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How to Make Money in College (without Wacky Side Hustles)

Dori ZinnPublished on

how to make money in college

The term “broke college student” exists for a reason. It’s hard to make money while you’re going to school full-time. When you have classes to attend at all hours of the day (and night), it doesn’t leave much room for picking up work.

But being able to make money while in school can give you some flexibility in your expenses. If you’ve ever wanted a meal away from campus, snacks for in-between classes, or some new shoes, money from a job can help pay for those things.

Having a job can also reduce what you owe in student loans or your reliance on them. If you have some funding gaps in your education and you owe money each semester, you can skip student loans and pay them on your own instead.

How to make money in college

If you’re on the hunt for a job while in school, you’ve got plenty of options. Here’s a few ideas that we recommend. All of these are great with flexibility — a huge plus when your class schedule fluctuates.

1. Deliver groceries

If you have a car, why not let it earn you some cash? You can become a driver for companies like Shipt or Instacart. These jobs don’t have time or day restrictions, since grocery delivery depends on when the recipient prefers to get their goods.

2. Be a virtual assistant

Like a regular assistant, this type of job works on off-loading things someone doesn’t have time to do. Think responding to emails, handling appointments, basic research, and help with writing tasks. Instead of going into an office, though, you can have as many clients as you can handle online.

3. Tutor classmates

If you’re excelling in one area that others are struggling in, you can use your expertise to your advantage. Start tutoring during times that work for your schedule. You can charge as much or as little as you want, but should look to start somewhere around $30 an hour. Feel free to raise your rates if your demand gets too high for you to control.

4. House, pet, or babysit

Sites like Rover.com allow people to set up dog walking, boarding, or house-sitting options for dog owners in need. You can join the site and add your profile to start getting business. Another option, Care.com, is a place to find caregivers for children and seniors alike. You can set up your profile and people can search for you in the Care.com directory. House cleaning services are also available. You can also search through local communities on Facebook groups to get connected to those in need of household help.

5. Find a campus job

If you’re on campus and don’t have a car, you might be limited in finding off-campus work. Don’t be discouraged; many colleges have online portals where you can search for campus jobs based on the type of work or industry. You can also use this time to work in the department you plan on majoring in, which can help you network with many professors and faculty in your future line of work. Campus jobs aren’t limited to working in the administration office. Many different colleges and buildings are looking for help.

You can also look into the dining options on campus to see if they’re hiring. Beyond the cafeteria, campuses offer many different varieties of dining for students and faculty alike.

6. Handy work or trade jobs

If you’ve got a knack for fixing things, it’s time to put your skills to work earning money. Whether you’re handy with tools or have a way of putting complex things together, you can find work that others can’t do. TaskRabbit allows you to apply to handle the tasks that other people need help with, including handyman work.

7. Offer transcription services

Some companies or workers record audio and need it transcribed into text format. You can use sites like TranscribeAnywhere.com to train and become a transcriptionist. Since many different types of industries need audio or video transcribed, you’d be hard-pressed to be low on work.

8. Start freelancing

Whether you’re a designer, writer, web developer or have experience in another field, there’s a demand for you. Many companies are looking for people to write content, design, and build websites for businesses, organizations, and events. Sometimes you can land work without having much experience, but being able to showcase your work helps. Try to have a website or some sort of place to put your work.

Once you’ve got your own site set up, let your friends and family know you can help them work on their projects. Set a fee you’re comfortable with, whether it’s per hour or per project. The best part about freelancing is that you can do it on your own time. So if you’re awake at 2 a.m. on a Wednesday, you can hit your freelancing deadlines then. Set a time that works best for your schedule. If you find yourself getting a lot of work and you’re overwhelmed, it might be time to raise your rates.

You can make money in college

The best ways to make money in college are the ones that work with your schedule and give you the chance to earn money while still earning an education.

The more you’re able to work going to school, the less reliance you’ll have on student loans. That means you’ll be able to borrow less in student loans, which means you won’t have to repay as much after graduation (or at all, in some cases).

There might be a chance that you need to take out student loans to cover additional costs that your job and other funding might not cover. It’s OK; you can always take advantage of Purefy’s rate comparison tool to see how to get the best rates available.

Private student loans require a credit check. So, if yours isn’t in the best shape (or doesn’t exist at all), find a cosigner to help you qualify for a loan and get the lowest interest rate you can.