This is an amazing guest post from one of my closest friend and fellow yakezie, Corey who blogs at 20’s Finances. He writes to give young adults the tools needed to conquer financial challenges.
There are many times in a person’s life that are full of struggles, but probably very few that compare to the financial challenges of college. Staying in the black while you are in college is a difficult thing. Not only are you paying lots of money to further your education (in hope for getting a better job), but you are also pretty busy with your homework. Trying to find time to earn enough money can be a challenge, but it’s not impossible.
If you are thinking of using student loans to pay your way through school and figure out how to pay them back after you graduate from college, think again! There are several ways that college students can earn more money and it doesn’t involve going into debt.
While I didn’t go to the most expensive school, I was able to pay my way through college without going into debt. Graduating debt free has given me a lot of financial freedom and flexibility in life. Instead of having to work a job that I hate, I can choose it based on merit.
Earning money while you’re still in school can go a long ways. It may be difficult to know how to earn money while still focusing on school, so here is a list of 10 ways any college student can earn money. The list includes 5 conventional ways to earn money and 5 more unconventional ways. Sometimes you have to be creative.
Conventional Ways College Students Can Earn Money
1. Deliver Pizzas
This may not be your dream job, but it is a great way to pay the bills while you are in college. The traditional evening and late-night hours can make it easy to sign up for any class, regardless of the time it is offered, without having to worry about it conflicting with your work schedule.
While it typically does require you to have a car for the deliveries, it can pay well. You not only have a base hourly wage, but will receive pretty good tips each night. Everyone loves their pizza and big tips are not uncommon (although you will have some cheapskates that don’t give you a tip).
Tutoring is an excellent way to earn money as a college student. If you find a tutoring gig in your field of study, it will allow you to touch up your studies and get paid to do it. This may also be an excellent option for people aspiring to be teachers for their career. Another great benefit is the hours. Most of the time, tutoring hours are arranged around your schedule. This means that your studies can remain a priority.
3. Teacher’s Assistant
Another great way to earn money is to serve as a teacher’s assistant. This means a close connection with a professor and the possibility to get college credit while earning some cash. If you perform well (it would be hard not to), the professor can serve as a great reference for future job opportunities. Again, the hours are flexible and it’s usually not that hard of work. Some grading and other administrative tasks like copying, filing, etc.
4. Office Job
While it may not be the most exciting way to earn money, getting an office job, whether it’s on campus or off, is a great way to earn money while in college. It gives you great work experience that translates to almost every field and helps you pay the bills. Your friends may be laughing now while they sleep in before their first class at noon and you go to work, but you’ll have a much easier time getting a job after college.
Applying for both private and school-funded scholarships is a must as a college student. You may not think that you are smart enough, but there are many scholarships out there that may be perfect for you. The best part about scholarships is that it is a great return on your time investment. It may take 5-10 hours to apply for a few scholarships, but if you are successful, it could mean several hundreds of dollars per hour invested. Try to find a job with an hourly rate that compares to that figure.
Unconventional Ways to Earn Money in College
People may laugh at you at first when you tell them that you are blogging to earn a little extra money, but it certainly is possible. Many people earn a full-time income from blog. It will take a little while to get enough traffic to start earning money, but the possibilities are endless after you are an established blogger.
If you want to start blogging, make sure that you are passionate about your topic because you will need to write a lot about it. The potential income isn’t the only benefit either. On top of paying for your school, it can also develop your writing skills and force you to learn a lot of transferable skills. Whether that is graphic design, website design, marketing, or just basic organization, it will help you with your future career.
7. Donate Blood / Plasma
While some people honorably give their blood as a donation, it is also possible to earn a little money for your blood. Many of my friends in college took advantage of donating their plasma. They were able to get $40 every time they donated and were able to do it multiple times a year. Looking at it from an hourly rate perspective, it is a great way to earn money and help you pay the bills.
8. Online Surveys
People often think this is a scam, but consumer information is extremely valuable to companies. It helps them market their products more efficiently for a larger profit, so they are willing to pay for useful information. It may take a little time to find the best program, but it could be worth the time and effort. It’s also something that you can do from any location and at anytime. How much more flexibility can you ask for?
9. Virtual Assistant
There are many sites out there that will allow you to work for other small business owners as a contract worker. This means that you will be hired to this or that in exchange for a preset price. While you may be forced to accept lower hourly rates at first because you are competing with international workers, with enough references and experience, you can demand a reasonable hourly rate. This too offers great flexibility and could easily turn into a long-term position.
Do you know a second language? If so, translating may be a great option for you. It will help you stay fluent in both languages and give you some easy money to pay for school. A co-worker of mine, who is currently a graduate student, makes some decent income doing regular translation work. While I don’t know how much he makes per hour, I do know that he continually gets faster and it helps pay his way through his graduate studies.
Earning money while in college is not only possible, but easier than it used to be. With the increased use of the internet, more and more options are available to you with increased flexibility in hours and location. While it may be beneficial for you to take a more conventional way to beef up your resume, earning money through an unconventional means can be a nice supplemental income.
Related – 101 ways to earn extra money on the side.
What was your favorite way to earn money in school as a college student?
Wow! This gave me a great idea for my daughter. I need an assistant and she needs a job. Great stuff….
Haha there is the perfect bonding!
Kathleen @ Frugal Portland says
My favorite way was to work in an office. It paid the most, and I had some great mentors.
I agree, this gives the most real life work environment exposure
Veronica @ Pelican on Money says
You should add part-time job to the list. That’s how I got through college.
I think office job broadly classifies that.
Bethy @ Credit Karma says
I did the tutoring and scholarship thing when I was in college. And during the summers I worked full time and saved to have some of that cash during the school year. But how awesome would it have been if all of these online “jobs” had existed then? Great list!
I know a few of the students taken up social media and other promotional jobs and do it from their dorms.
Lance @ Money Life and More says
I think donating plasma is fairly common in college. My friends talked about it all the time although I never did it.
But does that earn enough money, donating blood can earn you a few dinners but you can’t donate blood every day or every week.
Actually, I donate plasma as a source of income. You can donate up to 2 times per week, as long as there’s a day in between donations. It’s different from a whole blood donation that requires a greater amount of time between donations (also, in the five years I’ve been donating blood I’ve never been paid for it).
Amy @ JobCred CV Builder says
General transcription is also an easy skill to learn in order to earn money during college. I heard that donating blood is very advantageous because the procedure replenishes the body with healthier new blood.
Gillian @ Money After Graduation says
Great tips. I went the serving route, which was okay but crappy hours. I had a friend who was a TA and he got paid so much for not much time put in; it worked out to roughly $30/hour. Pretty great for a student job!
Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter says
A friend of mine has done really well tutoring and assistant teaching. It has really helped keep her debt down. Pizza delivery works well too. They make a ton on tips.
Here are three more extremely profitable, part-time jobs:
1) Prostitution. Oh, you’re a guy? No problem:
3) Dealing drugs
Although these jobs are illegal and inadvisable, they’re less painfully obvious than your list.
A blogger should a be a community leader and expected to follow social courtesy. Sorry to see the lack of it in you.
Squeezer @Personal Finance Success says
Online surveys hardly pay and take too long. I used to do them, but would only earn like $1 for spending 40 minutes on a survey.
Veronica @ Pelican on Money says
Actually, if you sign up for an affiliate program and get others to fill them out for you, you can easily make $1-$5 per person.
Interesting, never knew how exactly paid survey worked?
If you’re translating stuff anyways, look into a career as an interpreter! Can be quite lucrative.
I delivered pizzas my first round of college. Made decent money. Car up keep sucks, though. One lady literally made me count back each penny of her exact change. But I have good memories from my times doing it. 🙂
You can also do focus groups for research labs. I used to do tests and surveys about all sorts of random things: robot interaction, website design, psychology, brain function, etc.
Another thing I did was sign up to be a transcriber for disabled students. I would take notes (in classes I was already attending anyways) and just scan and send them to the student after the class. It paid a few hundred dollars per term, per class.
Paul @ The Frugal Toad says
As part of my financial aid package I was offerred a work-study position at the Library. That experience led to a job in the student aid accounting office and eventually a position working for the Controller of the University. It was a great work experience and those professional relationships helped me to land a finance position with a Fortune 100 Company.
Ben Groves says
What I did to pay for college is uncommon but it worked — I graduated not owing a cent. I enrolled in the four week TMS school I started my own design and marketing business and I would spend two days a week (when I was getting my undergraduate degree) hitting the streets of Tulsa, OK. I made about $4000 a week during that time. Now I am making 8k a week the same way. I am talking profit. I design logos, websites and apps. I knew nothing about It and still know nothing about coding. TMS school taught me everything I needed to know and I keep 100% of the profit. My tuition for TMS got payed in 2 weeks (that’s how cheap it is!)
Oh yes, that’s something I was searching for! I like pizza so the best way for me to earn money is via delivering pizza. I also like to talk to strangers so this is definetily the job for me!