Updated June 26, 2020

How to Make Money in College

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Can college students make money without working? How much can they expect to make without a job? We cover easy, honest ways for students to earn money during college.

On-Campus Employment

If you live at or near your school, on-campus positions may be the best way to save time on commuting. Keep reading to find the best opportunity for you.

If you love to help other students and are looking for a flexible work schedule, joining your school's tutoring support team may be a good option.

You'll need to be a currently enrolled student and have:

  • A recommendation from a faculty member
  • B average or higher in the course you are looking to tutor
  • Minimum 3.0 total grade point average
  • Ability to pass a background check

If you enjoy writing, working at your college writing center can help you earn decent pay. Most colleges offer flexible hourly positions and typically refer their employees to ongoing professional opportunities.

Teaching Assistant
To become a TA, some schools require enrollment as a junior or senior. Others hire only graduate students. You'll need to have good grades in similar courses, faculty recommendations, and a proposal before being hired as a teacher assistant.

TA tasks include:

  • Assisting professors during class
  • Helping students with assignments
  • Working with students in laboratories
  • Grading papers, handing out examinations, being a substitute instructor (for graduate students only)

Find teacher assistant jobs by checking university job boards and job recruitment sites, and by approaching the professor you want to assist.

Competition is stiff for TA positions. Graduate schools require submission of your undergraduate transcripts and letters of recommendation.

Consider getting recommendations from professors you know and respect. And be prepared with a proposal including why you're interested in the position, your qualifications, and how you will bring value to the class.

Research Assistant
Research assistants typically help professors carry out projects in social science or laboratory settings. Tasks vary from professor to professor, but can include:

  • Overseeing and Preparing Experiments
  • Attending Meetings
  • Acquiring Research Materials
  • Preparing Articles, Reports, and Presentations
  • Cleaning and Maintaining Equipment
  • Clerical Duties

Positions are often posted on campus job boards. But you can also approach a professor directly with a well-crafted proposal in hand.

Resident Advisor
Resident advisors (RAs) are also known as resident assistants, community assistants, house fellows, senior residents, peer advisors, and resident mentors.

This position may be a good fit for you if you are interested in:

  • Promoting Social Engagement and Community Development
  • Conflict Resolution
  • Crisis Response
  • Enforcement of University Rules

RA positions are posted on campus job boards. However, talking to the current RA or a residence hall director can offer a head start.

If there are no RA positions available, consider a position at your dorm's front desk. This position requires you to be an information source, with a touch of clerical duties behind the scenes. You'll earn hourly pay with flexible work hours, some weekend hours, and potential work during final weeks.

IT Position
Campus information technology (IT) work may be the job for you if you enjoy working with computers. Positions are available if you:

  • Know a handful of computer languages
  • Know basic coding

Entry-level positions are available and can help you learn technology and communication skills.

Campus Tour Guide
If you have great public speaking skills and are knowledgeable about your campus, this may be a good position for you.

Responsibilities include:

  • Hosting groups of prospective students and their parents.
  • Meeting with middle or elementary school students.
  • Visiting with dignitaries, alumni, and community organizations.

Campus tour guides normally work under an annual contract, which can include agreed-to summer months. Most campus tour guides work part-time shifts throughout the week, including Saturdays.

Campus Dining
Campus dining positions include cashiers, servers, cooks, dishwashers, food prep, and catering. Pay typically starts at about $10.00 per hour, and work schedules offer freedom and flexibility.

Available on-campus transportation positions include:

  • Parking lot attendant
  • Valet attendant
  • Customer service representative
  • Parking service assistant
  • Event support

Post Office
If your school offers an internal postal service, you may be able to secure a position collecting and distributing mail. Benefits include:

  • Flexible hours
  • Decent pay
  • Get to know your campus
  • Build your resume

Campus Maintenance
Student employees are paid an average hourly rate to work side by side with maintenance employees. Positions include:

  • Maintenance and minor renovation
  • Custodial duties
  • Campus painting

Off-Campus Employment

If you have access to transportation and the means to commute, you may be able to find an off-campus opportunity. Employers often require a set schedule, and many want their employees to work day shifts.

Read on to learn more about flexible employment options that might fit into your student schedule.

You can work for a moving company or run an ad on Craigslist under Labor, Mover Available. While no experience is required, you may need to pass a background check.

The busiest moving days of the week are Saturday and Sunday for moving companies. Part-time night work isn't commonly available, but weekend work is.

Work for a Temp Agency
If you can pass a standard aptitude test and background check, temporary agencies will find a job for you that fits within your schedule. You can even choose the hours and days that you are willing to work.

Food Delivery
Meal delivery jobs are abundant in most metropolitan areas. As a delivery driver, you can typically determine your shifts and design your own work routines.

Requirements include:

  • Owning a smartphone and transportation
  • Existing insurance
  • Valid Social Security number
  • Valid driver's license with at least one year of driving experience

Check out DoorDash or GrubHub to find an opportunity in your area.

Rideshare Driver
Rideshare programs such as Uber or Lyft can help you earn money when you aren't in class. Minimum requirements generally include a valid license and a good condition, 4-door vehicle that is at most 15 years old.

As long as it is insured, and you have the owner's permission, the vehicle doesn't have to be registered in your name.

In-Store Grocery Shopper
Earn money by shopping for groceries and even delivering them to the customer. Many grocery stores have shelf stocker positions available as well. Positions offer decent pay and a flexible schedule.

Requirements include:

  • Minimum age of 18
  • Access to a smartphone
  • Ability to lift 30–40 pounds
  • Access to a vehicle if you choose to deliver

Consider this position if you are a skilled drink mixer looking for evening and weekend work. Benefits of bartending include:

  • Flexible hours
  • Meal discounts, savings, and insurance plans for long-term bartenders

An experienced bartender can earn $40.00 to $55.00 per hour + tips working special events.

Product Demonstrator or Brand Promoter
Big box stores typically hire individuals to demonstrate a wide range of products, including food-related items, cosmetics, pillows, and small appliances.

Demonstrators typically work for about 6 hours at a time, 2–3 times a week. Check out Advantage Solutions for demonstration opportunities near you.

Summer Job Opportunities

Many students prefer to focus on their studies during the fall or spring semesters. Summer employment is a great way to make some income while in college.

Agricultural Work
Local farmers are often in need of summer labor, and many will even provide living quarters. Search your local job boards as well as Craigslist.

You can also see if you meet the qualifications to participate in a summer agriculture internship. These entail working for large farms or corporations and may include internship housing.

Internships are frequently unpaid, but part-time and paid work may be available. Begin your search early in the year to not miss out on any opportunities.

While typically unpaid opportunities, you can search job boards or contact a temp agency for local summer internships. Many include opportunities to learn technical, clerical, and administrative skills, which can add valuable experience to your resume.

Travel Employment
Job boards list a wide variety of travel arrangement jobs:

  • Intern to CEO & COO
    Paid internship position to assist with travel arrangements.

  • Real Estate Development Intern
    Paid internship to assist with travel arrangement and logistics.

  • Travel Advisor
    Sell and assist with travel arrangements.

  • Travel Coordinator
    Work with event management/production company.

Many of these jobs offer flexible scheduling and some will hire you beyond seasonal work.

If you are a strong swimmer and have no problem giving emergency treatment if necessary, consider becoming a lifeguard. Some positions require past experience, CPR certifications, and swimming ability. But many placed provide training and testing on-site.

Apply for lifeguard jobs before the summer to ensure you do not miss out. Indoor pools, however, typically hire year-round.

If you do not have any lifeguarding experience, consider a pool service job. Many employers may offer winter indoor pool positions if they are satisfied with your work.

Maintenance Jobs
Many businesses need additional employees during the summer months. If you are willing to put in the effort for physical labor, positions include:

  • Cleaning services—offices and homes
  • Painting
  • Car washing and detailing

The demand for these businesses picks up between May and August, and can help you earn a moderate wage for summer work. Typically, these positions only require a background check.

One-Time Jobs

If you are not interested in committing to full- or part-time positions, finding gigs can help you find positions with flexible hours and great pay. Keep reading to see what opportunities may be available in your area.

Art Model
If you stand or sit for many hours at a time and you don't mind taking off your clothes, this could be a great option.

Models are generally paid an above-average hourly rate, but most positions limit the number of hours worked per month.

Check out local and campus job boards to find employment. Opportunities may also be available on campus.

If you are fluent in English or other languages, translator gigs are available in industries such as medical services, language services, and technical businesses. Promote your freelancing services on boards like Craigslist.

English Teacher
In-person and virtual teaching positions can be a great source of income year-round. Virtual work may include teaching English as a second language.

Requirements include:

  • Native English speaker
  • Strong internet connection
  • Computer or tablet with a camera or microphone

Market Research
While some market research jobs require a BA or higher in social sciences or computer science, there are wide variety of gigs that have no requirements, including:

  • Entry Level Research
    These positions can help you gain experience while gathering data or making phone calls.

  • User Testing
    Often one-time gigs, but take it a step beyond and think about if you tested video games, makeup, or smartphones, and you were paid to share your thoughts through a focus group study. There's a number of these operations on the internet—check out Find Focus Groups as a start.

  • Online Surveys
    Websites such as InboxDollars, MySurvey, Swagbucks, and Pinecone Research pay cash, points towards purchases, and gift cards for completing surveys through their sites, and can be completed from your smartphone while on the go.

Sell Your Blood
You can expect to be paid between $20- $50 per donation. For plasma donations, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) sets weight guidelines for the maximum amount you can donate. Contact internet plasma centers in your area for their guidelines.

Sell Your Hair
Check out World of Wigs and HairSellon for online hair sales. Prices range according to length and color, with restrictions. HairSellon requires at least 6 inches in length, and selling prices typically list between the low $100's to $1,000.

Sell Your…Waste?
Believe it or not, you can donate poop in the name of research and saving lives. The process involves rigorous screening, with only about 4% of applicants accepted as donors.

You'll need to research local donation clinics like OpenBiome, located in Massachusetts.

Scholarship Competitions
Many contests such as Sallie Mae $1,000 Monthly Sweepstakes and The Vegetarian Resource Group can help you add funds to your college savings account.

Remote Freelance Positions

If you prefer setting your own hours and working from home (or your dorm room), you'll have several gigs to choose from. Keep reading to learn about the different freelance opportunities to choose from.

Setting up a remote business is simple.

  • Create a Facebook business page or a simple website

  • Spread the word by telling local businesses and your friends and family that you are available for virtual work.

  • Advertise your services on college and local job boards.

  • Find well-paying virtual and freelance work through platforms such as Upwork or Freelancer.

These typically may include proofreading and editing, content writing, copywriting, rewriting, sales writing, and ghostwriting

Transcription Services
Video or audio recordings are transcribed to create article or podcast content

Virtual Call Center
Answer a client's calls during business hours or respond to voice mail messages.

Web Design
Create websites from templates such as WordPress. Learn how to code from sites including Wix, SquareSpace, WordPress, and CodeAcademy.

Social Media Manager
Create and schedule posts for clients and run their accounts.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Expert
Brings clients' websites and content to higher search engine rankings by helping your clients find keywords. Take inexpensive SEO courses through Udemy to become an expert.

Marketing Expert
Create click funnels or content that draws in the interest of potential customers. Create winning newsletters and marketing materials that urge customers to make a purchase.

Freelance Tutor
Charge by the hour or by project. Determine which grade level or subject/course to focus on. You can use software such as Zoom to meet online, and even record your tutoring sessions (with permission) to sell as study materials.

Specializing in a skill set can help you become a sought-after freelancer.

Computer Teacher
Teach basic computer skills right from your home. Invest in a laptop or a tablet, and form relationships with local computer stores to obtain referrals

You can also offer services in public places such as a library or coffee shop. Consider offering small workshops or group classes in the library as well.

A basic understanding of bookkeeping, a computer, and a solid internet connection are needed. Free bookkeeping training is offered by the AccountingCoach.

Responsibilities include:

  • Tracking expenses and income
  • Reconciling bank statements
  • Invoice and accept payments

Clients typically pay for basic bookkeeping software, such as QuickBooks Online. You can charge a starting hourly rate of $15.00–$20.00.

Website Reviewer/Scorer
This service is typically offered to new business owners who design their own websites. Service packages include:

  • Testing of load speed and response time
  • Search engine optimization
  • Search for grammar and spelling errors as well

Develop a standard scoring template for your customers and include that information on your website and your marketing materials.

Event Planner
If you enjoy planning large events such as weddings and corporate meetings and you have an eye for design and detail, consider becoming an event planner.

Design a website or blog to advertise your services, and talk with local businesses including bakeries, photographers, and wedding halls to generate referrals.

Loan Signing Agent
If you are a notary public, this position typically pays between $75 - $200 per hour. Responsibilities include:

  • Print e-docs
  • Explain loan documents to borrowers
  • Obtain borrowers' signatures
  • Mail through FedEx or UPS using a prepaid postage label

Notary Publics
Apply to become a notary public through your state. The National Notary Association offers a step-by-step program to obtain certification, as well as a database system which notifies you when your services are required.

Start Your Own Business Errand and Housekeeping Business

For minimal initial costs, you can start your own business assisting others with household maintenance and care services. Some services to offer include:

Lawn Mowing
Your investment might be as little as $99 for a lawn mower, rake, and weed eater from a discount hardware store. Of course, you'll also need transportation and a space to store your equipment.

Snow Shoveling
If you live in an area that receives a large amount of snow, consider purchasing a snow blower or a used lawn tractor and blade. You'll then have enough power at your fingertips to clean driveways and sidewalks.

Laundry Services
Purchase duffle bags to collect and transport laundry. You can pick the laundry up, wash, dry, fold, and return it. This can be done on weekends or staggered through several weekdays.

Pet Sitting
Pet sitting can involve feeding and caring for an animal in someone else's home or allowing pets to stay with you. If you pet sit in your own home, basic investments may include animal crates and bedding. The pet owner should supply pet food.

Keep your business legal.
Before creating a business, check with your local municipality for any business registration requirements. You may need to acquire a general business license. Consider business insurance as well so that you are not held personally liable if an accident occurs.

Dog Waste Removal
Many people will pay to remove dog waste from their yard. Initial investments may include trash cans, bags, and scooping devices. You will also need to know where you can legally deposit the waste once you have collected it.

Babysitting is a great option for students to earn extra evening or weekend money. Earn approximately for babysitting. A nanny position can secure a set schedule with one family, which often grows to include additional responsibilities.

Sittercity offers a childcare database to list your experience and availability, calculate your rates, and read safety tips.

House Sitting
This easily be done while you are taking classes. You'll have a place to study and sleep if you stay overnight. And you'll only be responsible for things like:

  • Watching pets
  • Resetting alarms
  • Watering plants
  • Collecting mail and newspapers.

Repair Services
You can offer on-site repair services for almost anything. Hours and wages are flexible.

Create a Shipping Business
Start your business with a computer, printer, labels, and a commercial shipping account through common carriers such as UPS or FedEx. uShip provides access to carriers and tracking tools that can make shipping easy.

Errand Runner
Responsibilities include picking up groceries, post office and bank runs, and general errands for people who are unable to get out and about. If you have a cell phone, download a free scheduler or calendar app to easily complete everyday tasks on time. If you don't own a vehicle, you can work out a deal with a rideshare driver.

No matter which option you choose, keep startup costs low by offering your services to local neighbors, friends, and family. Post advertisements on free service boards such as Craigslist, and print inexpensive business cards.

Don't want to spend time advertising or looking for customers? Find everyday handyman, moving, cleaning, and delivery jobs, select your rate, and schedule projects on TaskRabbit.

Creative Ventures

If you are interested in design, entertainment, and creative opportunities, consider starting your own freelancing business with a specialty niche. Keep reading for some options.

Voice-Over Artist
If you love to act, have a good voice, and can bring characters to life, you can earn starting fees of $100.00 per 15-second recording. This can be done from home or in any quiet space. A computer, internet connection, earphones, and a quality microphone are required.

Free audio software, such as Audacity, can help you record, save, and edit your work. Create a demo reel for your portfolio and advertise on social media platforms and free boards, such as Craigslist.

Become a Street Performer
Singing, dancing, or playing a musical instrument can earn approximately $20.00 per hour. Permits are typically not required to perform in most public areas if you do not use a loudspeaker, megaphone, or a stereo. Find a public location that gets foot traffic to make the most money.

Mobile DJ
Mobile DJs typically charge by the hour or by the day depending on the event. Invest in equipment such as:

  • Speakers
  • Music players
  • Amplifier
  • Microphone

Make sure to choose equipment that can fit easily inside your car.

Start a stock photo business using your cell phone or a digital camera. Stock images can be sold on your own website or upload them to sites such as iStock, BigStock, or ShutterStock.

If you have a digital camera, you can take photographs of people, places, business openings, weddings, and birthday parties. If you do not have a budget for an in-home photography studio, you can work exclusively outdoors, or at a customer location.

Create a Blog or Website
Create a free or low-cost blog or website and monetize your page by adding affiliate links to your posts or pages. Receive compensation each time consumers make a purchase by using your link.

Affiliate programs include:

You can also earn income by selling banners or advertisements on your site.

If you are you a writer, e-books can be sold on blogs or websites or formatted for digital devices, such as Kindle, and sold through Amazon.com.

Become a YouTube Vlogger
Start a vlog about topics that interest you. You can make money through YouTube's advertising program and by adding affiliate links to the text of your channel.

Consider offering product reviews as well. While you may not get paid to review products, many companies will send free products in exchange for a positive product demonstration and review.

Design Gift and Novelty Items
Design gift items such as coffee cups and T-shirts without needing a storage warehouse. Create digital designs and sell them online by linking your products to your own online store using CafePress, or setting up a print-on-demand store such as Spreadshop.

You can also sell things you craft on a smaller, more personal scale. For one easy, but profitable craft idea, check out this article from The House of Plaidfuzz.

Create Apps or Games
Experienced coders and designers can build apps or games from scratch or utilize software such as Buildbox, Appy Pie or AppMakr. Once your design is finished, find consumers to test your app and have it submitted for review.

Rental Income

Rental income can offer a decent flow of money, even for college students. Keep reading to find out how.

Rent a Room
Even if you do not own your residence, you may be able to sublet a spare bedroom. Make sure your lease allows subletting. Airbnb is a good option if you want someone else to do list the room for you.

Rent Your Car
As long as you have active insurance, you can rent out your car at any fee. Consider renting your car out to rideshare drivers.

With Turo or HyreCar, you keep yourself covered with a legal agreement, and you have the added convenience of a posted availability calendar.

Rent Your Clothes and Belongings
If you have nice clothes and accessory items that you seldom wear, you can list them on free sites such as Craigslist. Sites such as Loanables will handle the rental agreements for you.

Garage or Storage Area
If you have a vacant garage, driveway, or vacant storage areas, draw up a simple lease contract and advertise for free on Craigslist or local bulletin boards. Check with your landlord first for approval.

Resale Income

Earn extra income by reselling used items that you no longer need. Read on for a list of common items that you may be able to sell.

Clothes and Belongings
Gently used second-hand clothes are collector's items, and original video games, vinyl records, and books are top sellers. Sell on consignment in a local shop, or check out eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace to sell items directly.

Consider setting up your own consignment business. Depending upon your stock items, you may not need much space, and if you have a garage, you might not have to rent space at all.

Class Notes
Instead of stashing notes away after you've used them, you can sell them to friends and fellow students through online platforms such as Stuvia.

Sell locally to your fellow students, or list used textbooks on sites such as BookFinder or TextbookRush. Books are sold by their ISBN, so you may want to invest in a scanner and save yourself the headache of searching for prices—check out apps like BookScouter.

Recycle Cans and Bottles
You can recycle your own items and you can pick up discarded cans and bottles along the sides of roads and highways. Contact your local recycling center to determine how much they pay for plastic, aluminum, and glass.

Some centers may ask you to do the sorting and to crush aluminum cans. Recycling scrap metal can result in higher income.

Flip Cars and Bicycles
If you have access to a garage and you don't mind making small repairs, you can earn extra cash by fixing and reselling old cars and bicycles. Auctions are a great place to find inexpensive vehicles that require minor detail work.

Miscellaneous Income

You can make money in ways that you might not even be aware of. Keep reading for some surprising income opportunities.

Invite People for Dinner
If you have room for dinner guests, sign up to be a host through Eat With. Select your dining event date, time, menu, and price, and Eat With will match you with a guest.

Eat With services are currently available in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Chicago, and new areas are being added.

Be Someone's Friend
Sign up as a friend for free through RentAFriend. You'll get paid by someone looking for a friend "to hang out with, go to a movie or restaurant with, or find someone to show you around an unfamiliar town."

You decide who you want to be friends with, how much you want to charge, and what times you are available. Receive anywhere from $20–$50 per hour.

Trivia Questions
Earn money in your spare time through apps such as HQ Trivia or Triviala Live. You can get paid through PayPal and earn prizes or points to buy merchandise. You can also earn $10.00 each time one of your friends signs up for Quezztion Real Money Trivia.

Walking Advertisement
This may include becoming a sign spinner, wearing a costume, dancing, and other methods of bringing in customers. Many local businesses will pay around $20.00 an hour for a weekend advertisement campaign.

Watching TV or Videos
Market research companies, such as Nielsen, will pay you to watch your favorite television shows. Nielsen tracks what you watch through their app, and will automatically enter you into their monthly giveaways.

Sign up for Swagbucks to earn points for watching videos, answering surveys, and shopping online. You can redeem your points for free gift cards for over 100 top retailers and PayPal cash.

How to Save Money

When you're facing a budget crunch, saving money can be just as effective as earning it. Keep reading for tips on reducing expenses and saving more money.

Cut Down on Phone Plans

  • Remove extras that you seldom or never use (e.g., phone insurance)
  • Ask your provider about autopay or paperless discounts
  • Shop around for the least expensive plans
  • Consider sharing a family plan with trusted family or friends

Reduce Subscription Costs

  • Cancel services you have not used within the past month
  • Share subscriptions with your friends
  • Look for less expensive alternatives

Rebate Apps

  • Shopkick
    Earn money on grocery store purchases by scanning your receipts. Shopkick also links to loyalty cards for retailers such as American Eagle, Best Buy, and Target.

  • Ibotta
    Earn money on purchases made at local stores and online and receive product coupons in the Ibotta app. You can also earn rebates by booking hotel stays through the app or refer a friend for $5.

  • Dining Out
    Earn cash and points at many restaurants through apps such as Drop, Mogl, or Yelp.

Bottom Line

Whether you are looking to work from your dorm, start your own business, or commute for a job, you have plenty of ways to make extra cash. Do some research to find the best opportunity for you.

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