Going to college is exciting. It’s where you go to meet new people and learn new things. You may even search for and find yourself. Oh, and you will also get a diploma that will help you get an awesome career after college.
Not many college students can afford this journey without working a side hustle. Some students choose the first job that comes along just to have money coming in. Some students choose work-study programs available through the college.
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 the 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 make money in college that supports my goal of graduating college on time and transitioning into my career.
You can do this too. I created steps that I am sharing with you now.
So, to avoid a job that’s kind of meh, read these steps first and 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 not only with academic responsibilities, but also with the demands of this new job.
Finding a job that is enjoyable and uses 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. Yes, you can get take the test online, but for a cost. You can even get bits and pieces of the test online, but for a full analysis, work with the professionals. Plus, it is usually free through campus 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.
- Think about what you spend money on. Do you love hitting the craft stores and creating amazing products? If so, start making and creating and selling.
Do you like hanging out at the bar talking to every single person who enters the door? You would make an awesome bartender and would probably rake in the tips.
What environments make you happy? Working with children? Pets? When you picture a fun environment, where is it? Your answers to these questions like these will help guide you in choosing a job that can help you make money in college.
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 mean it’s a terrible work environment. Steer clear.
Instead, network, or search for a job through the personal connections you have made in college. Ask professors if they know of any ways to make money in college. Ask classmates, fellow residents, club members and departmental staff for job leads.
Networking can help you acquire inside knowledge about jobs that haven’t even been listed as open yet. It gives you insight and is great practice for when you need to find a job within your career field after graduation.
A guy I knew in college was able to network for a part-time job in college. 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 where there are ample job options, or in a rural area where people are competing to work at the one fast food restaurant, you are not limited on how you make money in 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 and teach other students how to paint on canvas.
Or, become a tutor to other students who are struggling in a course in which you find easy. You can hold group tutoring sessions to make m
Become a research subject
If you are at or near a research university, they are likely in need of 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 just curious, there is probably a study that needs you.
Freelance writing is a flexible job that gives you more control over how you make 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.
Social Media influencer
If you’re in college, you’re probably already on social media with the rest of your friends and family members. Why not make money while you are online? Social media influencers make money promoting 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.
If you can’t think of something on your own, ask your friends what they are willing to pay you to do that does not involve doing their schoolwork. 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.
It’s important you stay on track and accomplish the goal of graduating on time.
You may be tempted to stray from your goals. You may find a side hustle that helps you make money in college too well. Meaning, you are making so much money that you are tempted to drop out of school and follow the dollars. This is a terrible idea, but I understand the temptation.
What helped me is keeping my priorities in order.
Get your degree first, then decide if you want to turn your side job into a full-time pursuit.
There are many generic ways to make money in college. But you’re not generic. You want to make money in a way that truly 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 money. Graduate. Live the great life you deserve.