Don’t believe the “broke college student” stereotype, because the truth is there’s plenty of ways to make money in college.
Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to be broke one.
Like all your fellow college students, you’re always in need of some extra money.
And while the siren song of student loans might seem appealing right now, remember that we’re in the midst of the biggest student loan crisis that the country has ever seen.
While lenders give these loans out like candy, it’s a much better idea to get a part-time job and build some know-how while you’re at it (so you can get ahead of that interest).
Just because you’re a college student doesn’t mean you have to be a broke one.
For many student jobs, you don’t even have to leave your dorm room. Lots of jobs allow you to set your own schedule, which means you can work during your spare time without causing class schedule conflicts.
Whether you only need a little bit of money to help you get by or you want to be rich by the time you graduate, here are 33 of our favorite ways to get your personal finances in order and earn cash in a big way while you’re still a student.
On-Campus Gigs for College Students
Your campus isn’t just a place for you to learn and make friends. Depending on the size of your college or university, hundreds or even thousands of people might toil tirelessly behind the scenes at your educational institution. These workers keep things running smoothly so you can get to class and study without any disruptions, and if you want to help others and potentially make a lot of money, consider an on-campus job.
1. Work as a Resident Assistant (RA)
The RA position is as old as dorms themselves. As long as there have been college students to be rowdy, there have been RAs to quiet them down, but putting a cork in rampant drunkenness isn’t the only duty of a resident assistant.
The average salary for a residential assistant is $26,830
In this position, you’ll also help students work through their emotional, financial, and relationship problems. While dorm mothers are all but extinct, RAs uphold this tradition by setting up group activities, providing educational advice, and serving as shoulders to cry on when freshmen get homesick two weeks into classes.
Keep in mind that being an RA is a lot of work for very little pay. In fact, you might not get paid at all; at many schools, the RA program offers free housing or meal vouchers to resident administrators instead of cash. Either way, you’ll save money and provide a necessary service when you choose this position.
2. Become a Teaching Assistant (TA)
In some cases, professors rely on TAs to teach classes almost entirely on their own. If you serve as a teaching assistant in an undergraduate course, however, you’ll probably stick to passing out handouts and helping students with questions after class.
The average salary for a teaching assistant is $26,260
Like many on-campus jobs, you might receive creative forms of compensation for your work as a TA. For instance, your college might provide TAs with reduced tuition in as payment instead of cash. If you decide you want to be a TA, choose your professor wisely; see if you can find former TAs for each of the professors you’re considering assisting, and make sure the prof you pick is relatively easy on his or her assistants.
3. Try Being a Research Assistant
Professors don’t only need help in the classroom. As a research assistant, you’ll help your professors perform important research that keeps the university afloat and helps struggling educators work their way toward tenure.
The work of a research assistant isn’t always glamorous. For instance, you might be stuck taking samples for hours, or your professor might task you with cleaning his or her entire lab. Along the way, however, you’ll learn more about what it takes to conduct research in real-world environments, and your grateful processors will be happy to serve as useful contacts once you graduate and start job hunting.
4. Work in the Bookstore
There’s no campus job more quintessential than working in the bookstore. Depending on your college or university, your job duties as a bookstore employee might be either carefree or onerous. Whatever the case may be, don’t go into your new bookstore job expecting you’ll be able to put your feet up on the counter and chat with your friends all day and still get paid.
Common duties as a campus bookstore employee include manning the register, stocking books, and helping students find the books they need. When it comes time to take inventory, you might work overtime, but otherwise, your job at the bookstore will be very accommodating of your class schedule and social needs as a student.
5. Give Tours of Your Campus
Do you love your campus? Then you should consider being a campus tour guide. Every year, hundreds of prospective students and their families visit your college or university to learn more about what life on campus is like, and as a tour guide, you’ll show off your college or university in a good light to help improve admissions. Part of your job as a campus tour guide will be to learn fun facts and historical details about your campus, which will deepen your experience as a student.
6. Work in the Campus Kitchens
Let’s be frank: There’s absolutely nothing glamorous about working for campus dining services. This job is messy, and it involves a lot of hard work.
However, working in the kitchen at your campus cafeteria does pay the bills, and if you have an interest in the culinary arts, understanding how food gets prepared for large groups can provide you with experiences you’ll draw upon throughout your adult life.
7. Drive Things Around Campus
Your college or university probably won’t let you drive the buses that ferry students to and from campus, but if you’re lucky, you might be able to score a job as a campus truck courier. Every department of your school needs supplies, and it’s often necessary to ferry items from one building or another for research projects. While on-campus driving jobs are usually relatively laid-back, you might need special licensing to be eligible for this type of gig.
8. Help Out at the Writing Center
Do you have some impressive writing skills? Then you’ll want to figure out where your school’s writing center is right away. Your job at the writing center will consist of helping your fellow students with a variety of different writing projects; on one day, you might be asked to help a student with a short story, and on the next, you might help someone else with a technical chemistry research paper.
Writing really your forte? Here’s how to become a freelance writer.
If you know the difference between AP and Chicago style and have a vague inkling of what an Oxford Comma is, you’ll be a valuable addition to your campus writing center. Along the way, you’ll hone your own writing skills and become better and conveying your thoughts and feelings to your peers.
9. Join the Maintenance Crew
If back-breaking labor is up your alley, being part of the campus maintenance crew will be a walk in the park. Have you ever wondered why your campus looks so green, pristine, and beautiful?
It’s because dozens of students like you have decided to dedicate a few hours out of their weeks to pitch in and mow the lawns, edge the turf, and perform all the other maintenance jobs that keep your school running smoothly. So, if you really like getting your hands dirty, offer your time to campus custodial services.
Just be prepared to clean up the consequences of college drunkenness and science experiments gone wrong.
Off-Campus Jobs for College Students
While working on campus can be convenient, do you really want to spend that much time shuffling back and forth between the same buildings where you go to classes every day? There’s a whole world out there that you’ll have to deal with as soon as you graduate, and there’s no better time to face it head-on than right now:
10. Be a Lyft or Uber Driver
Have a car? Sign up to be a Lyft or Uber driver. These ridesharing agencies are notoriously lax in their hiring standards; in fact, you aren’t even an employee when you drive for Uber or Lyft, which means they can pay you less and you don’t get any benefits.
Uber and Lyft made our list of the best ways to make money fast.
However, driving for a rideshare company is undeniably easy. You get paid for gas, and you get a small amount of money for each ride you successfully complete. Working for Uber won’t pay as much as a real job, but at least you’ll get a $4 tip you can use to get your favorite coffee drink every once in a while.
11. Deliver Items Around Town
Who wants to get up and go the store themselves these days? Apps like Postmates, GrubHub, Doordash, and UberEats provide people in major urban areas with the convenience of eating out without leaving the house.
Check out our Doordash review to learn how to make money delivering.
For these services to work, however, the operators of platforms like Postmates need people who are willing to deliver Chipotle, tequila, a fresh T-shirt, or whatever else somebody orders where it needs to go. If you don’t mind grocery shopping, you could even become an Instacart partner, which is a service that delivers groceries to busy moms and other people who can’t find the time to get to the supermarket on a given day.
12. Try Bartending
Bartending is one of the oldest college student jobs in town, but there’s a reason students still become bartenders by the thousands every year. Serving drinks is easy, and this job is a great way to make new friends and interact with your existing buddies outside of class.
If you become good at bartending, you could even make some serious cash. While bartenders don’t get paid much by the hour, you could easily bring in double or even triple your daily wages if you’re friendly, courteous, and serve up the alcohol with flair and without delay.
13. Do Tasks for Cash
TaskRabbit might not be available in your college town, but if it is, you’ll have access to a treasure trove of tiny gigs that you can use to make quick cash on the side. As a “Tasker,” you’ll be asked to do all sorts of things by members of your community. Whether it’s cleaning, home repairs, data entry, or market research, TaskRabbit can offer hundreds of different jobs that will get you through even the worst pre-finals cash shortage.
14. Stick with Tradition and Paint Houses
College students and painting houses simply go together. No one knows who first had the idea to put students up on ladders with brushes in their hands, but the concept has caught on like wildfire across the country. While painting houses as a student is labor-intensive, it can also be highly rewarding. We don’t mean morally; most student painting jobs pay well, and they often pay cash.
15. Give Bike Repair a Shot
If you know your way around a bike, you might be able to help your fellow students out as a bike repair guru. Your campus might have a dedicated bike shop that you can work at, and you can also advertise your services online.
16. Get a Job at Starbucks
You don’t have to work full-time to be a barista. Every college town in the United States is riddled with Starbucks locations, and this corporation is always looking to hire young, fresh-faced employees to serve up coffee and other delicious drinks in style.
Since it’s used to employing students, your local Starbucks will be more than happy to work with your schedule. Not digging the corporate vibe? Then consider working for an independent coffee shop that directly stimulates the economy of your local community.
17. Flex Your Tutoring Skills
By the time you’ve gotten to college, you’re supposed to know more than a high schooler. With this seniority comes opportunity; you can pass on your knowledge to those who know less than you. Whether it’s math, drama, or social studies, you can be both a tutor and a hero when you help younger students pass their classes and achieve their dreams.
18. Get a Summer Job
Some job opportunities only come seasonally. For instance, you can be a summertime agricultural worker, or you can save kids and adults from the dangers of the water as a seasonal lifeguard. What else are you going to be doing all summer besides partying anyway?
Online Jobs for College Students
There are tons of ways that you can make money online as a college student. If you’re like most students, you’ve got a pretty expensive laptop handy. Here are some of the best online jobs that you can use to make extra cash or even launch a career:
19. Make Money with Online Surveys
Doing surveys for money is a great way to make money on the side. Have you heard of Swagbucks? If not, check out our Swagbucks review. Using this platform isn’t the only way to make money by doing surveys and watching videos, but it’s definitely one of the best survey sites out there for college students or anyone else who wants to make money without leaving the house. Just watch out; some less reputable survey sites don’t pay nearly as much as they should.
20. Give Freelance Writing a Try
If you know how to write a research paper, you know how to write for cash online. While your fingers might already be numb from typing up your schoolwork every week, platforms like Textbroker and nDash can be great places to hone your writing skills and prepare for a language-intensive career.
21. Become a Virtual Assistant (VA)
Fancy helping businesses operate effectively from afar? Then you have what it takes to try your hand at being a virtual assistant. As a VA, you’ll do everything a physical personal assistant does from taking calls to reconciling schedules. As a native English speaker, you’ll be paid top-dollar for this work by corporations all over the world.
22. Make an Upwork Profile
If you have any freelance-worthy skills, Upwork is a platform you won’t want to miss. As a college student, you might not have enough experience to be accepted by this freelancer’s haven, but poring through the profiles on Upwork will at least give you an idea of some of the directions you can go.
23. Open an Etsy Shop
Whether you’re personally crafty or you know people who are, opening an Etsy shop can be a great way to make side cash as a college student. Aside from printing shipping labels and heading down to your local post office every once in a while, you can operate an Etsy shop with nothing more than a smartphone camera and a laptop.
24. Flex Your Social Media Skills
These days, companies all over the world are in need of competent social media consultants. If you know how to get and keep followers on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, you might want to make a portfolio as a social media consultant and reach out to potential leads.
25. Create YouTube Content
While it’s true that making money on YouTube isn’t as easy as it used to be, you can still set up great opportunities for yourself and make good money as a YouTube content creator if you give it your all. Even if you don’t make bank with your videos, you stand a chance of gaining notoriety in your channel’s chosen subject that could help you with your career. If making YouTube videos isn’t your thing, you can always get paid to watch videos, too.
Side Hustles for College Students
Many successful business owners had their founding ideas in college, and if you’re lucky, you could turn the crazy schemes you come up with in your free time into the type of career you could never have dreamed of in high school. Here are our top ways to make money on the side in college while making your own schedule and potentially developing business-worthy skills:
26. Provide Computer Technical Assistance
As a millennial or a member of Gen Z, you know more about computers than most people. From getting rid of viruses on a Vietnam vet’s desktop to figuring out why your neighbor’s mom can’t get her MacBook to boot up, helping out with computers can provide you with some quick cash even if you don’t advertise yourself.
27. Mix It up in the Club
Is the bass never quite loud enough for you? Then you might have what it takes to be an epic DJ. Your local bars and clubs might pay to have you mix a set or two on weeknights, and you can also build a dedicated following on SoundCloud that will persist long after your college years are over.
28. Try Personal Training
Fitness buffs take heed: You can make money just by helping other people stick to their fitness goals. Some gyms hire part-time personal trainers as staff members, but you can also offer your services on Craigslist.
29. Bring It Back to Basics with Babysitting
Everyone knows that college students make great babysitters. You’re old enough now to make sure that the kids you watch will brush their teeth and go to bed on time, and once they’re asleep, you can camp out in front of the TV with your laptop and textbooks until their parents get home.
Saving and Investing for College Students
What’s the best way to make money? Saving money. The more money you save today, the more cash you’ll have in your bank account tomorrow, and it’s never too early to start investing in the right places. Check out these tips for conserving your cash and using it wisely:
30. Sell Whatever You Don’t Need
Do you really need your Xbox? How about those vintage boots you’ve been lugging around for years? Getting rid of treasured possessions can be hard, but suffering a little bit of austerity now will keep you from being plagued with debt in the future. In addition to Craigslist, remember that your campus probably has an official classifieds site or a dedicated Facebook buying and selling page.
31. Build Your Skills
Remember that college is all about gaining skills you’ll use later in life. Just because you’re already enrolled in an academic program doesn’t mean you can’t take an online course in something you think will be useful down the road. At every possible opportunity, take time out of your day to make sure you’ll be well-equipped for your chosen career when the time comes.
32. Invest Spare Cash
Now that you’re earning a little bit each week, it’s time to start generating some passive income. You don’t have to be a millionaire to make meaningful investments; all you need is a couple hundred dollars in your PayPal account and access to an online investment tool like Betterment.
Check out our list of the best investing apps for beginners.
This robo-advisor automatically invests your cash in whatever opportunities it determines have the least risk and the best returns. If you have a little bit more cash to throw around, you can try a high-end robo-advisor like Vanguard, and tools like Robinhood will teach you the basics of investing while helping you build a solid portfolio.
33. Save Whenever You Can
Do you really need your own internet plan, or can you share with your buddy in the dorm room next to yours? Doesn’t your mom already have an HBO and a Netflix subscription? Do you need an unlimited data plan on your phone, or can you get by with campus Wi-Fi?
Put your savings on auto-pilot with Acorns.
Don’t be like the average college student who spends student loan money on pizza and beer. Make as much money as possible, and save all the funds you can to avoid digging yourself into a hole. College life isn’t supposed to be glamorous; you can enjoy the good life once you’ve found success in a high-paying career.
Ways To Make Money In College Wrap-Up
Every year, going to college gets more expensive. Whether you want to be a medical doctor or you’d prefer a career in graphic design or video game development, getting a college education for just nine months commonly costs more than the average family makes in a year.
Want more ideas on making money in college? Check out these other online jobs for college students.
When you set aside some time to make money on the side while you study, however, you can avoid some of the major financial pitfalls that await unwary college students. While most college jobs won’t pay nearly as well as the gigs you’ll get after you graduate, you can reduce the amount you’ll have to pay back later (with interest) by working for less today.
There’s no reason you need to be broke during your campus days. Pick one of the easy ways to make money in college we introduced you to, and start making bank today!