Sunday, July 15, 2012

How to Make Money In College

Many students have money trouble in college. Not everyone's parents are willing to take care of the bill and some students just want a chance to make some extra spending money. Pre-med students in particular need to be smart with their money due to the steep price of affording med school in addition to college.

The best way you can cut down on debt and make a comfortable life for yourself is to start earning money as soon as possible. There are many ways you can do this while a student, although some are more efficient than others. You will need to find methods that don't interrupt your busy lifestyle or get in the way of harming your med school application. If you can't handle a part-time job while also studying hard to get good grades and volunteering or shadowing a physician, then you should get rid of the part-time job.

I'm not trying to say that it's not good to have a part-time job. It can be a great way to make money  and it provides a (tiny) bonus on your application. However, if you seriously want to be a doctor then you need to think long-term. You will make much more money in your lifetime if you lose the job and do everything you can to make sure you get into med school.

And I understand that there will be some students that absolutely need the money to pay rent or eat or pay their bills. My recommendation is to try alternative ways of making money that require less time and don't get in the way of your duties as a pre-med student. If this isn't feasible or you just make better money with your job, then you might as well keep it. Try your best to manage your time well and still make yourself a stellar applicant so you can get into med school.

Here are some different ways to make money while in school:

"Donate" Plasma

Donating plasma can be a great way to pick up extra cash while giving very little effort. If you don't mind a little bit of pain and you are willing to sit around for an hour or so, then you can make some decent money donating plasma. Most plasma centers let you donate up to twice a week and pay 20-30 dollars per session. You can make hundreds of dollars a month just selling your plasma! Make sure you drink a lot of water and eat enough to help prevent weakness and dizziness.


Whether or not you are hired as a private tutor or work for a tutoring organization, tutoring can be a great way to make money because it plays to one of your biggest strengths: your brain. If you are a pre-med student, chances are you are pretty smart and/or a hard worker. These attributes make you the perfect tutor. You an choose to advertise yourself (by putting signs around campus or an advertisement online) or work for an established tutoring organization. 

Use what you are good at. If you are particularly talented in chemistry, then maybe a general chemistry class is what you should tutor in.

The benefit of being a private tutor is that you can pick your own price. The downside is that you must find a way to advertise your services and bring in customers. Joining a tutoring organization typically won't allow you as much freedom to determine your wages, but it will be much easier to find customers. Ask around to find out if your campus has an organization dedicated to tutoring students already and if they are accepting new tutors. 

Participate in Psychology Experiments

Find your college's psychology department online or ask around to see if there are any psychology experiments that will pay students to be subjects. Professors are always in need of subjects for various psych experiments and are often willing to pay for your time.

Sell Stock Photos Online

Do you have a digital camera and a knack for photography? Do people often comment on the beauty of your photos? Many sites are available  (such as,, and that sell stock photos. You can upload your photographs to this site, and when someone buys one of your photos, you get money. 

Sell Your Notes

Some of you may have a bit of a moral problem with this one. If you don't want to feed someone's habit of extreme laziness and think people should do their own work to pass the class, then you are less likely to sell your notes. However, there are some people who legitimately miss class or aren't good test takers. These people can benefit from notes that cover all of the important topics covered in class. You are unlikely to make a regular income with this method. It will only get you a few dollars here and there, unless people keep wanting to buy your notes.

Sell Your Stuff Online

This one is pretty obvious but many people neglect it because they don't realize how much money they can make with just a little bit of work. Gather up some old stuff you don't use at home, and sell it on eBay or in a yard sale. Depending on the amount of your belongings you are willing to part with, you can make some quality spending money that will last you several months. 

Are you sure you can't find anything to get rid of?

Or if you enjoy selling your things but are running out of things to sell, you can hit up local yard sales or thrift stores and flip items for a profit. This is fun for a lot of people because they get to shop while also making money.

Amazon's Mechanical Turk

Mechanical Turk is a website where you can sign up and perform easy tasks in your internet browser to earn money. At best you will probably only make a few dollars an hour, but it can be convenient because you can work on your own time at the pace that you want. I used it for an hour or two and made about 4 dollars. It can be a good way to pick up a few extra dollars if you don't mind the tasks you have to do.

Sell your Services Online

ChaCha is a service that allows people to text questions or ask them online and have them answered. They will pay you for your answers. Student Of Fortune allows students to ask homework questions and put a price on them. The best answer for this question earns the money offered for the question. You can sign up for these sites online and earn some money by answering peoples' questions. 

Hopefully you can use some of these methods to earn yourself some extra money. Whether you already have a job or not, you can use these alternate ways to earn some spending cash.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Resources for Pre-Med Students

Free Resources

  • The Student Doctor Network is a website with tons of free material, articles, and forums all meant to help you get into medical school. It is a huge website that also has advice for students in other healthcare fields.
  • 2008-2009 Medical School Admissions Statistics Although a few years old, this is a good resource for those looking for a (free) overview of average GPA and MCAT for students accepted into med school.
  • This is the website for the Association of American Medical Colleges.
  • AAMC MCAT Here you will find all of the official info about the MCAT, including upcoming changes to the test or strategies.
  • MCAT Practice Tests A list of released MCAT practice tests, including one free one!
  • Anki A free flashcard program for your computer. Great for studying, especially for classes that require a lot of memorization, such as organic chemistry.
  • Lifehack's Guide to Taking Notes Taking good notes is extremely important for getting the grades you want.
  • Khan Academy is a great website, designed as a free education resource. Having trouble understanding a particular topic? Visit this site to get extra help!
  • VueMinder is a great calendar program (with a free version.) Helpful for organizing your tests, quizzes, work schedule, volunteer obligations, etc.

Resources Available for Purchase

How to Get Clinical Experience

Clinical experience is absolutely essential for getting into med school. Admission committees need to see that you have exposed yourself to the field of healthcare. A common question during interviews is "How do you know you want to be a doctor?" The only way you can actually know is to get experience working with patients and observing the responsibilities of a physician.

So now your goal should be to find a way to get clinical experience. But there isn't just one way to get this experience. In fact, there are several different ways you can get your required clinical experience.

The first, and probably the most common way, is to shadow a physician. Shadowing a physician looks great on your application because you are truly observing a doctor and learning what happens daily as a physician. The only downside to this method is the fact that it can sometimes be time-consuming to find a physician to shadow. Here are a few tips to make the whole process easier:

  • Consult your own doctor to see if he/she has any advice about finding someone to shadow.
  • Ask your school's pre-medical adviser if he/she knows of any opportunities
  • When all else fails, simply call local clinics and hospitals. 
Although it takes a little bit of extra work, it is usually somewhat easy to find a physician to shadow. It may be more difficult for students in smaller towns where there are less opportunities.

Another popular way to earn the required clinical experience is to become certified in another healthcare profession. It is pretty common to find pre-med students who are employed as EMTs, CNAs, or phlebotomists. These are usually the most common choices because it is relatively easy to get  certified. (The certification necessary may vary depending on your state. Do research to figure out what, if any, experience is required for employment in your area.)
Phlebotomy is just one opportunity that can get you clinical experience while also earning you money!

The benefit of using this method is that you can gain clinical experience while also getting paid. For those of you working your way through college, this is a major plus because your time is extremely important and this allows you to both earn money and improve your medical school admission chances. The biggest downside to this method is that it can sometimes be costly and time-consuming to acquire the training necessary for a certain position. Typically the easiest certification to get would be as a certified nursing assistant, or CNA. However, the job requirements for phlebotomists is very lenient in some areas, allowing for on-the-job training (if you can find an employer willing to train you.) 

No matter how you earn the experience, it is imperative that you expose yourself to the field of healthcare and interact with patients. Do whatever you can to show med schools you have the passion for helping people in a healthcare setting.