When I started university I was surprised to find out that I was the only one out of my friends that planned to get a job during the school year. They all told me that with their heavy course load, they didn't think they could find an accommodating job that would work with their irregular schedules. Now, as I am halfway done with my undergrad, I've realized how many opportunities there are to make money as a university student, even with a heavy course load.
1. On-campus service jobs
Most student services and campus amenities such as the dining hall, food court, bookstore, gym, and library are run by other students. The great thing about campus jobs is that they have convenient hours (no late evenings and sometimes no weekends) and work around your school schedule. On-campus jobs usually have consistent shifts based on your semester's class schedule so that you are able to plan your study time accordingly in advance. As a bonus, you get paid to involve yourself in things you enjoy such as sports, fitness training, books, and the culinary arts.
2. Teaching/Marking Assistant
If you excelled in a course in a previous year, you may be eligible to apply for a teaching/marking assistant position for it. For this job, you set a couple hours a week aside to provide supplementary course help to students in the form of extra help drop-in sessions or a taught lab. During midterm and exam time, of course, you have to put in more hours to help mark exams, however usually this only requires 1 or 2 days of your time. Because those who are hired for these positions are the best of the best, you also get paid quite a bit over minimum wage which is impressive considering you're only a student.
Additionally, if you excelled in a course or subject area, you can provide tutoring services to others. This can be done through your university or freelance or both; it is entirely up to you. This is an extremely flexible job as you are able to set rates, times, amounts of students, and the education level (elementary, high school, or university) of the students you tutor. This is also a great addition to your resume because it shows that not only are you knowledgeable in a subject, but you also hold the skill set needed to pass that knowledge onto someone else effectively.
Essentially your only responsibility as a proctor is to supervise students as they take their exams. You make sure that they have access to all the resources they require for the exam and that they don't cheat. Also, because students aren't able to ask course/exam-related questions, you are not required to have any specialized knowledge. The shifts are short (the length of the exam with a little extra time before and after), your responsibilities are minimal, and because exams are inevitable (and thus the demand for proctors), you can continue to do this throughout your entire university career on the side.
5. Research studies
Universities constantly have ongoing research studies and oftentimes offer paid participation for their focus groups. Keep an eye out for ads around your school and online in case you fit the required demographic they are looking for. While the specific duties and responsibilities will vary by study, in the end, all they really want is for you to be yourself. What an easy way to make money! They also normally pay above minimum wage as an incentive for more participation.
6. Food delivery
If you are lucky enough to have access to your own vehicle as a university student, you can take advantage of the high demand for food delivery that comes with being in a university town. Often, especially during busy school weeks, students do not have the time or energy to go grocery shopping and cook for themselves. This is where you come in. You decide when you work, you keep all tips you make (usually along with a base rate set by the delivery service), and you can discover a bunch of new food places you'd never hear of otherwise!
7. Selling your stuff
This is always an option if you're tight on cash and the possibilities for what you choose to sell are endless. You can sell old textbooks, unwanted furniture, electronics, outgrown clothes, and much more. There are tons of buy/sell pages on Facebook with thousands of members so it is not difficult to find a buyer if you try. Students, especially, go through these pages because buying everything new is pricey and not everyone is able to afford that during university; odds are if you used something as a student, another student will have that same need for it when you decide to sell it later.
8. Returning alcohol containers
If you've seen the aftermath of Homecoming, Halloween, St. Patty's and other big events in a university town, you will know that the streets are always littered with abandoned alcohol cans and bottles. If you get up early enough the next day, you can personally collect all of them and bring them in to your local alcohol store/recycling facility (if they participate in this) and get the container deposits back for each one. While it is usually only a couple cents, when you have thousands of containers, it really adds up. Also, Mother Nature (and your university) will thank you. If not a money-making scheme, consider it a good deed done.
9. Odd jobs
If you browse websites like Kijiji, Craigslist, TaskRabbit as well as job search websites often, you will find many temporary errands people are looking to get done. These are typically one-time and only a couple hours of work but they pay cash and earn you enough money for a big grocery run or a night out by the end. The odd jobs on these sites are endless and range from manual labor, gardening, event help, data entry, or babysitting. As long as you are being careful with who you choose to work for, it is yet another easy way to make money with a busy schedule.
After a rather tough freshman year, I have come a long way in terms of finances and was able to successfully secure a part-time job for my junior year. Along with the potential other jobs I can still take on, there is no doubt that I'll make enough money to get me through the school year (without putting a strain on my academic schedule). Now the same can be said for you!
Lead Image Credit: Pexels