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Side Gigs for Grad Students

Two female students working on laptops

Education has the power to help transform your life. We see evidence of this everyday as we hear our students’ success stories. Going back to school however, is challenging, especially at the graduate level. Not only does earning a degree take a considerable amount of your time, it also requires a financial commitment. 

The reward, however, makes the journey worth it for many students. In the article “Higher education, wages and polarization,” economist Rob Valletta said:

“…individuals holding a post-graduate degree are in an increasingly favorable labor market situation compared with the college-only group, especially since 2000.” (Reserve Board of San Francisco, Economic Letter, January 2015

The Bureau of Labor Statistics( BLS) Monthly Labor Review quoted Valetta, and added that those with a graduate degree have a “direct, competitive advantage over other college graduates when it comes to getting well-paid job” (Maureen Soyars, BLS, Thinking of going to grad school? This study says it will be worth it” April 2016)

So while it’s easy to see the advantages of higher education, including at the master’s and doctoral level, the financial challenge of paying for school remains. Apart from traditional financial aid routes, many students look for flexible, less formal streams of income that can help them.

Flexible side jobs for students

Side work can help students improve their financial status as they move toward their ultimate goal of earning their degree. Because time is limited for students, flexible work that doesn’t require a strict schedule is optimal. For many, online or remote work is most desirable because it’s convenient and allows you to juggle multiple side gigs from the comfort of your home.  

Here are a few ideas for students interested in exploring options for earning extra income on the side:

Tutor: If you have knowledge to share, you may be able to tutor others and make some extra money in the process. While you can look locally for students at all levels, based on your own level of knowledge, you can also tutor online through services like VarsityTutor and Qkids.

Virtual Assistant and online work:  There are services online that allow you to work remotely, completing a range of online tasks from writing social media posts to giving your feedback on new websites. Upwork and UserTesting are two popular sites that specialize in this type of side work.

Ride share driver: If you have a car and free time, you may be able to earn extra money through ride sharing services like Lyft and Uber. These are truly flexible options that allow you complete control over when and how much you work.

Food delivery: The rise of ride share companies has led to a similar revolution in the food delivery industry. You can essentially make side money on your own schedule with freelance food delivery through companies like Doordash and Ubereats.

You can also use your creativity and business savvy to start you own niche business using your interests and unique skills. Taking this route can help you create extra income while maintaining complete control over your schedule. It may also help you jump start a business venture that lasts long past your days as a student!

Do you have a great idea for side work or an interesting story of how you worked your way through college? Please share it with us on Facebook, Twitter or Linked In.