Prospective students find the thought of going to college exciting. And why not? It’s where you go to meet new people and learn new things. You may even search for and find yourself. You will also get a diploma that will help you start a remarkable career after college.
Unfortunately, not many college students can afford this journey without working a side hustle. While some work for extra spending money, others do so to reduce their student loan debt.
Most college students choose the first job they get to have more money. Some students select work-study programs available through their college or federal program. These are excellent part-time jobs. But they are not the only options to make money in college.
Anybody can go out and get a job. I’ve done that. I made minimum wage and worked for a boss, who didn’t care that I was trying to get a college degree and needed to attend classes.
After several of those jobs, I found a way to earn money in college that supports my goal of graduating college on time and transitioning into my career.
You can do this too as a college student. And to help with this, we’ve created a list to help you make that much-needed extra cash. So, to avoid a job that’s meh, keep reading to find out how to make money in college the right way.
Step 1: Figure Out Your Talents
Even though you are just looking for a way to help pay the bills while in college, you still want to enjoy the work you do. If you take on a job in which you are not talented, you may struggle.
That means you will be stressed out with academic responsibilities and the demands of this new job. However, finding an enjoyable job and using your talents will make working seem more like fun.
To figure out your talents, there are many actions you can take:
- Take a personality test. No, not the one found in the last few pages of a gossip magazine. Take research based, scientific backed, personality tests.
Myers-Briggs is one of the most recognized personality tests. You can access this test and others through the career counseling services at your college. Additionally, you can take the test online, but for a cost.
You can even get bits and pieces of the test online, but for a complete analysis, work with the professionals. Plus, it is usually free through college campuses resources.
Personality tests can match types of jobs with your personality traits.
- Make a list of all the things that seem easy for you to do. Think of all the times your former teachers, friends, or family members have said, “You are so good at that.” What were they talking about? Then seek a job using those skills. For example, if you have writing skills. You can take up content creation or help fellow students with their essays.
- Think about what you spend money on. Do you love hitting craft stores and creating amazing products? If so, start creating and selling things like t-shirts. You can do this on your own schedule without it affecting your studies.
Do you like hanging out at the bar talking to every single person who enters the door? You would make an excellent bartender and would probably rake in the tips.
What environments make you happy? Working with children? Pets? When you picture a fun place, where is it? Your answers to these questions will help guide you in choosing a job that can help you make money in college. Lastly, if you like academia, you can work as a teaching assistant or research assistant.
Step 2: Networking
Once you have thought about your talents and skills, it’s time to start searching for a job. Filling out applications at each place that hangs a “Help Wanted” sign is not always the right way to go. And if you see this sign hanging often, that probably means they have a high turnover rate, which can indicate a terrible work environment. Steer clear.
Instead, network or search for a job through the personal connections you made in college. For example, ask professors if they know of ways to make extra money in college. Ask classmates, fellow residents, club members, and departmental staff for a job lead. They are more likely to know businesses that hire college students.
Networking can help you acquire inside knowledge about jobs that haven’t even been listed as open yet. It gives you insight and is excellent practice for finding a position within your career field after graduation.
In college, a guy I knew networked for a part-time job. He worked for a small, family-owned business. At the same time, he was getting a degree in business. Once he graduated, the company did not want to lose him, so they created an upper-level position just for him. He still works for them today.
Step 3: Think Outside the Box
Whether you are attending college in a big city with ample job options or in a rural area where people are competing to work at the one fast food restaurant, there is no limit on ways to make money while in college.
Think outside the box and get creative. Below are just a few tips on how to do this.
Teach What You Know
Do you know how to do something that others don’t? If so, teach your skill. For example, do you know how to paint on canvas? Throw a paint party in your dorm room and teach other students how to paint on canvas.
Alternatively, you can become a tutor to other struggling students in a course you find easy. You can hold group tutoring sessions for a few hours daily.
Become a Research Subject
If you are at or near a research university, they are likely to need participants for experiments. Not old-school experiments where you can be harmed or traumatized, but safe, ethical testing. Researchers will pay you money to participate in a study. So, if you are trying to quit smoking, want to try a new weight loss product, or are just curious, there is probably a study that needs you.
Freelance writing is a flexible job that gives you more control over making money in college. You choose how many jobs you take on, and you can increase or decrease that number depending on your schedule and need for income. Plus, you get to practice writing, which will help you in all your courses.
Work as a Delivery Driver
Not everyone will work as a teaching assistant and grade papers. It could be that working as a delivery driver is the way to make the extra cash you need. Sign up for mail-order packages and groceries and deliver food in the area around your school or within your college campus.
You can sign up on any delivery driver apps like Amazon Flex, Uber Eats, GrubHub, etc. If delivery driving is not for you, and you have a car, you can work as a rideshare driver. Both will fetch you decent money and boost your personal finance.
Sell Study Materials
You can earn more money by selling your class notes, flashcards, and other study materials you created. There are different platforms to do this, like Course Hero and StudySoup. However, there are eligibility requirements you must meet. But if accepted, you will get a portion of the proceeds from each sale.
Graphic Design Work
If you love graphic design, you can earn more money as an independent contractor. The good news is you don’t need any prior experience for this. You can master Canva in a short time and start making designs.
Also, graphic design is a skill you can use after graduating from college. Plus, you can offer your services on sites like Fiverr, Upwork, FlexJobs, etc.
Social Media Influencer
As a college student, you’re probably already on social media with the rest of your friends and family members. So why not make money while you are online?
Social media influencers make money promoting the products or services of businesses. You can market yourself to local businesses, maybe even the college, and offer your services for a percentage of the sales they make through your promotions.
- Social Media Account Manager: Small businesses and entrepreneurs can’t always afford to hire someone full-time to post information and updates to their social media accounts. However, they do understand the importance of marketing through social media. This is where you can help. You can work part-time and around your class schedule helping small businesses grow their number of followers.
- Other Creative Ideas: Put your creative mind to work and think of unique ways to make money in college. You can flip items on eBay, make and sell items on Etsy, start a blog, walk dogs, pet sitting, house sitting, event planning, or become a virtual assistant. You can also conduct online surveys for businesses, conduct market research, do voice over work, or work as a campus tour guide.
If you can’t think of something on your own, ask your friends what they are willing to pay you to do tasks that do not involve doing their schoolwork. For example, some may pay you to wash their laundry; others need help running errands.
Step 4: Keep Your Priorities Straight
Your top priority is to graduate with your diploma.
You must stay on track and accomplish the goal of graduating on time.
Don’t get tempted by the money and stray from your goals. You may find a side hustle that helps you make money in college enticing. Meaning you are making so much money that you’d want to drop out of school and follow the dollars. This is a terrible idea, but I understand the temptation.
What helped me was keeping my priorities in order.
Get your degree first, then decide whether you want to turn your side job into a future career.
There are many generic ways to make money in college. But you’re not generic. You want to make money in a way that genuinely helps you have a better life while in college, one that supports your education.
Get to know yourself. Seek employment based on what you learn about yourself. Make and save money. Graduate, pay off your student loan, and live the extraordinary life you deserve.