How You Can Make Money in College Right Now

College kids are crazy. They’ll do anything for money. Spending an hour in a brain scanner? Why not? Everyone thinks they can beat the system and be great at blackjack, and who hasn’t tried a little online poker?

Donating blood for a free lunch is a no brainer. I did it for the cookies. And the t-shirt.

No college kid wants to put forth much effort in return for money, and getting a real job is out of the question. So here are five ways any college student can make a little money without taking too much time out of their “busy” schedules:

Sign up for studies between classes

The psychology, language, business, and anthropology departments were always recruiting students to participate in 30 or 45 minute studies for $10-$15 each. They didn’t require much work and they helped them do research. They paid well because most students didn’t know about these paying opportunities. Check out their websites and monitor them regularly to make sure you get first pick at time slots that fit your schedule.


Think that tutoring is only for nerds? Well, think about that class you aced last semester. Offer to help out students who are currently enrolled in that class. You’ll seem like a genius compared to them, plus you probably have old tests and notes that could be helpful. Hint: Advertise yourself right after the first test. That’s usually when students beg for extra credit and realize it’s time to take work seriously.

Do What You Know Best

During my freshman year, I was addicted to free cell. I played tens of thousands of games on my computer, and I was very god. So I went online and found a site that let me add money and bet others on who could finish a game faster. The site took 10 cents of every dollar, but soon I was winning weekly and monthly competitions. For me it was barely a gamble because I knew I was better than 90% of the people I played against.

Are you good with computers? Lots of college kids get viruses and don’t know where to turn. If you’re a guitarist, there are always dorm kids who want to learn but don’t want to pay much. Figures out what you’re best at and help others.

Sell Your Textbooks The Smart Way

Instead of heading over to the campus bookstore, where they will give you 40 cents on the dollar for your textbooks, try selling them to friends. Figure out the going rate and offer yours for a few dollars less. They’d rather give you the money than the bookstore, right? By cutting out the middle man, you’ll both benefit.

You can also try to buy your friends books for a few dollars more than the bookstore offers, then visit the class and offer it at the going rate. You save them the hassle of walking to the bookstore and you get a premium for your effort. You can also then turn around and sell books online.

Sell Drinks on Game Day

Ever been to a loaded parking lot for a September football game? Sometimes it gets HOT. Take a cooler, fill it with ice and cheap water bottles (this 24 for $4) and drinks and see if people will buy them for a dollar. I bet that beats the price of a drink once they get inside the stadium. If you can sell the whole case, you’ll make a cool $20.

Start Today

These tips won’t make you rich. But for the college student who doesn’t want to get a part-time job and doesn’t need a ton of money, a combination of these tactics could give you the pizza money that gambling probably can’t (not to mention the risk!).

This is a guest post from Daniel Packer of Sweating The Big Stuff.

5 thoughts on “How You Can Make Money in College Right Now”

  1. I’ve never been a fan of selling textbooks. I would always place a floor of what I would sell a book for and if it wouldn’t sell for more than that, I would just keep it. I’m happy with that decision as now I can go back to books I would have gotten just a few bucks for and get very useful information.

    1. Some of my books I kept because they’re worth having around for reference in the future.

      Most books I sold. Then there were those books that I simply couldn’t get rid of. I’ve had very bad luck when it comes to selling textbooks. It seems like my school has a new edition out almost every semester. I got 3 books in my bedroom that are just staring at me. I have absolutely no clue what to do with them. I’ve had a few close calls but then the buyer would find out that the edition I had was apparently “obsolete.”

  2. I think the Free Cell side job is the most creative side income I’ve ever heard. Congrats for being incredibly saavy.

    Amazon for textbooks always worked best for me. There’s ten million students out there who want your books and they’re willing to pay.

  3. Not a bad list of suggestions. I would definitely consider working for your college, as well; being a TA or RA I was a TA in college (for several different courses, actually) and enjoyed being able to help younger students and be paid pretty handsomely for doing so. The RAs seemed to have an even sweeter deal; rent free living in some of the nicer dorm rooms on campus and a nice stipend to boot. (Admittedly, if you have to deal with rowdy or otherwise contentious students, it could end up being a bit of a pain. But consider it practice for possibly being a landlord; if you don’t like dealing with problem residents for a semester at a time, how are you going to feel about dealing with them for years or decades?)

  4. When I was in college (2 years ago), there was a private company that paid for you to audit courses and take notes. The only requirements are: you have taken the course (recently; within two or three semesters, I think?!) and passed with an “A” or “B.”

    Not bad really. An hour’s worth of notes was $15. The private company, in turn, would sell the notes for $2 or $3 a copy. Pretty cheap for those who wanted to skip class… or had to work on a certain day.

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