15 Ways to Make Money in College
College is expensive, and many students are forced to borrow money to finance their education. Recent research indicates that the average bachelor’s degree candidate accumulates over $30,000 in student loan debt by the time he or she earns that coveted diploma. That’s a hefty burden, but you can reduce or eliminate the need to use borrowed funds if you earn while you learn. There are a number of ways to make money that allow you the flexibility needed to enable you to attend classes, complete assignments, and graduate in a timely manner. We discuss 15 of those methods below.
1. Apply for a Work-Study Job
Work-study is a federally funded program that helps students in need of financial aid get part-time jobs. To qualify, you must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). You will find the form at https://studentaid.gov. It takes only about 30 minutes to complete, and you need to submit it to qualify for other types of aid, such as grants and scholarships, too. You are required to resubmit the form every year you are in school. Typical jobs include working as a clerical assistant in one of the campus offices or in the campus library. The jobs are specifically designed to accommodate the student’s schedule, and the federal government subsidizes the wages paid to the students.
2. Be a Campus Tour Guide
Many colleges hire students to give prospective students and their parents tours of the campus to promote their institution. If you are outgoing, have excellent public speaking skills, and are passionate about your choice of college, check with the Office of Admissions at your institution to learn if a tour guide position is available.
3. Become a Tutor
If you are particularly good in a subject, consider tutoring others who may be struggling in it. Some campuses have tutoring centers where you can apply to work. Alternatively, you can advertise your services on bulletin boards in classroom and dormitory buildings or in the classified ads section of your campus newspaper if one exists. That will allow you to set your own hours and fee schedule. You can also find tutoring jobs in your locality on Care.com. The national average hourly wage for tutors is $14.50, but you can charge more for higher-level courses.
4. Work as a Professor’s Assistant
Many colleges provide professors with funds to hire an assistant to help with tasks such as grading, test monitoring, data entry, and research. If you have formed a bond with a particular professor, ask if he or she is in the market for an assistant. In most cases, the hours you need to work are extremely flexible, and you might find that you will learn a lot more about the subject being taught when you grade papers or assist with research.
Professors have lives off campus, too, and those lives often include children. A good, reliable babysitter can be worth their weight in gold to them. If you have established a relationship with one of your professors who fits this description, offer your services. One advantage of this type of job is that you will be able to study after you’ve tucked the kids in at night. You can also find babysitting jobs in your area by registering on Care.com.
6. Work as a Proofreader or Copy Editor
If you have excellent spelling and grammar skills, consider advertising your services as a proofreader or copy editor. International students for whom English is a second language are often looking for someone to help them clean up a term paper prior to turning it in for a grade. A note posted on bulletin boards in classroom or dormitory buildings should prove effective in getting the word out, as will an ad in the campus newspaper if one exists. Once you have landed a couple of these assignments, word-of-mouth will likely bring you more work than you can handle. Some colleges have a writing center specifically designed to help students with their writing challenges. If your institution does, you can apply for a job there. You can also upload your profile to one of the freelancer websites, like Upwork or Guru, to find these types of jobs.
7. Sell Your Class Notes
If you’re a good notetaker, you can earn money by uploading your notes to a website like StudySoup. You will earn $35 for every new subscription generated by your study materials, and $2 any time a current subscriber downloads your material to his or her library. This might also help you earn better grades as you strive to take good notes that others will want to use.
8. Work in the Campus Bookstore
If you like working in retail, consider applying for a job at your campus bookstore. They employ students to serve as stockers and cashiers, as well as other roles. Because of their familiarity with college life, they will work to accommodate students’ class schedules.
9. Work for UPS
United Parcel Service (UPS) has both part-time and seasonal positions, and the company offers a tuition assistance program called “Earn and Learn” wherein you can earn $5,250 per calendar year of your college education, up to a lifetime maximum of $25,000. UPS also has an internship program, INROADS, designed to groom talented minority high school and college students for leadership roles.
10. Register with a Temporary Job Agency
While some of the available temporary jobs might not work with your schedule, many can, and you might also be able to get some assignments that will enable you to make money during periods when school is not in session.
11. Be a Plasma Donor
Make money and help save lives at the same time. If you are at least 18 years old and weigh more than 110 pounds, you may be eligible to donate your plasma. You will need to provide your medical history and pass a medical exam, testing negative for certain transmissible viruses. Your first visit will take approximately 2 hours due to the required screening, but subsequent visits average only an hour and a half. Once you’re registered as a donor, you can donate twice in every 7-day period. The payment varies by location and plasma center. Biolife donation centers are currently offering new plasma donors $700 for 8 plasma donations (www.biolifeplasma.com).
12. Apply for Craigslist Gigs
Search for gigs in your area on Craigslist. These are temporary, sometimes one-shot, jobs that you can apply for as your schedule permits. They include housecleaning, painting, computer assignments, product demonstrations, handyman jobs, research study participation, moving jobs, and event staffing, among other tasks.
13. Create YouTube Content
Create your own YouTube channel and upload content that will attract subscribers. Before you can apply to Google AdSense to place ads on your channel, which enables you to earn money, you need to have at least 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watched video in the past 12 months. Vlogs related to campus life are popular. Dormitory tours, videos documenting a typical day in the life of a college student, vlogs on what to expect on move-in day or a visit to the financial aid office, and tips on fashion, beauty, and staying healthy can attract a lot of viewers. Alternatively, you might provide instructional content on your channel. For instance, if you are an accounting major and are good at explaining things, you might offer a video on the elements of a cash flow statement.
14. Deliver Food, Drinks, Groceries, And More
While you have to be at least 21 years old—and many states require you to be at least 25 years old—before you can be a Lyft or Uber driver, you can sign up with a company like Door Dash or Postmates to provide pick-up and delivery services in your area when you’re only 18. And you won’t need a 4-door vehicle like you do when driving for Lyft or Uber. Any vehicle, even a motorcycle, scooter, or bicycle, will do. You must have a smart phone, too, however. Door Dash estimates you can earn as much as $19 an hour, tips included, driving for them.
15. Sell Your Crafts on Etsy
Perhaps you like designing jewelry, woodworking, basket weaving, calligraphy, or have any other of a number of creative hobbies. You can sell your creations on a website like Etsy, an e-commerce site specifically designed to provide an electronic storefront for homemade goods. Etsy charges $0.20 to list an item and a 3% commission plus a $0.25 payment processing fee when your item sells.
According to educationdata.org, it takes the average student 20 years to pay off student loan debt. Choose to use one or more of the above ideas to make money during your college years and avoid graduating with a ton of debt that can take you years to pay off.