Dorm room ramen noodles are a staple of college students across the country, even though they are far from a delicacy. So, what drives students to continue eating them? It is simple: noodles are cheap and college isn’t.
If you find yourself on day five of boiling water in the microwave for a package of $0.20 chicken-flavored noodles, it may be time to consider ways to make some money. After all, there are many job opportunities for college students that are available right on, or around, your campus.
Whether you’re looking to earn additional income in order to pay for tuition and living expenses, or to swap out Ramen for pizza and beer, here are a few of the many ways you can make money while pursuing your degree.
1. See if you qualify for work-study
If you’re looking to work while attending school, one of the first things you should do is to see if you qualify for work-study. Work-study is typically awarded as part of your financial aid package, so it is important to remember that not all students will qualify. To find out if you do, refer to your financial aid package or check in with your school’s financial aid office.
If you do qualify for work-study, there are likely a wide variety of on-campus jobs available to you, from working in the dining hall to assisting different departments and offices at your school. Typically, these jobs are part-time and leave you with plenty of time to focus on your studies.
If you don’t qualify for work-study, don’t give up on working on campus right away. At many colleges, there are still a limited number of non-work-study jobs available for students. To find job listings, check your campus’s website or search through a local job board.
2. Get a part-time job close to campus
If you’re unable to get a job on campus, you should consider looking for a part-time job off-campus. Luckily, in a college town, there are often many of these jobs available. Popular part-time jobs for college students include cashiering at supermarkets and preparing pizzas at local pizza shops. Even small business owners, like your favorite downtown bookstore, are usually open to hiring college students for part-time work – especially if it is the busy holiday season.
When applying for a part-time job off-campus, be sure to be upfront about your status as a student and let potential employers understand that your schedule includes schoolwork on most weekdays. This will help you and your employer prevent any scheduling issues that may otherwise arise.
3. Take surveys online
It’s easier than ever to earn some spare cash by taking surveys online. And the good news is there are tons of legit survey sites to help you earn some extra cash – especially when you have some downtime.
What’s involved? Most surveys take anywhere between 15-20 minutes up to an hour. And the majority of sites pay you in “points” which represent a dollar value. The key is building up your points so you can cash in the points for cash.
A word of caution though: not every survey site is equally reputable, nor as profitable as others. I can say that Swagbucks, MyPoints, and Fetch Rewards are good options to check out. The payout for each survey is typically only a few dollars, so the earning potential for these websites is fairly limited.
That said, it can be a great way to earn a little extra income in your spare time, whether you’re using the extra cash to pay rent or just for your pizza and beer fund.
4. Sell old textbooks
Textbooks are expensive, and if you’re a college student, odds are you’ve accumulated a few during your studies. Luckily, you can sell your old textbooks to make a few extra bucks.
To do so, check with your campus bookstore first. Many times, you can count on them to buy back the books that they sold to you. If your’s doesn’t buy back used copies, or you don’t like what they offer to pay, I recommend posting your textbooks on local buy/sell boards. Not only are other students likely to be selling their used books in the same place, but many others will be looking to purchase them.
If you would rather sell your used books online, check out buyback platforms like BookScouter, eCampus, and the original used bookseller, Amazon.
5. Sell gently used clothes
Have you been meaning to pare down your wardrobe? It’s easier than ever to sell gently used clothes online to make a little extra money on the side. Not only is selling old clothes a great way to make money, but it also helps to recycle old items and give them new life rather than just throwing them out.
Sites like Poshmark, thredUp, and Tradesy are popular platforms for selling online. You can also sell your clothes in-person at thrift and consignment stores. Or, at my college, students frequently used Facebook Marketplace to sell their clothes to other students on campus.
6. Walk dogs
I worked as a dog walker during a gap year between college and graduate school, and it was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had! If you love animals and are looking to spend more time outdoors, dog walking is a great choice to make some extra money. It’s also a low-key and relaxing option if you’re an introvert or looking for a job where you don’t have to deal with people. Best of all, for college students, it is an easy job to fit in between classes and study sessions. You may even find that you keep off the “Freshman 15” a little easier.
You can offer dog walking services on your own, or apply to work for a dog walking company in your area. Just like with babysitting kids, a great place to offer up your service is around campus.
7. Offer tutoring services
Are you a really good writer, a whiz at organic chemistry, or a history nerd? Chances are you can offer your services to your peers as a personal tutor. If your college or university has a tutoring center, look into applying to work there as an official tutor. If that’s not an option, you can also offer private tutoring services for students who need a little extra help. In fact, you might make even more money by offering your tutoring services privately.
You can let your peers know about tutoring in person, post flyers around campus, and even advertise your services online. If you’re interested in tutoring younger students, many public schools hire college students to tutor students or to help with homework after school.
8. Get a paid internship
Internships are a valuable opportunity to develop work-related skills and launch your career. Not all internships are paid, so be sure to look for internships that offer compensation, not just college credit.
Internships are also a great time to make connections within the industry that you hope to pursue a career in. If there’s a company that you’d love to work for, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to them directly, even if they’re not currently hiring. Many small companies and startups are happy to work with interns, even if they don’t have established internship programs already set up.
9. Become an RA
If you live on campus and don’t mind the responsibility that comes with the position, consider applying to work as a resident assistant, or RA. RAs are typically responsible for ensuring that younger students are safe, happy, and healthy while at school.
As an RA, you may be in charge of supervising students, providing assistance if any medical or interpersonal issues arise, and being a point of contact in case of emergencies.
While specific policies vary from school to school, most RAs receive free student housing as part of their compensation, along with an additional stipend. Being an RA involves a significant amount of responsibility and may require you to spend most of your evenings on campus. So you should think carefully about the job requirements before applying.
Whether you’ve been babysitting from a young age or are looking to break into babysitting during college, this is a great choice for students looking to earn a little extra income. Since many parents look for babysitting help on evenings and weekends, those with more traditional class schedules often enjoy this job. Better yet, when the kids go to bed, you can study!
While you could find babysitting clients through babysitting websites, like Care.com, or even handmade flyers, college students have a unique pool of clients right on campus. If you are comfortable (and your school does not have a policy against it), consider approaching professors and administrators at your school with your desire to make money babysitting. Not only are you likely to find at least one professor who can’t seem to find someone to watch their kids during their night class, but word will quickly travel, and you could find yourself making a steady part-time income.
Before you begin babysitting, you should consider getting certified in first aid and CPR. This certificate can give clients peace of mind while adding an extra few dollars to your hourly rate.
11. Apply for scholarships
If you’re a good student looking for additional funding, scholarships are a great way to gain access to them. There are many different kinds of scholarships that you can apply for, including scholarships for students with good grades, students studying particular subjects, and students from minority groups.
Depending on your school’s policies, any scholarships you receive may be deducted from your financial aid, so be sure to check with your school’s financial aid office to see how a scholarship will affect your aid before officially accepting. Also, it is important to note that many scholarships require you to use the funds for specific, college-related, expenses.
12. Start a small business with your friends and classmates
Have a business idea that you’ve always wanted to try? College is a great time to start a business, especially if you’re starting a joint venture with friends or classmates. While the options are endless when it comes to business ideas, popular business options include tech, marketing, eCommerce, and services like landscaping and shoveling.
Starting a business requires a lot of work upfront, and your business isn’t guaranteed to make money, especially not at first. Because of this, starting a business may not be the best option for students who need funds fast. That said, it’s a great option for students who want to grow their skills with a side hustle. For some college grads, the businesses they started while in school developed into full-time careers!
13. Get in touch with career services
If you’re struggling to find a way to earn money and aren’t sure where to start, it’s a good idea to check in with career services. While many students think of career services as primarily helping students find jobs after graduation, they can also help you while you’re still in school.
Career service departments often receive requests from local businesses, as well as community members, who are looking for college students ready to work. Whether this means helping elderly folks learn to operate their computers, or working for a small business near campus, career services is often full of leads for part-time ways to make money while still in school.
14. Become a freelance writer
If you ace all your English classes, you could make some serious money on the side as a freelance writer. Freelance writers typically write content for a company’s blog, website, emails, marketing materials, and more. If you’re just starting out, don’t be afraid to take a couple of lower-paying jobs to brush up your skills and build your portfolio. Then, you can apply for more work with companies and clients using your previous work samples. You can also find freelance writing jobs on platforms like Problogger and Upwork.
15. Sell your art
Are you a talented artist in your own right? If so, you can make extra money by selling your finished art to customers and taking commissions for new pieces. Many digital artists also sell their work through platforms like Redbubble and Society6. There are plenty of niches to choose from, from custom portraits to experimental art and everywhere in between.
16. Work as a delivery driver
Have some free time and a car? You can make some extra cash by working as a delivery driver. Apps like Dumpling, Chownow, and Chowhound make it easy to sign up and score your first delivery orders, and are often better for workers, retailers, and restaurants than other apps. You can also work as a delivery driver for local restaurants that offer delivery themselves.
If other apps aren’t available in your area, you can download more common apps like DoorDash, GrubHub, UberEats, and Instacart to deliver food and groceries to local customers.
17. Flip items on Craigslist
College campuses are filled with free things. Other students (and professors) are usually looking to get rid of old stuff. With a little bit of time, effort, and know-how, you can make some extra cash by flipping these items on Craigslist and similar platforms.
At its most simple, this means finding free or cheap items, enhancing or refurbishing them, and then selling them for a higher price. Other ways to flip used items and give them a second life include reupholstering couches and chairs, repainting old furniture, and fixing broken electronics.
While college is typically a time when students are on a strict budget, there are more ways than ever to make money while still in school. Even if you have a busy schedule full of classes, extracurricular activities, and social events, there are ways to make a little extra cash in your spare time.