How to make $ as a college student

How to make $ as a college student

There are plenty of ways to make income as a college student. Most of my friends here at Caltech SURF or intern over the summer, and put their lump-sum salaries from research grants or internship paydays in savings, from which they siphon money during the year for eating out, traveling, or buying clothes, mechanical keyboards, arduinos, and the like. Many Caltech students (including myself) also work during the year. There are several well-known and accessible ways to do this, including:

  • Research For Pay

Students can arrange with their PIs to be paid (an amount determined by Caltech’s official payscale) for hours worked during the academic year.

  • Waiting House Dinners

I’m a waiter! Waiting pays $8/hour, so $12/night including set up (putting dishes out) and cleanup after dinner (cleaning the tables, and putting dishes and chairs away). The waitstaff in my house are a hilarious group of people, and we spend plenty of time goofing off and bonding, because we all eat dinner together before house dinner. You can become a house waiter after your second Frosh term, and each house has an application process. You get certified to handle food online, and then you’re good to go! You can wait as often as you want.

  • Grill Team

Similar to house waiters, Grill Team is in charge of Thursday night grill night. That’s right, students grill your steak on Thursdays! Grill Team members also go through food handling training (online course) and get trained in person by current Grill Team members. You can join after your second Frosh term. Pays similarly to waiting.

  • Blogging for admissions!

Pretty sweet job, if I do say so myself :P

  • Work Study

This is a federal program, and sometimes included in financial aid packages. For more information, call the financial aid office, or go on their website!

On top of ways to make money, college students are often interested in ways to save money. Turns out, many large retailers offer student discounts to anybody with a college ID! It’s always worth checking if whatever store you’re in has a student discount (including local restaurants), but here is a short list that may help while you’re shopping for your new dorm room:

  • Target
  • Apple
  • JCrew
  • Madewell
  • Pier 1
  • Urban Outfitters

And sooo many others. I’ve signed up for a service called Unidays which works with dozens of retailers (clothing, mainly) to allow you to get a discount when you checkout online with a university email address.

The biggest concern many incoming frosh have about expenses is buying textbooks. New copies of college texts can run $100-$400, which is plainly absurd. Luckily, Caltech frosh will amonst NEVER have to buy new textbooks. You will be able to borrow or purchase all of your textbooks for core classes for less than $30 each from upperclassmen, who most likely bought them from other students their freshman year. We have an online marketplace for books and furniture (on Donut, our student site) that you can access once you get on campus. If there are books you need for class (a new edition, or for a new course) that you can’t find on campus, there are a few places online I highly recommend for renting/buying used:

Places to rent textbooks cheaply:

  • Your campus bookstore! (Not so cheaply)

Places to buy used textbooks cheaply:

  • Your campus bookstore! (Not so cheaply)
  • Your upperclassmen friends!
  • Barnes and Noble <

Now, I’ve only scraped the tip of the iceberg when it comes to college expenses. Do you have any tips on how to save money while in school?