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Categorized | Paying For College

Making Money in College Without A Traditional Job

It’s your first year at college and the first time you’ve had access to a bank account and a credit card. At this point in late November, you’re probably finding yourself pretty strapped for cash after a few weeks of hard partying (and some of the upperclassmen might be feeling the strain as well).

But, with a full course load, extracurriculars, and an active social life, how are you supposed to hold down a real job to pay for the lifestyle?

Quick cash is easier to find than you think…

1) Sell Your Books

Don’t ever EVER give away your books for free. The turn around is so easy at the beginning and end of each semester. Not only do you get cash fast, but you also clear up the space in the broom cupboard that is your college double.

2) TAing

As long as you don’t have to do research for the professor, the life of a TA is pretty sweet. You have maybe a couple of sections a week that you have to lead, and it’s usually a discussion, a.k.a. BS Fridays. None of the students probably have done the Friday reading because they went out the night before. Also, in a lot of cases, the prof will probably have already provided you an answer key for each of the exams, which can probably graded during meal times.

3) Dining Services Card Swiper

If you’re at the main dining hall, this might be a bit of pain, but otherwise, at any on campus eatery, it is a very low stress job. One girl I know perfected the art of being able to swipe with one hand while holding her Anatomy of Sea Mammals textbook in the other hand. I think she graduated Phi Beta Kappa.

4) Help People Move In/Move Out

Get a group of friends together and arrive early on Move-in Day and help people lift heavy boxes and set up their rooms. Move-Out Day is even more profitable because everyone is exhausted by the time exams end and have no desire to pack up or throw things out. Charge a hefty fee to dispose of items and patch up holes in walls. Once word gets around the dorm, you’ll be in business for the long haul.

5) Dorm-Room Garage Sale

Sell your stuff. I’m sure you have a ton of it. More than that, if anyone in your dorm is trying to get rid of anything, take it and sell it on eBay or Amazon. It really can’t get much simpler than that.

6) Proctor the SATs

Check around the local high schools or contact the ETS/College Board and ask them if they’re in need of proctors. The gig pays $125 for 5 hours of just sitting in a room and making sure a bunch of high schoolers don’t cheat.

Earlier this month I proctored the October SAT, and the only difficult part was staying awake during the last 2 hours of the test. I had gone out and partied hard the night before, so I had a massive headache and was exhausted. Otherwise, it’s fantastic.

7) Alumni Call Center

The shifts last all of 2 hours, and it puts you in the position to talk to affluent alumni who could potentially hire you for summer internships and real jobs after you graduate from college.

8) Craigslist Miscellaneous Jobs

This may create the most grief because of the lack of screening process, but Craigslist always has ads for temp work, some of which can be completed entirely online. It’s a bit risky to go the Craigslist route because there is no accountability where your employer is concerned, but it’s something to at least browse to get an idea of the kinds of ads you could put up on your campus.

9) Baby-sit/Dog-sit for Professors

Ideally, you shouldn’t do this for any professor you currently have, because if anything happens to the kid or dog, you might see a dramatic drop in your GPA. Professors are always going off to conferences, and a lot of them probably live near campus. Not only do you get to hang out in their cribs, watch free TV, and eat free food, but you can probably get a good chunk of your homework done.

10) Invent Something

Put those entrepreneurial skills to use and make something creative or expose your campus to something new that is commonplace elsewhere. When I was a senior in college, these two guys I know started up a Dutch waffle company called Van Wafels. Stroop waffles are basically street food in Amsterdam, but they’re pretty pricy and difficult to find in Rhode Island. These guys started out by giving free samples on the main green, and eventually, the campus eateries started to stock their products.

Author Bio

Today’s guest article comes from Sara Tahir.  She is a managing editor at The Campus Companion, a college media network dedicated to helping college students academically, financially, socially, and spiritually. She graduated from Brown University in 2010 with an A.B. in English. She spent the year after college living in and traveling throughout China. Currently, she teaches Chinese and Urdu at the Wheeler School in Rhode Island.

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2 Responses to “Making Money in College Without A Traditional Job”

  1. I’ve always liked the idea of babysitting for extra money. Not only is it an easy job, but as a student you can do homework when the kids go to bed. Furthermore, you get a free meal if you babysit over meal time. It’s a great way to make extra money while in school.

  2. Megan says:

    This is a great list for students! I’d add editing and proofreading papers for other students – having a fresh pair of eyes on a paper is priceless, in theory, but can run $30-$50 a pop in reality, if you’e grammar is excellent!


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