“Broke college student” is a stereotype for a reason. Many of us don’t have jobs, or if we do, we’re being paid minimum wage. Tuition, books, room and board, and everything else
our parents we have to pay for are f*cking expensive. But there’s good news, too. College students are the future. The tremendous power we hold can and should be exploited! Brands know this, and companies view universities as the perfect test market, a place of young tastemakers whose opinions matter. We are as relevant as we’ll ever be in college, and it’s up to us to take advantage of that. And that means finessing as much free sh*t as we possibly can before our powerful student status runs out. If you’re wondering how your friend with under 1,000 followers is able to post #ad on her latest Instagram, or simply looking to save money, here are six ways to make money and get things for free in college.
1. Become A Campus Brand Ambassador
The days of being an unrealistically hot Instagram model in order to be an ambassador are long behind us. Today, the standard for entry is lower—MUCH lower. Companies are on the quest of gaining brand awareness. They’re increasingly willing to pay or give free sh*t to students to be campus representatives. Free bar tabs, merchandise, and even food can be major perks that come with being a rep. Your feed is probably sprinkled with
subtle yellow Bumble hats, #Beanoutsider, and #Aeriereal captions. However you choose to embark on your ambassador career, make the most of it! Becoming an ambassador is as easy as sliding in a brand’s DMs on Instagram or applying to be part of the ambassador directly through their website.
2. Be A Notetaker
Are you literate? Do you attend classes? Do you have a laptop? If you answered yes to these three questions, which I sure hope you did, you’re qualified to be a notetaker! By being a student notetaker, you can make hundreds of dollars for your class notes by the end of the semester. Make money for something you would be doing anyway! Whether it’s through an academic center to help someone who is actually unable to take notes, or a
dumb rich douche who doesn’t show up to class—money is money! There are general platforms, like OneClass, that let you apply to online, or you can reach out to your campus’s version of the Student Accessibility Services Department to see which classes are in need of notetakers.
3. Join A Research Study
I’m not talking about a Stanford Prison-type experiment. You won’t be locked up by some power-hungry fraternity dude or forced to do anything that requires crazy bodily commitment. I mean you can volunteer to be a test subject for various surveys and in-person studies on campus. Often times you can find out about these studies via flyers posted around campus hubs or by simply searching online for “research opportunities” at your university.
There are some really low-key research studies, and some are actually pretty fun. Payment for participation varies depending on the study and level of commitment. But honestly, any added value to your college bank account is worth it. For example, I made $300 just for talking about my feelings for two hours. It was like the therapist was paying ME for once. Win-win!
4. Pocket Points
Sitting in class. Texting your ex retracting the drunken Snapchats you sent. Making eye contact with the professor every few minutes to make it seem like you’re paying attention. Typical lecture behavior.
We’ve all done it, but if every few classes you feel guilty for having learned nothing, you’re in luck. Pocket points is an app that gives you rewards for turning your phone off during class. You just have to open the app while you’re on campus, then lock your phone. A few hours of actually paying attention and you can earn points. Points can be redeemed at a variety of local stores, restaurants, and even Lyft. What’s better motivation than that?
5. Student Discounts
Beyond a great education, the second most valuable thing your tuition gets you is a little plastic card, aka your student ID. Not only is your ID a lifeline to school, it also often gets you at least 10 percent off at salons, clothing stores, restaurants—you get my drift. You’ll either have to flash the merchant your student ID, enter a student email, or login through UNiDAYS to get the deals. But seriously, a sh*t-ton of places offer student discounts, you just have to do a little digging to find them. Hoooowever, since you didn’t read this whole thing to be shortchanged on intel, here’s some places I know off-hand* that give student discounts:
Clothes: Madewell, J. Crew, Steve Madden, Urban Outfitters, Toms, H&M, ASOS
Workout: Corepower Yoga, SoulCycle
Media: Wall Street Journal, New York Times
Tech: HBO, Apple Music, Spotify, Adobe Software, Amazon Prime
Transportation: Student Universe, Amtrak
Food: Dairy Queen, Arby’s, Chipotle, Buffalo Wild Wings
*Sometimes, participation may vary by location, but I haven’t had any problems with this list thus far!
As you can see, student status presents a multitude of opportunities for capitalization! Be creative, think outside the box, and reach out to random brands you love. Hell, maybe become an ~elusive~ female club promoter. Society values
its ability to exploit youth and for the next four years, we’re here to provide it.
Images: Joel Mott / Unsplash; Giphy (2)