Earn While You Study: A Student’s Guide to Making Money In College


There’s no doubt that college is expensive. Many students graduate in tens of thousands of dollars of debt. Whether you want to avoid taking out more loans or just want a bit of extra spending money, it’s a smart idea to look for ways to earn money while you study. Not only can this help you get through a tough time, but it will set you up with the experience you need to get your first job after graduation.

On-Campus Jobs

When it comes to convenience, you can’t beat getting a job right on campus. From serving food to restocking books to taking notes for a professor, you’ll find that there are a wide variety of jobs. Unfortunately, the best ones go fast, so you should try to plan ahead if you want to get a good one. Talk to the hiring manager the day you get back to campus. Many schools offer a central place to find these types of jobs. If you’re not sure where to find this at your school, just ask.

Local Jobs

If the on-campus job isn’t cutting it, consider hitting the pavement in the local town. Retail stores, restaurants and other small businesses are often an ideal solution for college students because they don’t require employees to work full-time, and they often are willing to work around the student’s schedule. The best way to make this work is to try to arrange your school schedule so that you are always available at certain times. For example, it might be best to try to get all of your classes finished before noon so that you are always available to work at night.


Tutoring offers a great way of making money on the side. Look for students on campus or even at local elementary, middle and high schools. This can work particularly well if you have a specialized major like math, chemistry or English. These types of tutors are always in demand. However, you may also be able to get a job with a company that specializes in tutoring for tests like the SAT and ACT. If you want this type of gig, you’ll need to have excellent scores yourself.

Selling Unwanted Belongings

Garage sales can still earn you plenty of cash, but there are far more ways for you to make a bit of cash from your unwanted items. You can sell your iPhone if it’s broken or outdated, or take your old clothes to a consignment shop that offers cash on the spot. Last year’s textbooks could still fetch a fair price if you sell them through Amazon or a site like Half.com. Some companies will also give you money for your old smartphone after you’ve upgraded. Basically, you just need to have a look around your room. If there’s something you’re not using, find a way to sell it.


If you have a special skill, freelancing may be a good way to bring in some extra money. Graphic designers can work for small businesses who need advertising materials, writers might blog for companies and programmers can design apps. Sites like Freelancer.com or Upwork are a good place to start. It can take some time to build up your reputation on these sites, but once you do, it could become a steady source of income even after you graduate.

Resourceful students are always on the lookout for ways that they can bring in a bit of cash. By taking a good look at your talents and time constraints, you can find some ways to build up your income. Think outside the box and you may find yourself earning even more.

This article was contributed by guest author Emma Sturgis.