THERE ARE COUNTLESS ways to sell yourself for money: prostitution, journal publication, and soap opera stardom, to name a few. But college students are afforded one especially unique opportunity--to become a Human Subject.

But isn't everyone a human subject? Not unless they're smoking lettuce cigarettes or downing untested pills, or, as in my case, running around campus for a month, strapped to a beeper that went off at the most inopportune moments. I'm talking about getting paid to serve as a guinea pig for the research experiments medical students must complete in order to graduate and move on to poking and prodding real patients. Budding nutjobs are in luck, too, because similar research projects are required of those pursuing a career in the social sciences.

How do you go about it? The easiest way is to read your college's student newspaper, as almost every issue features a few "all calls" for human subjects. Also, pay attention to campus bulletin boards--researchers often hang study requests among the "Roommates Wanted" listings. Terri Weiss from Seattle University's Health Center is also extremely enthusiastic about helping students earn some extra money through volunteering for experiments, stressing that many students get more than monetary satisfaction out of the deal; you can also feel that you've contributed to important research. (Oh yeah, that's why you do it.)

Seattle University doesn't offer many research subject opportunities on its campus, but Weiss was more than happy to offer other suggestions: the Virology Research Center at the UW (522-8563) offers many opportunities for students who have The Gift That Keeps on Giving, otherwise known as oral or genital herpes. The woman I talked with at the center wished to remain anonymous, but she promised that several new studies will be in need of subjects at the start of fall semester. Some are short-term, while many require year-long commitments that include regular checkbacks, but offer free vaccines and treatments as well as payment. Those without herpes can still do their part for science by donating saliva and cervical secretions (people in white coats will search your fluids for viral antibodies). The best way to find out what studies are currently offered, as well as how much they pay, is to check the Virology Center's website at

Male UW students aged 18-25 can help out the Human Papilloma Virus Research Center by dropping in for a thorough exam, much like the kind they should be getting anyway during their sexually active college years. Student volunteers will be screened for HPV as well as other sexually transmitted diseases including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and herpes. It's a one-time exam to help researchers gather statistics on men, and it pays somewhere in the neighborhood of $75.

Not every research experiment involves the hoo-hoo area, but I'd be giving you a bum steer if I pretended that the majority of the opportunities in the Seattle area didn't. Sleeping in your underpants while a bunch of eggheads watch and record data might not seem sexually related--until you realize that part of the data they're gathering relates to nocturnal hard-ons and dirty dreams. Gals aged 21-31 can hit the mother lode by donating eggs for fertility research and net a whopping $2,000-$3,000 each. It's a painful process, however, and should not be taken lightly.

Even experiments that aren't supposed to involve the hoo-hoo area can manage to barge annoyingly into that territory. Strapped for cash while I was in college, I volunteered for an experiment that aimed to track the behaviors and activities of college-aged women struggling with weight issues. It paid $500 and involved the aforementioned beeper, which was my constant companion for a month. It would go off at random intervals throughout the day and night, and every time it did I was supposed to immediately stop everything I was doing and answer a short questionnaire asking what was going on and how I was feeling at that particular moment. I thought sleep interruption would be the most irritating thing that could happen, but damn if the researcher didn't bust me having sex every time I got laid that month. It took me the better part of an hour one night to convince my date I wasn't a co-ed call girl. Then again, I was getting paid....