The Student Intern’s Guide to Making Money on the Side

September 15, 2009 at 10:09 pm 3 comments

We interrupt our series on How Entrepreneurs Are Going Global to bring you a guest blogger: Wharton student Eric Morris. Eric shares tips with our readers on holding down a paying job while doing an unpaid internship.

More than ever, students are shying away from the usual extracurricular activities of high school life for more unique opportunities in their local communities.  There are two main reasons for this evolution.  First, those hard-to-come-by opportunities in the summer are easier to land when fewer students are applying for them in the school year.  Second, employers understand the constraints of school and are more willing to allow flexibility in the student’s working schedule.   These two reasons explain why it has been easier for students to dip their toes into the internship pool during the school year than summer months.

For example, a few years ago as a junior in high school,  I was interested in international development and found an internship at the Public Service Center at M.I.T.  However, even traveling to M.I.T. made this job a net negative on my bank account.  I had found that perfect internship, yet still needed that extra gas money. Where do could I find a job to actually make money?   Students across the country are making their high school experiences the “earning years” as well as the “learning years”.  Here’s how:

 1. Tutoring. If you happen to be great at a certain subject, consider tutoring in it.  Post your resume at your local town hall and tell your friends’ parents to spread the word to everyone they know.  You can arrange a time to meet that will work around you job schedule and the pay is great.  You are probably much more affordable than professional private tutors in your area too!

 2. Writing . How does writing articles for the newspaper sound?  Town newspapers are often looking for more students to write up anything from movie reviews to sporting events.  Not only will this look great on your resume, but learning how to complete articles by deadlines will help you practice your writing and organizational skills.  Additionally, the job usually pays per article, so whenever you feel too overloaded with schoolwork, just don’t ask your editor for another assignment.  I wrote for my local paper and eventually had some of my articles published in the metropolitan paper as well!

 3. Waiter/Waitress. If you are looking for even more money, as I was, consider being a waiter!  I worked weekend nights, so not to interfere with my homework, at a local pizza restaurant and earned enough through tips to keep my piggy bank pretty full for my taste.  The job also taught me how to interact with customers and through conversations with the manager, I learned the nuts and bolts of running a business.

 4. Jack/Jane of all Trades. In the market for a less academic job?  Look no further than your local town hall’s job listings for plenty of tasks that involve errand running, cleaning, and moving chores.  Senior citizens are always in need of such assistance and once you please your first client, you now have a happy senior who will first look to you for all of his or her various needs.

 So that just about does it for my money-making suggestions.  For full disclosure, there are plenty of other opportunities to look into as a student.  However, the ones I discussed above are what I believe to be the most entrepreneurial and worthwhile.  Not only did these jobs help me financially when I arrived on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, the experiences I had while working many of these side jobs helped me both excel academically in and outside the classroom.  Hopefully they will help you as well.


Entry filed under: Intern, Money, Young Entrepreneur. Tags: , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. gary  |  December 2, 2009 at 5:28 am

    Some of your ideas may sound unsavory but trust a brother who knows that it has worked for me!

    Thanks for reminding the world that we all dont get rich overnight…sometimes you gotta get down n dirty to get up n clean.

    All the best!

  • 2. cyrene boston  |  February 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    nice post..this is really a great info..i wanna share this site too..
    Money Guide
    Everything you need to know about your finances.

  • 3. PremierInterns  |  March 23, 2010 at 3:05 am

    Great article. I just wanted to share a website with everyone who is looking to partake in an internship. Please visit Its a place where employers and interns can go to find one another. Registration and usage of the site is free for interns. We’re basically trying to simplify the process of finding and applying for internships. Please feel free to shoot us an email if you have any questions regarding our company or what we do. Thanks.


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