How to Make Money in College

There Are Exciting Job Possibilities to Make Money in College

Written by Jason

It is simple: I envisioned Campus to Career Crossroads helping students have successful outcomes, dreamed up by the students themselves. Our mission at Campus to Career Crossroads is to develop a supportive and individualized partnership with you and your family to help you navigate the complex stages from high school and throughout your career. Let's work together!

Last updated Apr 3, 2023 | Published on Sep 30, 2022

As a parent, you may be wondering how your child might be able to earn some extra money in college to either supplement the occasional pizza party or to help pay for tuition. You may be shelling out a lot of money for college and may have a serious desire to have your student help you take care of some of the costs. If you are a student, you may want to explore a wide variety of ways to make money before you make a final decision. 

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), many undergraduates aged 16 to 64 are employed while they are in school. As of the latest data collected in 2020, there were more undergraduate students who were employed part-time (74%) than full-time students (40%). 

In this piece, we will explore how to make money in college. We will also walk through a few considerations to think about as well as some creative side hustles to consider. Let’s get started.

Before Jumping In, Consider the Following

It is important to think about a few things before you get a job. Think about how much money you need to meet your needs and the number of hours you can commit per week.

How Much Money You Should Earn to Meet Your Needs

How much money do you need to survive and thrive during college? If you need cash in order to pay for an apartment, this is a much different consideration than putting together some money every week just to buy snacks. 

It is a good idea to put together your expenditures and budget. Whether you use a budgeting app or a good old-fashioned spreadsheet, a list of expenses can help you figure out how much you need per week and even per month. Here is how to do it. 

Set a College Budget to Track Expenses

First, gather your statements on items you owe. For example, take a look at any bills (yes, even that detested water bill), rent, car payments, and other recurring expenses. If you have some more variable expenses that crop up quite often, you may want to include things like groceries and haircuts. Creating a list of all of these expenses can help you learn your biggest expenses.

Are you spending too much? Try tracking your expenses into categories, such as fixed expenses (those that are necessary), flexible expenses (those that vary), and discretionary expenses (the money you spend for fun). Where can you cut back, especially in that discretionary category? If you order pizza five nights a week, you may find that you are spending a lot of money on one specific category — lots of yummy carbs!

Number of Hours You Can Commit Per Week 

As most people would agree that your main job is to take classes, you may be limited to the number of hours you can commit to a job per week. Many college experts recommend that you study for two to three hours per hour of class. Just that number alone can eat up a lot (a lot!) of your time! According to the Bates College student employment office, students may work a maximum of twenty hours per week (for federal work-study eligible students, non-work study students, international students, and U.S. residents). During holiday breaks, students can work a maximum of forty hours per week. There’s a reason for that — schoolwork comes first.

Working a moderate number of hours can result in students performing better in the classroom due to them being able to hone their time management skills. However, research shows that working too much can have negative effects. The BLS’s research indicates that students who worked more than 20 hours a week had much lower grade point averages — an average of 2.95.

Therefore, do not underestimate the time it will take to sit in on classes, study for exams, and complete all the homework necessary for each class. Do not forget about fitting your social life into your week as well.

A Fair Warning

Predatory jobs like multi-level marketing, pyramid schemes, get-rich-quick schemes, and other types of jobs can cause you to be duped and even duped out of money. 

Watch Out for Job Scams During College

For example, ads and emails offering you jobs as customer sales agents, mystery shoppers, or franchise opportunities may not be real. They may be offering jobs from financial services or insurance companies or encourage you to go all into franchised business programs that can cost thousands of dollars and not give you the rewards as promised. 

If you get emails, you may receive plain text emails (no images or company logos) and may show poor spelling and grammar. If they contain an attachment, do not click on it — they may contain a virus or other malware. 

If it sounds too good to be true, it is.

If You are Looking for a Part-Time Regular Job

Looking for a part-time job? Do you see yourself working in a restaurant or opting for another type of part-time job? Let’s take a look at a few considerations before you launch your part-time job.

Part-Time Jobs are a Great Way to Make Money in College

Help wanted hiring recruitment hanging sign on an orange background.

Idea 1: Work for Your School

Undergraduate and graduate students can access Federal Work-Study jobs, which are part-time jobs for students with financial need. It can help you earn money to pay for education expenses or other expenses. The schools that participate in the Federal Work-Study Program can award you work-study. Check with your school’s financial aid office to learn more about whether or not your school participates.

If you work on campus, you will likely work for your school. However, some for-profit employers might also offer work-study jobs for students. Private nonprofit organizations or public agencies might also offer work-study jobs connected to the school as well. 

You will earn at least minimum wage, paid by the hour. After you complete your first year in college, you may earn more than minimum wage. Here are a few examples of departments that may offer jobs: the admissions office, academic departments, food service, athletic facilities, the alumni office, grounds crew, and more.

In order to qualify for work-study, you must be awarded work-study money on your financial aid award from completing the FAFSA. You can apply for jobs through the student employment office of your college or university.

Completing the FAFSA Helps Qualify for Federal Work Study Jobs

What are the benefits of working on campus? You likely do not have to travel far to get to work! In addition, your school will respect your class time and will schedule around your classes and other activities. They know school comes first!

However, one of the major downsides is that you cannot earn as much as you want — you can only earn as much as you’ve been awarded on your financial aid award, which might only be a small amount, like $2,000.00. In addition to that, you will also likely only be able to earn just over minimum wage.

Idea 2: Work Part-Time in the Community

Where in the community might you be able to work? The sky’s the limit on how to make money. Here’s a quick look at a list of part-time jobs you might be able to get: 

  • Server
  • Barista
  • Sales associate
  • Social media assistant
  • Tour guide
  • Babysitter/pet sitter
  • Tutor

You may have to go through a regular interview process to get some of these jobs, whereas some jobs may work through word-of-mouth. 

For example, one neighbor might say to another, “Hey, I know this college student who is so great with dogs. She walked Fifi last week and Fifi just loves her.”

If You Are Looking for Creative Side Hustles

Why not consider creative side hustles to make money in college? You do not have to limit yourself to jobs in the community.

Be Creative in Thinking of Ways to Make Money In College

Idea 1: Sell your creative skills.

What types of creative skills do you have? Furniture making, graphic design, photography, knitting, pottery, etc. There is no limit to the number of creative skills you can provide for others. If you have creative skills worth sharing, package them up, market them, and sell them in your spare time. 

Idea 2: Flip domains.

Identifying the right domain names can bring a lot of money and if you find the right brand, they may pay you a hefty amount of money for the domain. For example, if you can pick a domain for $1,000.00 and then sell it for double that amount, you would double your investment. Keep on the lookout for domain names that could fetch a high price. Once you buy and register your domains, you can put them on an auction website like GoDaddy and Flippa and sell the site you own to the highest bidder.

Idea 3: Create an online course.

Do you have expert knowledge in something you’re learning in college or have you taught yourself something that a lot of people might pay to learn? Create a course to make passive income online using an online class platform like Teachable. Creating an in-demand course can allow you to sell the course over and over so that you get income from it for a long time. People can purchase the courses on repeat as long as you have them available. 

Consider not creating a lengthy course that goes over everything you have ever learned because that is difficult to pack in (and potentially way too much for your listeners). Put together one course, then another, and another over time in order to make more money from a variety of courses.

Idea 4: Become an affiliate marketer. 

Becoming an affiliate marketer takes a little effort because it requires buying a domain and creating a website. However, if you market to a specific niche and add affiliate links, you can make a small amount of money every time someone clicks on the link and purchases something. You may have to do a lot of work to get your website ready to build affiliate links, but you can use it to your advantage as a way to make passive income.

Affiliate Marketing Can Make You Money in College

Idea 5: Freelance.

Sites like Fiverr and Upwork can get you started on freelance writing, graphic design, web development, and more. These sites can help you get started but later on, you may start getting jobs by word of mouth. (You may get paid more for jobs you get via word of mouth too.) These freelance experiences may even relate to your major which can help you enter the workforce faster.

Idea 6: Sell class notes.

You can sell your class notes honestly nowadays using sites like Nexus Notes and StudySoup. Some student services departments at colleges may also pay students for their notes. If you are a good note taker, you may want to check with your college for ways you can use your notes for good.

Idea 7: Help college students market themselves.

Did you know that many job seekers do not know their strengths? Did you know they do not necessarily know how they can benefit a potential employer? College students need help getting jobs. If they don’t want to leave that to the career center (who might not help them develop their LinkedIn profile the way it should look!) they might look to you for help if you have a knack for this sort of thing!

Identify and market your capabilities through your own personal branding, résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. It can show students exactly how it should be done.

By the way, if that is not in your wheelhouse and you are not sure how to market yourself, Campus to Career Crossroads can help.

Do some research on side hustles. You can get so many ideas online, some that you may have never heard of but that may help you make money, such as starting a YouTube channel, Uber/Lyft driving, junk hauling, teaching music lessons, pet grooming, personal training, podcasting, coaching sports, putting on kids’ parties, pool cleaning, vehicle detailing — the list is endless!

Make Ends Meet in College

It can be a challenge to make all ends meet in college, particularly when you are paying tuition on top of everything else. However, there are ways to lessen the burden, and one way includes getting a part-time job in college.

Confused About How to Make Money in College? Campus to Career Crossroads Can Help!

With a little foresight, you may be able to connect your college studies to your work experiences. This winning combination will allow you to make money in college and help with your career launch!

At Campus to Career Crossroads, we can help you maximize your work experiences during college when applying for internships or full-time positions. Contact us today. 

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