Flexible jobs that pay well and prepare college students for their future careers may sound like the stuff of fairytales, but there’s no work of fiction here. With the rise of remote work, college students across the nation are getting the chance to get a head-start on their careers—and earn some extra spending money while they’re at it.
As digital natives, today’s college students are quick to master new technologies and communication methods, and since they’re often privy to the most up-to-date research in their fields, they can bring a welcome new energy to the digital workplace.
If you’re self-motivated, organized, and looking for a way to make some cash between classes, remote work may be a viable option for you. Here are seven reasons to consider working remotely as a college student:
1. Diversify Your Experience
It’s likely we will never have a fully remote workforce—after all, it’d be hard for your hairdresser to telecommute!—but data shows that remote work is on the rise.
GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com reports that regular remote employment has increased in popularity by 173% over the last 15 years, and, in 2017, approximately 8 million people worked from home, according to U.S. Census Data cited by Quartz. It’s clear that virtual jobs are the way of the future, and working remotely in college can get you ready for that reality.
Embracing a remote position as a college student effectively diversifies your experience in marketable ways; not everyone works well remotely, and employers know that. When you graduate and pursue a full-time role in the digital workplace, remote-enabled employers will feel more confident hiring you than a peer with the same credentials and experience who has not yet proven an ability to succeed remotely.
2. Expand Your Opportunities—Current and Future
Since working remotely adds thousands of companies to your list of potential employers, pursuing remote positions also decreases the chance that you will need to settle for a job outside of your field. With the national remote job market open to you, your odds of finding a paid position related to your major or area of interest grow dramatically.
Some of the most common remote positions for college students that offer a fixed hourly rate include roles as virtual assistants, social media managers or ambassadors, online teachers or tutors, customer support agents, and even website auditors. But these are not the only remote opportunities open to students. Virtual paid internships are also growing increasingly popular, and candidates with promise can pique the interest of employers, even if they weren’t initially planning on hiring a student.
3. Save Time and Money
Approximately 70% of full-time students are employed, most of whom work between 15 and 35 hours each week, according to a report from Inside Higher Ed. But even if you are at the lower end of this spectrum, working only three shifts and with a short 15-minute commute each way, that’s 1.5 hours of study time you’ll lose in the car each week. Remote work can give you the chance to reclaim the time lost to your commute while still working the same number of hours and earning a stable income.
What could 1.5 hours a week do for you if it was focused on your weakest course?
4. Work Flexible Hours
Gaps in your class schedule are inevitable during college, especially as you get further along in your degree program. You might have an 8 a.m. course required for your major followed by three back-to-back lectures beginning at noon.
This type of schedule is not conducive to a traditional part-time job, but remote roles can provide a solution, allowing you to fill in gaps in your class schedule with valuable, income-generating work experience. Some remote jobs, like teaching English as a second language, require employees to be online late at night or very early in the morning, meaning you can even work around an unusual sleep schedule.
5. Overcome Obstacles Involved with Working while Studying Abroad
Studying abroad is expensive, and while it is possible to get a part-time job in your study destination, the journey to doing so can sometimes be tough. Moreover, while it is immersive, working in a region where you don’t know the language fluently can be intimidating and exhausting.
As a student studying in a foreign country, you will already be spending most of your day functioning in an unfamiliar environment, so it might be healthier for your stress levels if you earn that extra cash through an English-speaking remote role. You may also be able to keep your remote position after your semester abroad has ended.
6. Connect and Grow with a Start-Up
Working remotely in college opens you up to a host of opportunities to build a foundation for your future—and you may even be able to get in on the ground floor of a start-up. Businesses just starting out are often open to hiring college students because they are enthusiastic and educated, and since start-ups often can’t afford to pay executive-level salaries, they can be perfect for students just starting out in their careers.
Rather than finding a local start-up that has little to do with your major, search across the country and even internationally for a role with a company you are actually passionate about. If the virtual internship works well, you can always move closer to the company’s headquarters post-graduation.
7. Get A Head-Start At Reducing Your Debt
Commuting costs money, but remote work allows college students to earn a living without continuing to grow their debt with purchases like gas for your car, food for breaks and lunch, and, of course, that morning cup of coffee.
If your credit card bills and student loans are piling up, a remote job can help you pay your debt down faster without adding all the extra expenditures that come with working outside your living room. If you’re lucky, you may even be able to have a large chunk of your debt paid off before graduation.
As a business owner, I believe extraordinary employees come from a wide range of education and experience backgrounds—and I’m not the only one. With unique perspectives and a knack for picking up new skills quickly, college students can give remote teams a new energy, and if you’re still in school, a remote role can help you add lines to your resumé without missing your 8 a.m. lecture.
Plus, who couldn’t use a little extra spending money ahead of spring break?