- Personal Finance
On Campus Ways to Make Money for College Students
Nearly all college students are strapped for cash when they begin their studies. Paying thousands of dollars on books, tuition, room and board does not leave much money in the student's pocket. Fortunately, there are a number of easy ways to make money on campus.
While everyone would love to make money fast, it is not reasonable to expect a steady income without at least a little hard work or dedication. College campuses offer tons of opportunities for students to find part-time jobs and make extra money under the table. And the Internet opens up a whole new set of ways to make money online.
Every one of the money making methods below has worked for either close friends or me. But also be creative and on the look out for your own opportunities.
Make Money Online
I have listed this method first, simply because I think it is the worst. That is not to say money can't be made online. But it will be by far the slowest method and potentially the most time consuming. Simply put, college students need money quickly--both in terms of taking little time, and paying without delay. And the Internet doesn't usually satisfy these requirements.
That being said, if you really want to go the Internet route, there are better methods than others. Don't waste your time taking paid surveys. No matter how good a deal they seem, you'll waste a ton of time not qualifying for surveys and only make about $4 an hour when you do. Also, don't attempt any method that pays you based on advertising or page views. These methods might pay in the long-term, but you'll likely make little money while in school.
Instead, consider some of these options:
While there are tons of online tutoring opportunities, getting started with a reputable company such as Tutor.com will ensure you are not getting scammed. Tutoring sites such as these usually have a lengthy application and verification process. But once you finish, you will be able to get started working with students. Tutoring online has a number of benefits including flexible schedules and no travel required. But don't expect to make as much as you would as a private tutor.
Websites such as Textbroker.com will pay you per word to write articles on a variety of subjects. You don't have to be an expert writer to make $3.50 - $5.00 an article with relatively little effort. Revenue sharing websites offer greater potential earnings when trying to make money writing freelance. However, they offer no guarantees of payment and will require higher quality work.
While it is doubtful you will have a dorm room full of items to sell on EBay, it never hurts to keep an eye out for valuable junk. Especially during move-in and move-out, students are often selling their extra items around campus. Buying an item cheap and re-listing on EBay can provide a sizable, albeit infrequent, source of cash.
Get a Part-time Job
On the other hand, I think a part-time job is the best way for college students to make money. What you lose in scheduling flexibility is made up with a regular, steady income and reasonable pay. Plus, these jobs often require very little brainpower and can be a welcome break from the rigors of academics and extracurriculars.
Many universities offer centralized job listings for on-campus jobs. On-campus jobs generally pay slightly more than other jobs and should be searched before looking in the local community. Plus if you qualify for federal work-study, you can find some pretty interesting positions.
Some of the most common campus jobs include: bookstore worker, computing assistant, dining hall worker, event staff, library worker, and more. But there are also opportunities to work for university departments such as admissions, athletics, development, and academic offices.
Film and Photograph Campus Events
If you own a video camera or digital camera, you can likely make money filming and photographing campus events. A Capella groups, bands, theater productions, choirs, and others are always looking for people to document their performances. Depending on their needs, you might only be expected to show up and work a camera for a couple hours. Or, you might have to edit the footage and burn it to a DVD. Still, these types of gigs can pay $50 - $100 for a relatively small commitment.
And if you don't have your own equipment, you might still be in luck. Lots of campuses these days have computer labs and media centers where you can check out video cameras at no or little cost. Just don't forget a tripod. You won't get many return customers if you provide a shaky video.
Offer Services to Peers
Some college students are often too busy to get around to completing much needed chores. Others are simply not used to taking care of themselves. Both types of students are potential sources of income for the motivated money-maker.
There are countless opportunities to make money doing everyday activities that people simply don't enjoy doing. If you hate the activity, too, I recommend you choose something else. Don't sacrifice your sanity for a few dollars. But if you don't mind it, these suggestions and others can earn you a lot of extra money.
Cleaning / Laundry
College dorm rooms are generally defined by their filth. Trash piles up. Floors are never swept. And dirty clothes gather in the corner. Why not establish a weekly or biweekly cleaning program for some of your particularly messy dorm-mates? Or how about washing other's laundry for a flat fee per load? You might be surprised how many people will take you up on the offer and how much money you can make.
Nobody enjoys moving. Yet college students are constantly shuffling their belongings to new dorms, storage, apartments, or home. And since boxes are heavy and furniture bulky, the job cannot be done by one person alone. Gather some friends and charge a per-box or per-furniture fee to move items from one location to another. This method is a good way to start out the semester and make money for books.
Sell Used Textbooks
Speaking of books, they can be another good source of income. You can certainly consider selling your textbooks when you are done with them. (Though I advocate hanging on to those books you particularly enjoy or could possibly use as a resource in the future.) But you will also find the majority of your classmates also trying to get rid of their textbooks.
Bookstores offer buyback programs, but they pay a ridiculously low amount for used textbooks. Many students will sell their books back anyway simply because they don't want to deal with the hassle of selling on their own. This is where you can step-in and offer to sell textbooks for them. Either offer an amount greater than the bookstore or take a 20-30% commission from the actual sale.
Textbooks can be sold on campus classifieds or by approaching the students taking the class next semester. Or, websites such as Half.com or Amazon Marketplace provide a simple interface and no fees to list used textbooks online.
Depending on your expertise and experience level, you can often find a job tutoring. Some people prefer to tutor for local public schools while others tutor their peers in advanced subjects. Private tutoring jobs can pay between $30 and $60 an hour though sometimes college students are paid a little less when working with young students.
Assist Student Groups
Many student groups are in dire need of creative and technical talent. If you are good at creating logos, designing posters, building and administering websites, or any other high-demand skill, you could make a pretty penny offering your services on campus. Student groups will often spend a great deal of effort building their organization and raising-funds, but still have trouble communicating with their members and the larger community. Creating a professional image and proper publicity will go a long way if you can convince them to set-aside a marketing budget.
Students tend to forget that professors are people, too, and often have families with young kids. Stay attentive for professors who talk about their children or bring them to campus. You might be able to develop a closer relationship with these professors and be able to offer your services as a babysitter.
Of course prior experience and qualifications are essentially for any babysitting job. But if you meet the requirements, babysitting is a great way to make money. Plus, if the kids are well behaved, you could find yourself getting paid to work on your homework.
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What do you think?
Do you have any other suggestions for making money in college?