It has been well document that college students today who graduate are facing mounting challenges, see for example the post Medical School Student Costs in the U.S. are Affecting Mental Health. The cost of college is a primary barrier for many in the U.S. According to the article Why Is College in America So Expensive? appearing in The Atlantic (Amanda Ripley, 2018),
Americans spend about $30,000 per student a year—nearly twice as much as the average developed country.
For many families finding a creative way to pay for college can be the difference between being able to attend full-time. Below describe some of the traditional ways along with more clever ways to help pay for college.
Traditional routes to pay for college include scholarships. When looking for scholarship opportunities be sure to look far and wide. As many businesses and organizations may offer a scholarship that you may have not thought about, such as Melvin Brewing. Take time to do research as you may be very surprised at what you find. For example, collegevine has put together a list of the 16 Best Scholarships for High School Seniors. Number one on their list is the Dr. Pepper Tuition Giveaway which awards $100,000 in a football throwing competition occurring at college football games. Other more creative scholarships can be had if you have a specific medical condition or have a certain family heritage.
2. Traditional Part time Jobs and Gigs
Often when saving money for college, one thinks of someone waiting tables, lifeguarding, caddying or cutting lawns. There are many jobs for high school students and college students alike. Many of these jobs require a bit of manual labor which may appeal to some but not others. They also require interaction with others and thus people oriented skills are important. Those who start caddying early enough could even be awarded an Evans Scholarship in addition to the money they make on the golf course.
3. Game Show Prize Money
Popular game shows such as “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy” are both open to high school teenagers and college students. Jeopardy regular hosts a College Championship and a Teen Tournament where contestants win up to $100,000. Other game shows like “The Price Is Right” require the contestant to be 18 years old, but can also result in big pay days.
4. Flipping and Selling Items Online
These days there are lots of opportunities to flip and resell merchandise online for higher prices than what was paid. For example sites like eBay, Etsy, Craigslist, and NextDoor all allow you to see merchandise online. An approach to make money, could be to attend local garage sales and estate sales in your free time hunting for the best deals and then resell for a profit online. Depending on your interests, you could focus on a specific niche to resell such as trading cards, coins, or even concert tickets. If you are creative, you could for example, make your own handmade jewelry or face masks and sell it on Etsy.
5. Submitting Funny Videos to TV Shows
There is a lot of demand on certain TV shows like “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” for funny videos after medical procedures, like wisdom teeth extraction. This has been covered before on this site in the posts Woman wins $10,000 for funny video after wisdom teeth surgery and Woman wins $10,000 for paying it backward after wisdom teeth surgery, where two separate young woman both won $10,000 for videos after their wisdom teeth surgery. Thus it is best to hone in on a friend or family member for their video making skills if you are going to have any medical procedures done.
6. Social Media Influencer
There is a lot of money to be made being a social media influencer on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok. Forbes recently came out with a list of TikTok’s 7 Highest-Earning Stars (Abram Brown, Aug. 6, 2020), which is dominated by teenagers who made millions of dollars in a single year. Social media influencers make a lot of money by first attracting a large audience and then having sponsored content through partnering with large brands along with their own branded merchandise.
If you are attending college or will be soon, the above list provides some clever and traditional ideas to consider to help you pay your bills for college.