Find a remote summer job to pay for college.
The coronavirus pandemic pushed many companies to send employees home to work remotely as safety became a top priority. As a result, many college students who typically might have landed a part-time job waiting tables or an in-person internship were left hanging last summer. But by summer 2021, experts say many companies will have become accustomed to virtual work and may offer numerous remote summer job opportunities for college students — though they add that finding work may still be a challenge due to the struggling economy. With summer just a few months away, kick off the search by exploring these 10 remote jobs and internships that can help pay college expenses.
Though students interested in fields like entertainment may have struggled to find internships last year because of the coronavirus pandemic, this year brings new opportunities, says Grace J. Foy, associate director of the career center at Vanderbilt University in Tennessee. “Last summer, the entertainment industry was hit really hard, but this summer we’re seeing more internship opportunities pop up,” Foy says. One example is an internship with streaming service companies like HBO, which she says are finding ways to adapt to the virtual work environment and include college students as employees.
Virtual freelance work and project-based work can offer students flexibility and money to cover small expenses like college fees, gas for commuter students, on-campus takeout food or entertainment activities. Examples of freelance work might include data entry, user experience design or online translation work. Payment can vary widely from project to project, and students could take on freelance work in addition to a part-time job during the summer.
Marketing and communications jobs
Two fields that experts say are particularly comfortable with the virtual environment are marketing and communications. Students hoping to have a career in these fields can get involved through remote summer employment and internships. These jobs might involve virtual meetings, email and newsletter distribution, content creation and writing news releases — all of which can be done from the comfort of home.
Research can involve working with data sets that are available online. This work can sometimes be performed by entry-level workers, making these positions perfect for students seeking a virtual summer job. Whether it’s scientific research under a college professor or competitor research for a large corporation, students in these jobs can learn and earn money for college at the same time. Salaries for remote jobs often depend on where an individual is located. CNN, for example, was recently seeking a remote research intern to collect, summarize and distribute data as well as aid the research team for CNN Español, and the job posting notes that pay is based on office location.
Social media opportunities
In recent years, many college students have turned to social media sites like Twitter and YouTube to cover a portion of tuition costs or to limit student loan borrowing. Companies may hire students to run their social media accounts, or students could launch their own accounts. Building a personal brand online takes time and discipline but can be lucrative and lead to new career opportunities down the road.
Support roles with delivery services
As COVID-19 infections surged, so did the popularity of delivery services like Amazon. The e-commerce company and its competitors offer opportunities for students that don’t necessarily involve delivering goods. Remote internships in software development, marketing, finance and accounting, and quality assurance are all available at Amazon this summer. Students can also use a summer job as a launch pad into long-term work with a company, which may make them eligible for educational assistance options. Amazon, for example, covers $3,000 in tuition assistance a year up to a maximum of $12,000 for full-time employees and half that for part-time employees, provided the worker has been with the company for one year. At Amazon, the benefit is available only for two-year and certificate programs, but other companies have varying options.
Teaching and online tutoring
College students can be a great resource to younger students, and virtual tutoring can be an opportunity to earn money while gaining valuable experience toward a career in education. Tutoring companies, nonprofit organizations and local schools all may offer employment opportunities to qualified college students able to instruct a high school student in subjects like math, English and SAT or ACT prep. Due to COVID-19, there may also be virtual summer instruction programs for younger students in 2021 that need remote teachers to help create curriculum and lead instruction.
Telemedicine support work
There may be more opportunities now than ever in the fields of medicine and public health for college students studying such subjects to get involved and make a difference. The use of telemedicine and similar options for virtual medical appointments has soared in the last year. Kristen Gallo, executive director of the career center at Temple University in Pennsylvania, says doctor offices and medical centers may be seeking remote help to coordinate scheduling and other logistics around virtual visits.
Virtual event planning
Webinars, virtual conferences and even online weddings have become popular since the coronavirus made in-person gatherings a safety risk. These events require significant preparation and logistical management. College students can get involved in the planning and execution of virtual events from anywhere. Jobs or internships with a nearby event planner could even lead to scholarships to pay for college, as many smaller local or regional companies offer awards to employees that aren’t advertised publicly.
Many of the typical internships college students pursue have been turned into online internships in the wake of COVID-19. Though there may be fewer internships available overall, Gallo says, “there’s more hope with the vaccine development and that starting to roll out. We’re hearing from employers that they’re more comfortable with the online format now. Some employers are even expanding hiring. They’ve figured it out, and found a system that works for them.”
Explore more remote jobs.
Experts say students can find more remote jobs and internships for the summer on websites like Indeed, LinkedIn, Handshake and internal college job boards. In addition to finding remote work, check out these other overlooked strategies to pay for college. Want more tips? Follow U.S. News Education on Facebook and Twitter for more advice on paying for college.
Remote summer job ideas for college students
— Entertainment jobs
— Freelance work
— Marketing and communications jobs
— Research jobs
— Social media opportunities
— Support roles with delivery services
— Teaching and online tutoring
— Telemedicine support work
— Virtual event planning
— Virtual internships
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