How to Make Money as a College Student: 18 Stress-Free Ways
I get it – I was once a broke college student myself, so I won’t waste your time with pie-in-the-sky schemes. Whether you’re gearing up for college or already knee-deep in textbooks and ramen noodle dinners, I’ve got your back.
In this post, I’ll be teaching you how to make money as a student with 18 practical and stress-free job options. Don’t get me wrong, these aren’t get-rich-quick ideas, but they’re designed to help you earn extra cash without derailing your studies or your sanity.
Now, let’s dive in and discover how you can fatten up your wallet while still acing those college exams!
Table of Contents
18 Ways to Make Money as a Student
From work-study programs to tutoring, learn how to earn money as a student with the 18 options below:
1. Get a Part-Time Job Near Campus
Sometimes the old-school methods are the best. Getting a part-time job near campus not only puts some extra cash in your pocket but also offers opportunities to upskill beyond the classroom. Look for jobs that offer convenience and flexibility to work around your class schedule, so you can strike that much-needed balance between academics, rest, and employment.
Now, don’t just settle for any gig — aim for opportunities that align with your career goals and skill development. Whether it’s landing a temp job at a law office, waiting tables at a cafe or restaurant, navigating the retail scene, or flexing your customer service muscles (or your literal muscles at the gym as an instructor), the options are plenty.
Visit your college career center. They can connect you with local part-time opportunities that resonate with your needs and goals.
2. See if You’re Eligible for Work-Study
The Federal Work-Study Program is a way for college students to make some money without the crushing burden of debt. It offers part-time employment to those who meet specific financial needs criteria.
To know if you qualify, ask around about the work-study option when you’re filling out your FAFSA. You can also check with your school’s financial aid office for more details.
What’s great about work-study is that it’s not about flipping burgers or delivering pizzas (unless, of course, you’re studying culinary arts). These gigs often align with your major or interests, helping you gain valuable experience in your field. Think front desk or admin work, dining hall shifts, or even department-specific roles.
If you don’t qualify for work-study, don’t sweat it. There are still plenty of on-campus part-time jobs that can help you earn while you learn, such as library-related positions.
3. Become a Resident Assistant (RA)
RAs are students who live in dorms and are tasked with creating a sense of community, enforcing rules, and being the go-to person for any dorm-related concerns. Now, why is this gig a great score for college students? Beyond the decent paycheck, it often comes with perks like free or discounted housing and meal plans, easing the financial burden of college life.
To snag this position, start by checking in with your college’s housing department or resident life office. They typically announce RA openings, and the application process may involve an interview and training. It’s a competitive role, but the rewards, both financial and experiential, are well worth the effort.
So, if you’re the friendly, responsible type who thrives on fostering a sense of community, becoming an RA might just be the money-making, community-building opportunity you’ve been looking for.
4. Paid Internships
If you successfully land a paid internship, you’re gaining industry-specific skills, making connections, and earning a paycheck — the ultimate trifecta for a college student.
To increase your chances of getting hired, start by exploring your college’s career center or utilizing online platforms like Indeed, LinkedIn, or Internships.com. Tailor your search to your field of study, and don’t be afraid to apply to multiple positions.
From marketing to tech to finance, paid internships span various industries, offering a taste of your chosen career path while helping you finance your education.
5. Apply to Be a Campus Tour Guide
Picture yourself strolling across the quad, narrating the vibrant history of your campus, and answering questions about dorm life — all while earning a paycheck. Whether it’s a bustling state university or a cozy liberal arts college, many institutions hire student guides.
Becoming a campus tour guide puts you front and center as you help prospective students and their families get a firsthand look at the college experience. To get this role, check with your school’s admissions office or student affairs department. They often conduct hiring processes or direct you to the right channels.
Not only does it put money in your pocket, but it also enhances your communication and public speaking skills — a win-win for a college student looking to make the most of their time on campus.
6. Become a Teaching Assistant (TA)
Imagine helping your fellow students navigate complex concepts, leading discussions, and honing your teaching skills — all while boosting your earnings. As a TA, you’ll work closely with professors, assist students, and gain valuable insights into your field of study.
To land this role, connect with your professors or check your department’s bulletin for TA opportunities. Whether it’s grading assignments, leading study sessions, or even assisting in research projects, being a TA provides not only a steady income but also a chance to deepen your understanding of your subject.
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Imagine helping struggling students conquer their academic challenges while earning a good buck. If you excel in a particular subject, whether it’s calculus, literature, or physics, there’s a demand for your expertise. And you get to set your own rates and schedule.
You can start by offering tutoring services to your fellow students on campus, either independently or through your college’s tutoring center. But don’t stop there; explore opportunities outside your college by reaching out to local schools or using online platforms like Wyzant and Chegg Tutors.
8. Sell Your Notes and Study Materials
Let your notes work harder for you! Selling your notes and study materials unlocks a healthy income stream while you help out your fellow students. You’ve already put in the hard work, so why not let others benefit while you earn some extra money?
Platforms like StudySoup and Nexus Notes allow you to upload your study materials, lecture notes, and guides, turning them into valuable resources for your peers. It’s a symbiotic relationship: they get the help they need, and you get paid for your academic prowess.
9. Apply for Scholarships
There’s a misconception that scholarships are elusive or only for the academically gifted. But the truth is, there are plenty of options for various talents, interests, and backgrounds. So, how do you successfully land a scholarship?
First, explore opportunities offered by your college. They often have a pool of scholarships waiting for eager students. Don’t limit yourself to just academic options; look into those for athletics, arts, and community involvement.
Next, explore the wider world of online scholarship platforms. Websites like Fastweb, Chegg, and Scholarship.com are like gold mines. They match you with scholarships tailored to your profile, making the application process less daunting.
The demand for freelance services is booming, and you can successfully become a freelancer if you leverage your unique talents. Are you a gifted wordsmith with a radar for what content best resonates with various audiences? Consider services like copywriting. Do you have an eye for design and know how to work with design software like Adobe Illustrator? Then try your hand at graphic design.
These two are just some of the most sought-after services by businesses and entrepreneurs. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, or Freelancer are platforms where you can showcase your abilities and connect with clients online.
Success in freelancing comes down to marketing yourself effectively. Craft a compelling profile that highlights your skills, experiences, and what makes you stand out. Don’t undersell your abilities; set a competitive but fair rate for your services.
One of the beauties of freelancing is the flexibility it offers. You decide when and where you work, allowing you to balance your academic commitments. So, if you have a knack for writing, design, programming, or any other skill or service that helps you make money online, freelancing could be your ticket to financial stability and valuable professional experience.
11. Become a Research Assistant (RA)
Becoming an RA is a smart move if you’re looking to make money while diving into the world of academia. As an RA, you get paid to work on cutting-edge research projects alongside professors and experts in your field of study.
To snag an RA position, start by building relationships with your professors. Express your interest in their research areas and inquire about any available positions. Take the initiative, ask questions, and show your commitment to contributing meaningfully to the research. Often, professors appreciate the enthusiasm and dedication students are willing to contribute to their research initiatives.
RA roles can vary widely, from conducting literature reviews to collecting and analyzing data. It’s an amazing opportunity to gain hands-on experience in your chosen field and build a network that could prove valuable in your future career.
Imagine getting paid to study or work on assignments after the kids have gone to bed. Babysitting is a win-win situation.
To build your network, offer your services to friends, family, or neighbors who have young children. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and once you build a reputation for being responsible and reliable, your client base could expand.
When it comes to rates, be competitive with local averages. Research what other babysitters are charging in your area and set a reasonable rate based on your experience and the number of children you’ll be caring for. Additionally, consider obtaining certifications in CPR and first aid to boost your credentials and instill confidence in parents.
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13. Dog Walking and Pet Sitting
Walking dogs and pet sitting may just be the most enjoyable way to earn money while in college. To get the word out and land jobs, start by building a strong online presence. Create profiles on pet-sitting platforms and social media to showcase your love for animals and your reliability. Share pictures or stories about your experiences with pets to establish trust with potential clients.
Setting competitive rates is crucial. Research local pet-sitting services to understand the average charges and tailor your prices accordingly. Offering additional services, like pet grooming or enrichment activities, can set you apart and justify higher rates.
Reliability is key in this business. Pet owners want someone they can count on to care for their animals, so always be punctual and communicate effectively. Much like babysitting, obtaining basic pet first aid and CPR certifications further reassures clients of your competence.
14. House Sitting
House sitting is an excellent way for college students to make money while enjoying a change of scenery. It’s a unique gig that comes with plenty of perks, and if approached strategically, it can be both lucrative and personally enriching.
Start by creating a detailed and professional profile on house-sitting platforms like Housesit Match and MindMyHouse. Emphasize your reliability, trustworthiness, and any relevant experience you may have. Highlighting any skills like basic maintenance or pet care can make you more appealing to homeowners.
Again, word of mouth is a powerful tool so doing your job well while leveraging your network is also crucial. Additionally, consider providing extra services like collecting mail, watering plants, or light cleaning. This not only adds value to your service but also increases your chances of getting positive reviews, repeat business, and higher profits.
Companies, podcasters, and other professionals are constantly in need of transcription services for their audio and video content. This presents a tremendous opportunity for students who can efficiently convert spoken words into written text.
The best part? You don’t need an advanced degree or specialized training. All you need is a good command of the language, a keen ear, and a reliable computer. Sign up with reputable platforms like Rev, TranscribeMe, or GoTranscript to find regular transcription work.
Efficiency is key in this line of work. As you gain experience, you’ll naturally become faster, allowing you to take on more projects and increase your earnings. Accuracy is equally important, as clients often rely on transcriptions for various purposes, from content creation to legal documentation.
16. Sell Items You Don’t Use Anymore
Selling items you no longer use is a smart money move (and an amazing way to live sustainably). Your gently used clothes, textbooks, and miscellaneous items can find new homes and, in return, put some extra cash in your pocket.
Platforms like eBay, Facebook Marketplace, or even a good old-fashioned garage sale can be your ticket to turning unused items into money. Snap some appealing pictures, write clear descriptions, and set a reasonable price. Remember, what you might consider old or unimportant could be exactly what someone else is searching for.
Successfully making good money on platforms like eBay lies in presentation and negotiation. Highlight the best features of your items, and be open to reasonable offers. Timeliness is also crucial; respond promptly to inquiries and ship items promptly for online sales. This not only ensures positive feedback but can also lead to repeat business.
17. Participate in Online Surveys and Market Research
Participating in online surveys and market research can be a strategic way for college students to earn extra money without a significant time commitment. Companies are eager to gather insights into consumer behavior, and they’re willing to pay for your opinions.
Consider signing up for reputable survey websites like Swagbucks or Survey Junkie. (Pro tip: create a dedicated email address for survey invitations to keep your main inbox clutter-free.) Be consistent in filling out your profile on these platforms; the more detailed your information, the more likely you are to receive relevant survey opportunities.
While you won’t become a millionaire overnight, these surveys can add up over time, providing you with a bit of extra spending money or helping cover small expenses. Treat it as a casual yet consistent side hustle, and you might find yourself enjoying the rewards of sharing your opinions on various products and services.
18. Gig Economy Jobs
Whether you’re behind the wheel for Uber, delivering delicious meals with DoorDash, or completing tasks on TaskRabbit, the gig economy offers flexibility that traditional jobs often lack.
To succeed in the gig world, consider your own strengths and preferences. If you enjoy driving and have a reliable vehicle, rideshare services can be lucrative. Food delivery apps are ideal for those who prefer a more relaxed setting. Task-oriented platforms like TaskRabbit allow you to leverage your unique skills — from assembling furniture to helping with odd jobs.
Maximize your earnings by strategically choosing when and where you work. Peak hours for rideshare and delivery gigs, for instance, often coincide with high demand, leading to increased income. But remember, the key to success in the gig economy is knowing your worth and setting boundaries. Don’t be afraid to decline jobs that don’t align with your schedule or preferences. With the gig economy, you have the power to shape your own earning potential all while excelling in school.
Earning Money as a Student
From securing part-time jobs near campus to tapping into the gig economy, each of these 18 stress-free money-making opportunities has been a tested and proven avenue for college students to not only make ends meet but also upskill for their future.
As you learn how to make money online as a student, remember that your financial journey can be just as enriching. The key is to match your skills, interests, and schedule to the right option so you can make the most of your college years!
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