Money Saving 301

9 Ideas How to Make Money in College

September 15, 2023

We all know college is expensive, and it’s getting worse. From room and board to books and coursework, it all adds up fast.

Lots of students today are choosing part-time jobs to offset their college expenses. Others work to have spending money, to reduce the loans they need, or just to get job experience.  (In a financial emergency, students may want to investigate different financial options.)

While money may be the goal, it shouldn’t be the only consideration as college students choose part-time jobs. If you’re wondering how to make money as a college student, be sure to factor in:

  • Location. Students should think about the commute to work to avoid spending their paycheck on gas or transportation.
  • Schedule. Students should discuss schedule needs and agree to a weekly schedule with their employer. It’s best to get this information, plus pay, in writing or via email.
  • Pay. Students need to develop reasonable expectations for pay that line up with the job and the average marketplace pay for that job. Generally, the more education or skill required to do a job, the more it will pay.
  • Skills. Students should consider what they’re good at. If one is excellent at math and wants to teach after college, tutoring might be a good fit. If another is great with kids and is studying to be a preschool teacher, they might want to be a nanny. Capitalize on unique skills and abilities to find a good position.
  • Learning opportunities. College students should try to choose a job where they can gain professional skills or experience that will help them in their career, like time management and problem-solving. So even if a college internship pays a dollar less an hour than a retail job, the internship may still be the best choice. Job experience in an area related to their future career will give students a leg up in the post-college job market – and can even boost their long-term salary opportunities.

So, what are the best jobs for college students? Here are 9 ideas on how to make money in college.

Paid College Internships

Paid college internships and co-ops are fantastic options for college work. These positions usually pay reasonably well. They also give students an invaluable advantage in their post-college job search since many employers prefer to hire students with work experience.

Paid internships and co-op experiences may also influence a student’s earning potential. Students who have worked in a career-related internship or co-op may earn a higher starting salary after graduation since they are considered to have related work experience. Even if the internship isn’t the highest-paying opportunity, it may be the best option for a student to earn them more in the long run.

Food Service

Food service positions aren’t everyone’s cup of tea, but those with tipping opportunities can be lucrative. If a student is excellent with people and has a sense of urgency (they know how to hustle), working as a restaurant server or barista may be a good choice with good earning potential.

Choosing a busy location can make the job more challenging – but can also increase earning potential for students willing to work hard. Fancier restaurants may offer bigger tips for those with the skill set to handle high-end customers.

With barista employer Starbucks, students working part-time can also qualify for medical, dental, and vision coverage. Chipotle and other employers offer tuition reimbursement. Benefits like these can be a serious bonus for students and are worth considering.

On-Campus Jobs

On-campus jobs can be great for college students. The commute is minimal for those living on campus, so students don’t have to give part of their paycheck to transportation. Typical on-campus jobs also accommodate a student's schedule.

On-campus positions vary widely, so it’s possible to choose a role that interests you. Food service positions have regular hours and are often widely available. Resident Advisor (RA) positions are also popular since they often include room and/or board. There are academic positions, like working as a researcher or teaching assistant, as well as administrative positions, like working in university offices or the library. From serving as a campus ambassador doing tours to handing out towels at the campus gym, campus jobs offer a lot of variety and great experience.


Retail jobs can be a great part-time job opportunity. Some companies offer discounts, free items, and other side benefits that may factor into a student’s job choice. These jobs are widely available, and with tenure may include the opportunity to gain management experience – a bonus in any post-college career.

Students should research opportunities to find options that meet their needs and then compare the pay. If a student needs an immediate position/immediate income, they should ask how long they can expect the hiring process to take and when they will receive their first paycheck. Every company will handle these things differently.

Some retail companies offer tuition assistance or even scholarships, benefits worth looking for when choosing a retail job.

Gig Jobs and Freelancing

Gig jobs are the latest thing to hit the employment market. Since they allow employees to work when they want, gig jobs can be a great fit for college students.

From rideshare driving to food delivery to one-off editing or writing jobs, there are lots of side gig opportunities out there. Employers offering these positions include Uber, Lyft, DoorDash and many more.

Sites like Fiverr and Upwork also list a wide variety of remote gigs, which may be great online jobs for college students. While the pay isn’t always high, remote editing and writing gigs can give students important samples for their work portfolio, along with freelance experience.


Tutoring is a popular college job these days for students with the right skill set. There’s demand for help with college essay writing and the college application process, advanced math or science courses, and test prep for ACTs, SATs, and more. If a college student did well in these high school subjects and likes teaching others, or has tutored before, this can be an excellent (and flexible) part-time job.

It’s not difficult to find tutoring work. Companies that provide tutoring are popping up everywhere, like Varsity Tutors, Superprof, Grade Potential, and more. Some universities have positions available for professional tutors. Private tutoring positions are also available; these can be secured by connecting with school districts or sites like,, and others.

Tutoring jobs often require hours later in the day after many college courses are over, another reason college students may find a good fit in tutoring. Pay is significantly above minimum wage. Hours can vary, but the positions are generally flexible and may even allow for remote work.

Influencer or Brand Ambassador

Earning money from a social media presence may be a great fit for college students. Those who create content for YouTube and TikTok can earn money from the ads on their videos and pages.

A strong social media presence and following can earn college students hundreds or even thousands of dollars a month. The time commitment may be less than required for other work, and for students already creating content for a hobby, it won’t add much work.

Child Care

Child care and babysitting offer a reliable source of flexible employment for a college student.

Students who are excellent with children and are studying early childhood education or another education field make especially good candidates. These students may even wish to consider working as nannies.

Full- or part-time nanny positions can pay well; some even provide room, board, or transportation. Good communication skills will be vital to these roles since students must be able to work directly with children and parents.

Students considering nanny jobs should be certain to negotiate the hours and expectations in detail, getting these arrangements and the pay in writing. Since nannies typically work for private individuals, they’ll need to negotiate days off, maximum hours worked each week, whether there will be overtime and more. Agreeing to these details in writing protects both parties’ interests.

Home Maintenance

College students can also find work in home maintenance roles. These commonly include lawn care and landscaping, but may also include house painting, moving, house-sitting, and other jobs.

These jobs are a great fit for students who prefer to be outdoors or enjoy home improvement work. They’re also an excellent fit for those studying landscape design and similar areas. Students can find roles with companies, but can also consider doing these roles privately, though they’ll need to consider equipment, insurance, and any licensing or bonding requirements and costs.

Thankfully, there are a wide variety of jobs like these available to college students today. While working and going to school isn’t always easy, it may be a necessary evil as college costs continue to rise.

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