How To Make Money in College

Last updated March 20, 2024

Many college students face financial challenges. You have to deal with tuition fees, textbooks and mounting living expenses that make it harder to pursue higher education. As a result, students often struggle to make ends meet and don’t know how to earn money in college to cover their expenses. 

Fortunately, various opportunities are available on campus or through apps that allow you to make money while studying. Working part-time while in college also offers valuable work experience and helps you prepare for your future career.

Balancing work and academics is a proactive way toward financial independence, equipping you with diverse tools to succeed beyond the traditional classroom setting. Earning money while studying can be crucial, and we have provided some ideas and tips to help you earn extra cash.

On-campus employment opportunities

Federal work study

Work-study programs are designed to assist college students with financial needs by providing them with part-time employment opportunities while they pursue their studies. These programs allow you to earn income to help cover educational expenses. What sets work-study apart is that it is tailored to align with students’ academic commitments, providing flexible work hours that can accommodate class schedules and study sessions. The on-campus locations of these jobs offer convenience and foster a sense of community within the university setting.

Work-study positions are also strategically linked to financial aid, ensuring that the earnings do not negatively impact eligibility for grants or scholarships. Furman University provides numerous on-campus job opportunities for undergraduate students through enrollment services. As a student employee, you can gain valuable work experience, develop new strengths and skills and build self-confidence that will impact Furman and your future.

Examples of work-study program jobs you can find in the portal:

  • Student conference travel assistant
  • Student donor experience officer
  • America Reads/America Counts tutor
  • Student stagehand
  • Phonathon ambassador
  • Graphic design intern
  • Website and copy editor intern
  • Social media and digital marketing intern
  • Student research assistant
  • Administrative assistant
  • Student coordinator
  • Football video assistant
  • P2X student assistant
  • Student peer learning consultant
  • IT services student worker
  • Teaching assistant
  • Resident assistant


Internships are pivotal in enhancing academic learning and laying the groundwork for post-graduation opportunities. These hands-on experiences offer students a practical application of their classroom knowledge, bridging the gap between theory and real-world application. 

Gain experience, develop skills

Whether internships are paid or unpaid, the experiential learning gained is invaluable. Engaging in internships allows students to develop and refine essential skills, gain industry-specific insights and build a professional network. Exposure to a professional work environment equips students with a deeper understanding of their chosen field, making them more competitive in the job market upon graduation. For example, if you’re pursuing a degree in chemistry, an internship at a nearby lab will be a great complement to your college experience. 

In the end, internships contribute to personal and academic growth and serve as a launchpad for future career success. You’ll use your internship to gain knowledge and skills by applying your classroom experiences and pursuing your interests.

Make the most of the resources and expertise Furman’s Internship Office offers. We provide students the tools to find suitable internships for their desired careers. Additionally, students can apply for a fellowship, which offers support for unpaid or low-paid full-time internships (35-40 hours per week for 8-12 weeks or 280-320 hours over the summer).

Freelancing and online gigs

Freelancing platforms

If you’re wondering how to make money in college, freelance work is ideal. Freelancing offers financial gain with flexible opportunities like graphic design, content writing, gig economy and tutoring. It improves time management, communication and problem-solving skills and allows you to work on your own schedule. You could start your own business by researching the market for your services and promoting them through social media, word of mouth and other communication channels. 

  • The gig economy provides diverse short-term tasks, allowing students to choose projects that align with their interests and expertise. Platforms like Uber, Instacart, Doordash and Lyft offer such opportunities. Just make sure you stay safe and follow regulations when driving riders around.
  • Use your copywriting or design skills and offer your services on Fiverr, Rev (for transcription) or Upwork. 
  • Become a virtual assistant and help others stay on top of their inbox and admin tasks. 
  • Think outside the box by booking one-off jobs like landscaping, cleaning houses, dog walking, babysitting or organizing tasks. Advertise on social media, tell friends and offer first-time discounts. 
  • Participate in market research studies. A simple online search can help you find legitimate focus group and online survey opportunities that pay, where you test products or give your opinion for market research. Be cautious and verify the company before sharing your personal information.

Tutoring and academic assistance

Many students who excel in specific subjects offer expertise through peer tutoring services, helping their classmates work through their coursework. You can also organize study groups focusing on difficult courses, creating an environment of collaborative learning. 

You can charge a modest fee for tutoring services and study group facilitation, whether it’s a set of sessions, weekly meetings or just a one-off. Tutoring empowers you to take control of your education by using your skills as a resource that benefits others and contributes to your educational expenses. 

You can check with the employment office at your university or other local schools for opportunities. Alternatively, you can sign up to tutor through sites like Fiverr, where you can set your tutoring rate and help other high school and college students with their studies.

Creative ventures and hobbies

Social media and content creation

YouTube is a great platform to share your stories and earn money. You can create sponsored videos and show ads before or during your videos. Building up an audience takes time, but by consistently uploading engaging videos, you can monetize your channel through YouTube’s Partner Program and earn money through ads. You can also earn extra dollars through sponsorships.

Or you can consider influencer marketing through Instagram and TikTok if you already have a big following. College students can become social media influencers to earn an extra income. Use platforms like Instagram and TikTok to showcase your personality and talents. Campus influencers focus on creating content for fellow students, attracting brands interested in connecting with their target audience. Collaborating with brands can include sponsored posts, product reviews or hosting giveaways. Big companies hire students to promote their brands on college campuses. It’s a fun way to earn extra money, and sites like WhurkWhurk and Reppr make it easy to earn rewards while helping big brands.

Transform your online presence into a profitable partnership and earn extra money by becoming a campus influencer.

Flipping/reselling items

Selling vintage items or flipping thrift store finds can be a great way to earn some extra cash. If you’re someone who enjoys DIY projects or browsing through thrift stores, this might be the perfect side hustle. Take a moment to look around your home and you’ll likely find some items you no longer need, such as old textbooks, clothes or other useful things that you could sell online. 

There are many online platforms available for selling your items, or you could go old school and host a garage sale with some friends or family members. If you’re a crafty person, you might want to consider selling your creations on Etsy. It’s a great way to turn your hobby into a source of income.

Sports and fitness

So how else can you figure out how to make money in college? If you’re athletic and love participating in sports, personal training and refereeing are two fun options to consider. Personal training involves offering fitness sessions to fellow students or locals at the university or local gym. 

Refereeing at local leagues is another option and provides a steady income stream depending on how many games you work in. To find these opportunities, check with your campus fitness center for personal training inquiries or connect with local sports organizations seeking referees. This allows you to blend your interests with your pursuit of financial stability during college.

Managing finances and time

Tips for managing money

Managing finances can challenge college students who want to increase their income. However, having a budget mindset can make the journey more manageable. It’s not only about making money but also using it wisely. This doesn’t mean you can’t hang out with your friends. Follow these tips:

  • Allocate money for essentials, entertainment and treats. 
  • Set aside a portion of income for future needs and emergencies. 
  • Take into account student loan payments and upcoming rent. 

You can also use sites like Rakuten and Honey to earn cash back and coupons and save on the things that you’re already buying. 

As a college student, it can be challenging to earn extra money without sacrificing mental health. It’s easy to become overwhelmed with work and studies, but creating a strategy to prevent burnout is essential. It’s crucial to understand that taking breaks isn’t a luxury but a necessity. Whether it’s a short walk, a power nap or a Netflix break, taking time for oneself is essential for maintaining good mental health.

Tips for managing time

When managing study schedules and work commitments, prioritize tasks, set realistic goals and don’t hesitate to seek help. 

  • Keep your online calendar updated. Keep an up-to-date calendar so you don’t miss deadlines or over-book yourself. When in doubt, schedule your downtime as well. 
  • Communication is key. Let your employers and professors know your boundaries and give yourself buffers for deadlines.
  • Quality over quantity. Focusing on tasks one at a time ensures both academic success and financial gains without wearing yourself thin.

Learn how to make money in college

College can be a financial struggle, but there are many ways to stay financially afloat without compromising your studies. You can find work-study opportunities, freelance, tutor or even take up paid internships to make some extra cash. You can also tap into the gig economy to earn some more money on your own schedule. However, it’s important to remember that balancing your studies, work and well-being is crucial. With dedication and smart financial choices, you can overcome any financial challenges and graduate prepared for the real world.

The perspectives and thoughts shared in the Furman Blog belong solely to the author and may not align with the official stance or policies of Furman University. All referenced sources were accurate as of the date of publication.