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Top 5 ways to earn money at university

Going to university is a very costly thing to do, and with rising tuition fees, many people can feel priced out of this opportunity. However, school pupils shouldn’t dismiss the idea of entering higher education just because of its costs. Not only are there several bursaries and loans you can take out these days to cover the expenses not taken care of by student loans, but there are also a number of ways you can earn money while at uni.

Here are just a few ideas on how you can raise some cash so you can really enjoy your university experience.

1)      Sell old items

If things are as they were when I was a student, most young people will still have lots of belongings that end up cluttering up a small room. The truth is, you don’t really need all the things you have picked up over the last few months and years. While you might have arrived at university with only a car load of items, you now have enough to cover your entire room.

Indeed, those fancy dress costumes, CDs, DVDs, and once fashionable items of clothes seemed like such a good idea at the time, but now they are taking up valuable space – and, let’s face it, you probably won’t really use them again, will you? So, perhaps the best thing you could do if you’re short on cash is sell them on to someone who will still get good use out of them.

Students these days are very au fait with using online auction sites, and these certainly present great opportunities for you to sell clothes, music, films, posters, books and other knick knacks you’ve accumulated. While you can’t expect a lot of money for each item (you are marketing your belongings to other students, after all!), you will quickly see your funds creep up if you keep on recycling your goods.

One of the most profitable things you can sell are text books that you no longer need, but are still required by younger years studying the same course as you. Of course, I’m not suggesting you get rid of tomes you still need to pass your exams, but if they are not useful to your studies anymore, you can earn quite a bit of money selling them for a slightly lower amount than in nearby bookshops.

2)      Make the most of your skills

If you’re have a particular skill, be it singing, playing a music instrument or you are especially good at a subject, you’re very lucky indeed. Not only can you carry this talent with you for the rest of your life, but you can also ‘sell your skill’ by teaching it to others.

Children and adults alike are always eager to learn something new, whether it’s playing the piano, learning how to act or taking up yoga, so you could impart valuable skills to them. If you are interested in doing this, it is important you do your homework first and find out whether you need any specific qualifications to tutor your talents to one or more people.

Once you are able to teach others, you can advertise in local shops, at your university, and even in the newspaper for a small fee. While you won’t earn as much as if you had a full-time job, you can easily pick up some extra cash that will pay for a night out once in a while!

3)      Review music online

For lots of students, music plays a big part in their university experience. So, many people will jump at the chance of being able to earn money from something they love. I’m not saying you have to try to carve out a career in music – after all, not all of us are budding guitarists or lead singers, are we? – but you can pick up some cash by simply reviewing unsigned bands.

There are sites such as where you can listen to a song and write what you think about it. You need to have a lot of activity on the website before you can begin to charge more for each review, and the more you do, the more profitable the initiative will be for you.

If you love music, and you’d be more than happy to review bands in your spare time anyway, you can do so and earn a bit of cash in the meantime.

4)      Become a mystery shopper

Something that was very popular with students when I was at university was mystery shopping. You can sign up to specific websites that use mystery shoppers to rate customer experience of certain companies.

In return for your feedback, you can earn money for the time you put in to being an ‘undercover’ shopper. What’s more, you will also receive whatever you have been asked to buy for free; so you could find yourself with clothes, groceries or dining out without paying a penny!

5)      Get a side job

This is perhaps the most obvious solution to getting more money while at university – and it is certainly the most profitable. Having a job on the side of your university studies will enable you to substantially supplement your student loan or other allowance.

There are several types of jobs you can look for; working in restaurants or bars is a popular option, as it means you are available during the day to attend all your lectures. Alternatively, lots of students prefer to work in a café, fast-food outlet or shop, which will enable them to choose their shifts and be more flexible with their time – there won’t be any conflict with working and going out with your friends this way!

Don’t think your options are restricted to these though, as there are alternative positions you can take part in at university. For instance, you could work in a library, join a temping agency, or boost your work experience portfolio by finding a part-time job that is relevant to your chosen career.

Whatever you do, don’t forget that your primary objective for being at university is to do well in your studies – so don’t let your desire to earn more money get in the way of this. There’s plenty of time to earn cash once you’ve left academia, so make sure you study hard and enjoy your student experience as much as you can … while you can!


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