The Best Seasonal Jobs for College Students

January 1, 2013

winter seasonWhen you’re a college student, you’re not always in a position where you can handle a year-round job. But you might be looking for seasonal jobs just to earn some money to get you through a short spell. Fortunately, there a lot of seasonal jobs, and there are several for each season.


It’s often thought that once the holiday season is over there are no jobs available. But it’s really just a matter of shifting focus over to those jobs that tend to flourish during the winter season.

Winter Sports

There are various sports that take place primarily or only in the wintertime. If you have any ability in those sports, you might have a seasonal job opportunity. We mostly think of skiing in the winter months, and if your college campus is located near ski resorts it may be an opportunity for you. But another alternative is ice-skating, or its close cousin roller skating.

Skating rinks all over the country need staff, not only as on-ice guards, but also to staff and maintain the building. There can be job opportunities in selling and servicing equipment, as well as in preparing and selling concessions.

Fitness Centers

Getting in shape is probably the most common New Year’s resolution. A lot of people flock into gyms and fitness centers early in January. Fitness centers need people to man the front desk, to maintain the building and equipment, and to be fitness instructors. Even if fitness is not your specialty, you can probably find work doing something in the business.

Income Tax Preparation

Income taxes are due on April 15, but the ramp-up for tax season begins in late January. Tax preparation companies, such as H&R Block and others, offer training in income tax preparation that can qualify you to work during the season. But even if you don’t work directly in tax preparation, you may be able find work in some support function, such as copying and collating returns or even troubleshooting computer software issues.


Spring is a time when the world begins moving outside, and it creates unique opportunities for the season.

Yard and Garden Centers

Spring is when planting and seeding begins, and it’s high season for yard and garden centers. People come in for shrubbery, small trees, grass seed, fertilizer, and insect repellent in droves – and that creates jobs in the industry.

Home Repair, Cleaning and Maintenance

This may be more about starting your own business than about getting a job. People need to do spring cleanups in their homes, garages, and yards, and are often willing to pay someone else to do it. If you like doing physical work, this could be a small business opportunity for you.

Coaching and Refereeing

Spring brings the start of spring sports, such as baseball, soccer and lacrosse. Recreation leagues all over the country need coaches and referees. Do you have a background in any of those sports?


Summer brings entirely new possibilities into the mix.

Summer Recreation

When we think of summer recreation we think of swimming pools and beaches. Those are possibilities for summertime work but there are others. Many communities offer summer camps for local children that could be held either at local parks or at remote locations. You can work as a camp counselor or as someone behind the scenes to earn some money during summer.

Travel and Hospitality

Summer is high season in the travel and hospitality industry. Hotels and car rental companies are looking to fill positions, especially near resort communities. Beachfront communities often need workers for shops and arcades on their seaside boardwalks and piers. Amusement parks can offer similar positions.

Back-to-School Retail

The back-to-school push in the retail business actually starts right after Fourth of July, but many retailers begin to gear up and hire several weeks before. You can get a job in a retail store in June, and work straight through Labor Day.


Fall Festivals and Specialty Shops

In the retail industry, the holiday season starts shortly after Labor Day. Some retailers and specialty shops begin staffing up for Halloween, while others make the big push for Christmas. Along the way, there are holiday and fall festivals that can go on for weeks or even months. There are businesses that sell pumpkins and costumes only during the fall season, and then they close until next year.

Holiday Retail

Mall stores, and in particular any stores that sell toys, begin hiring people in September through the end of December. This is usually the biggest season of the year for most retailers, and the easiest time to get a job in that business.


Fall is usually the big season in the restaurant business too. People begin leaving beaches, pools, and backyard barbecues, in favor of restaurants. The restaurant business tends to peak in November and December, but hiring can be strong weeks in advance.

A Year-Round Winner

As a college student, if you’re looking for paying work that you can do most of the year, consider tutoring. It’s mainly for the spring and fall semesters, but you might also be able pick up some work during summer sessions as well.

You need to pick one or two subjects where you are strong, and you can offer your services to students who are struggling in those subjects. You can earn anywhere from $25-$50 per hour as a tutor, and once you get a few students the referrals keep you busy.

You may even be able to do some tutoring work year-round, and supplement that with seasonal jobs as you need the income. Think about jobs where you only have to use your brain!

What seasonal job opportunities have you had, and recommend for other students? Leave a comment!


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Kevin Mercadante is professional personal finance blogger, and the owner of his own personal finance blog, He has backgrounds in both accounting and the mortgage industry. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and two teenage kids and can be followed on Twitter at @OutOfYourRut.

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4 Responses to The Best Seasonal Jobs for College Students

  • KK @ Student Debt Survivor

    I hadn’t thought of seasonal jobs for college students, but it makes so much sense. A good friend of mine made a killing with a snow plowing business in HS. He attached a plow to his old model pickup and made $50-$100 per driveway.

  • CF

    When I was a college student, one of the best gigs I had was transcribing notes for disabled students. I was already attending the class and already taking notes, so I just had to make sure my notes were extra clear and detailed, then scan and email them to the student. It paid $650 per term.

    Otherwise, I often picked up work-study jobs through the university or worked retail at bookstores.


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