exhausting but it will be valuable in the future, especially when you’re planning to become a teacher.

You’ll be able to deal with children of various backgrounds, learn to cope with mismanaged behaviors, and work with a team of determined individuals, and develop leadership skills. It may be a seasonal job that matches up with the school year and summer break, but if you build a good reputation with the companies, you could be hired back year after year.

3. Dance Instructor

Have you ever taken dance lessons as a child? Whether you have taken them at a community center or a studio, you can definitely put those skills into use.

If you enjoyed your dance lessons and want to give back, you can apply to teach dance at your local studio or municipal center. Some studios may require you to do an in-person demo or workshop, so be prepared for that during the interview process. 

The Best Summer Jobs for College Students

4. Fitness Instructor

If you’ve been on social media, you probably know how much hype there is over gym culture.

A lot of people are going to the gym these days, especially college students, and if you’re one of those enthusiasts, you can easily obtain certification to become a fitness instructor. It is costly but you’ll feel the payback in no time! 

5. Tutor

You may ask, “What if dance, fitness, and art is not for me?” Well, fear not – you can also become a tutor as well. If you enjoyed a particular subject in school or love the program you choose, you can put that knowledge into use by becoming a tutor.

Some companies only hire tutors with a degree, but that does not mean that you cannot freelance and set up your own business. You can help kids of all ages, which can feel rewarding. See which companies are willing to take you on, check with your local high school, and always put your best effort in each session. Students will leave your class with a smile!

6. On-Campus Jobs 

If none of the options work, you can also look for an on-campus job – colleges and universities hire plenty of students.

In order to do this, you will need to look through your institution’s portal, to see which positions they have available, and look through your school’s student association job portal as well. There may be options for a full-time summer job where you can live on campus, too.

Both of these organizations will have positions available all the time, especially if they are in need of staff. What’s more, they’ll look great on the resume and you’ll be able to meet like-minded peers in the community.

7. Hotel Front Desk 

Are you looking to step your feet into the hospitality industry? Your first stepping stone can be a job at a hotel, managing the front desk and doing some paperwork.

Sure, it’s not a glamorous job but you’ll learn organizational and communication skills, which will help you in your academic career. Keep in mind that your company may require you to take some overnight shifts as well, so always prepare your schedule beforehand. 

8. Research Assistant 

If you’re in your third or fourth year of college, and you are passionate about a specific topic or situation, you can contact your professor and become a research assistant. These positions may also be available on your college’s job portal, as long as you keep an eye out.

If you’re looking to get into grad school or obtain further education, a research assistant position will be vital on your resume. Furthermore, you’ll also get great references and that’s always a bonus. 

9. Receptionist 

Similar to the front desk position at the hotel, you may want to look for a receptionist position in a company in the field that you want to get into. You’ll not only be able to flex your communication or organizational skills, but network with professionals in the field that you aspire to be in. This will give you an advantage in the job-search process. 

10. Social Media Coordinator 

With social media marketing on the rise, many companies are now looking to hire college students for part-time positions within the industry. If you are an avid social media user and love to curate your feed, you are a great fit for the role and are the candidate that they are looking for.

Remember to brush up that resume and gain some extra-curricular positions, then you’ll be ready to obtain the role. 

11. Photographer

Are you a gear-head and do you love creating art with technology? If so, you can definitely master photography.

Once you are familiar with your camera and your style of photography, you can apply for photographer-related positions for small e-commerce companies. Then you’ll be able to create your own portfolio and work with more agencies. 

12. Data Entry 

This one definitely sounds like the less-glamorous option compared to the others. But, there are plenty of positions for the job role.

Data-entry is perfect for the individual who has godly typing abilities as well as is detail-oriented. And it also may give you a head-start, if you’re looking for further positions in the company. 

13. Sewer in a Manufacturing Company 

Perhaps you are trying to become a fashion designer, but don’t know where to get started. Other than retail, you can also get a position sewing clothes in a manufacturing company.

Some positions may not even ask you for experience and are willing to train you on the spot: As long as you are able to complete your tasks on time, you can definitely upgrade to a production coordinator position after school. 

14. Usher 

Are you a fan of live entertainment, music or theatre? If so, you can apply to be an usher at the local cinema or the film festival.

These positions are definitely hard to come by, so you may need to spice up your resume or contact the employer before applying to the job. Having customer service skills is helpful, too. You’ll not only be able to watch free shows, but provide an excellent experience as well. A great option for summer work!

 The Best Summer Jobs for College Students

15. Bookkeeping Assistant 

Are you studying accounting in university? If so, you can apply to become a bookkeeping assistant as there are tons of positions during tax season.

The average pay is minimal but you’ll be able to learn new skills, interact with potential clients, and write a related-experience down on your resume. 

16. Eyelash Technician

If you’re a fan of esthetics, you can first take an eyelash extension course and practice until you become better at it.

Once you’re ready, you can showcase your portfolio on social media and obtain some clients. However, be mindful that the job is harder than it sounds – it takes a lot of practice, outreach, and skill to stand out. 

17. Gymnastics Instructor 

Are you a fan of gymnastics and want to be part of the industry? Fear not, you can easily obtain a gymnastics coaching certification and work for your local gymnastics club. Be mindful that it is costly and you may need to save up a bit before investing in your first class. 

18. Bank Teller 

Perhaps you’re more so looking to work in the financial services industry, and if you are, you can apply to become a bank teller. You will be able to learn communication, organization, and confidentiality skills, which will allow you to work ethically and grow within the industry. 

19. Security Guard 

Are you looking to work as a police officer or even in law enforcement? If so, your first step can be by becoming a security guard. You’ll learn communication, conflict resolution and problem-solving skills, which will help you in the industry. However, this job may require you to work odd hours, so be aware and plan accordingly. 

20. Marketing Assistant 

If you’re a people-person who loves to plan campaigns and generate new ideas, you can work for a small company as a marketing assistant. In this position, you’ll be able to plan new content and think outside the box of planning new campaigns for new products. 

In Summary: The Best Summer Jobs for College Students

Applying for these 20 summer jobs in college may seem difficult as some of them do require previous experience. However, if you network around your community and build connections, you can easily land one of these cool gigs.

Sure, there are more options than these 20 summer jobs listed above, which means you’ll come across more opportunities to grow and learn new skills. For example, for the animal lovers and entrepreneurs, being a dog walker or pet sitter is a great way to set your own hours, avoid long hours, and build your won business.

During the job search process, just remember to act professionally as much as possible, and research the role thoroughly so you can avoid those scam jobs.

About the Author


Candice is currently attending school for social service work. One of her passions is helping others through my writing. In her downtime, you’ll find her listening to music, watching random YouTube videos, and writing about career goals and resumes. She hopes to start freelancing for writing and obtain a leadership position in a public services sector.