When I attended University, one of my peers’ most common complaints was, “I’m broke, but I don’t have time to get a job”. Wrong! Even in the most demanding undergraduate and graduate programs, most students can find a way to make money if they’re willing to be flexible and do a little legwork.
One of the best parts of being a student is the flexibility you have to make your own schedule. Never again in your adult life will you be able to schedule your day beginning at noon and ending by 5pm. So take advantage of it now! Instead of staying up late and schlepping to class 5 minutes after you roll out of bed, set your alarm and get up early. Make use of those extra “non-traditional” work hours. If you’re up at midnight anyway, why not use that time to make some money?
On-campus jobs- Check with your College’s career office about what on campus jobs are available (they are not all work-study jobs). My junior year of college, I made $8.50 an hour working at the photo lab. I mixed a few chemicals at the beginning of my shift, then spent 3-4 hours getting paid to do my homework. My 2nd year of graduate school I got paid $18-20 an hour being an alcohol proctor. I checked IDs at school sponsored drinking events and made sure that no one drank too much and passed out in bathrooms. College sponsored jobs can be pretty lucrative, don’t forget to check them out!
Babysit- At most universities, parties last well into the wee hours of the morning. Why not babysit from 6-10pm and head to the party $40 bucks richer? Check out your college’s career office for a list of professors and families looking for occasional sitters. Or consider a daily after-school commitment if you’re looking for a more consistent income. Tip: Make yourself more marketable by signing up for a babysitting and Infant/child CPR course at your local YMCA.
Blog- If you enjoy writing and are Internet savvy, blogging might be a way to make a little extra money. Blogger and WordPress both offer free basic blog setup options, and you can be up and running in just a few minutes. To make the most money you’ll want to consider self-hosting your blog and finding steady advertising streams. Make sure to pick a topic or topics you’re passionate about, because running a successful blog is a lot of work. There is a lot of free information about how to monetize your blog available on the Internet.
Take Online Surveys- You won’t get rich completing them, but it’s a nice way to earn a few extra dollars and possibly some free gift cards. I’ve personally used a few survey and pay per click sites and have been pleased when the checks actually arrived.
Tutor- Work for a company, or set up your own business. Print up some business cards and put up a few flyers. Consider searching and posting in craigslist and your local free newspaper. Only offer to tutor those subjects you know best, and always be honest about your abilities. If you took two years of High School French, you’re not fluent and probably can’t tutor AP French. Stop by your local elementary school and ask if they need volunteers. It’s a good way to get your foot in the door and start building a reputation.
Sell Things- One man’s trash is another’s treasure, right? College students are transient, and as a result are notoriously wasteful. At the end of the semester rent a big truck and drive around collecting all the good stuff that your peers threw away. Bookshelves, chairs, sofas, books and lamps are all great items to re-sell. This takes a little prior planning and some man power, but it’s worth it. Collect 4-5 big ticket items for free/cheap and you can easily resell them at the start of the next semester for $75-$100 bucks a piece. Of note: Befriend international students and students. They often have expensive furniture that they are unable to ship back to their home countries. My graduate school roommate couldn’t ship her furniture back to California, and ended up giving me a beautiful table and chair set for next to nothing.
Coach- Were you an all-star tennis player, a varsity football player? Consider coaching at your local elementary school or YMCA. Don’t have time to commit to a full season? Consider offering lessons. As a Red Cross trained lifeguard and Water Safety Instructor, I offered swimming lessons for $20 an hour at a local yacht club. Use your talents to make money doing something you love!
Walk Dogs- Students make great dog walkers. You’re home during the middle of the day when most 9-5 professionals are working. You have a flexible schedule and can make a last minute trip to the Jones’ house to let fluffy out if Mrs. Jones gets “Stuck at the office”. No special gear or training required. Buy yourself a decent pair of tennis shoes and start pounding the pavement.
Write- Thanks to Associated content, you don’t even need to leave the comfort of your dorm room to make a few bucks. Write about topics you’re passionate about and make money doing it. It doesn’t get any easier then that.
Participate in Studies- If you go to a large research university, or live in a good sized city, you probably already know about all the ways you can make money participating in studies. Obviously you’ll need to use your judgment on this one. Would I participate in a psychology study about sleep patterns for $50 bucks, sure. Would I start taking a trial medication or get a new vaccine for $200, probably not. Of note and somewhat related: Some states allow individuals over 18 to give whole blood donations for monetary compensation. If your state is not one of these states, there are often non-monetary gifts given to those who donate including: gift cards, tee-shirts et cetera.
These are just a few of the proven ways I’ve seen students make money. Think outside of the box! You’ll be glad you did, when you graduate with less student loans and more money in the bank.