Courtesy of Yahoo Finance

By Eduardo Castillon

This is an independently submitted op-ed for our Quill section. Views and statements made in this article do not necessarily reflect the opinions of  The Tower.

Nobody needs to be told that college can be expensive and students always appreciate some extra cash in their pocket. But with just a bit of effort and spare time, students can make their wallet happy while still taking classes. After four years as an undergraduate student, I have collected some easy ways to make money that I wish I knew freshman year.

The first method for students is pretty obvious: getting a part-time on-campus job. any of these  jobs  are very flexible and schedule around your class time. Students can work for Events & Conference Services (ECS), Office of Campus Activities (OCA), the Mullen Library, and many others.  Oftentimes, like working as a Hall Security Assistant (HSA), you can even work on things while you’re at the job. However, it is important to consider that on-campus jobs tend to pay less than off-campus jobs, like waiting tables, tutoring, or even pet-sitting. You can also find these types of jobs on sites like Handshake.

At some point on campus, you may have seen a small ad written in the corner of your class’ white board. While I can’t confirm or deny if these links to weird URLs that change every semester are some sort of scam or phishing scheme; my general advice is to not follow suspicious links or emails promising ridiculous pay for little work. Since I’ve seen no one confirm who has written these ads around campus, your safest bet would likely be to not trust them. Your side gig shouldn’t sound like a get-rich-quick scheme.

A good approach to thinking about side gigs is to evaluate your skills. Good writers are hard sought after by many businesses, local or even online. Content writing is a valued skill for blogging, brand journalism, copywriting, ghost writing, technical writing, emails, newsletters, and many more. This type of work is creative and always in demand, but  can also be competitive. Make sure to have a good writing sample of relevant content before approaching any business. The task of writing becomes even easier with tools like Quillbot, which can assist in wording your thoughts in just the right way.

However, you might not be a skilled writer. And you might not  have the time for a part-time job alongside your school work. There are still some, albeit minor, ways that you can make just that extra bit of cash. One popular example is Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, a crowdsourcing tool used by many researchers to collect data. You could be making some spare cash simply by participating in surveys. Unfortunately, I’m not exaggerating how little money this provides, with one study finding the average money earned on MTurk to be between $1 and $6 an hour. 

Graphic design is a huge field, but similar to the content writing position, many businesses need web designers to update their sites with an attractive new look. This might seem like something outside of your skill set, but CUA actually gives students free access to LinkedIn Learning, a catalog of online courses that can help you learn software, design principles, and way more. Additionally, with sites designed to help design new sites, like Squarespace, Wix, or GoDaddy, the needed effort to become a web designer is much less than it has been in the past.

Undergraduate students in particular will have deeper knowledge of social media than much of the older generations. Students can use this to their advantage in seeking social media management jobs for brands, companies, or even local businesses. This is still a job however, so I’d recommend compiling a portfolio to help your pitch to employers. You can easily gain relevant experience from working as a digital content editor for a student organization on campus. 

I hope these examples have reassured students that there definitely are ways they can better support themselves and their interests. College students can always do with some more cash, even if just to cover groceriesWhile some methods take different amounts of time and effort, it is important to consider one’s schedule, giving ourselves time enough to relax and recuperate from work. It may feel impossible for some to jump from university straight into the workforce, but if you start work on the side, you’ll be much more comfortable easing yourself into it!

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