How to Make Money in College: Side Hustles for Students
In the age of the side hustle, opportunities for college students to earn a little cash before and after class are plentiful. If you can afford the time, there are dozens of ways to make money in college.
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For most college students, the last thing they want to do after a full day of lectures or a long night of studying is more work. But the fact is school can be expensive, and the majority of students are taking on massive debt to earn their degrees.
Whether you’re strapped for cash to cover tuition and rent or want some spending money for food and fun, we have some good news: There’s never been a better time to find easy ways to make money in college. Some prospects are old-fashioned, some are innovative, and others are a bit unorthodox. Here’s how to make money in college as a student.
Ways for college students to make money:
- On-Campus Jobs
- Side Gigs You Can Do with Your Car
- Side Gigs You Can Do Online
- Jobs You Can Do on Your Feet
- Donate Your Body (and Time) to Science
- Other Great Part-Time Jobs for College Students
On-campus jobs will always remain a staple income source for students. You can reduce your living expenses through a work-study program offered by the school — and save money on car insurance and gas while you’re at it — or do your own legwork to find jobs such as:
If you’re proficient in a particular subject, share your insight with fellow students who could use help. Tutoring is a great way to meet people, earn a decent hourly rate, and add a valuable skill to your resume. Teaching online through a website like Udemy is another option.
Similarly, taking on the role of a teaching assistant allows you to earn extra cash for sharing your knowledge. Ask the professor of your favorite course if you can grade papers, help students with assignments, or maybe even teach a class or two.
Don’t mind dorm life? Like socializing and showing freshmen how to navigate around campus? Become a resident assistant and enjoy the perks of monthly stipends or discounted housing (depending on the school) in exchange for mentorship and student support.
Most buildings on college campuses have information desks or, in the case of athletics centers, rental kiosks. In exchange for a fair wage, all you have to do is let people in, help them find their destination, hand out equipment, and answer any questions they might have.
Campus Tour Guide
You’ve walked the corridors, taken the classes, and heard the famous stories. Put that intimate knowledge of your school to work and hone your public speaking skills by introducing prospective students to the place you know so well.
Ask the Expert
Chief Operating Officer at HigherMe – a hiring management software connecting businesses with new employees
Go for quality over quantity when it comes to applying for jobs. Even in a tight labor market, most employers are looking for candidates who have put in a bit of effort when applying and are specifically trying to weed out “spray and prey” applications.
If you can find the name of the hiring manager, include it in your cover letter or email. If you love their product, tell them! If there’s anything in the application that could help you stand out – like a video cover letter, for example – take a few extra minutes to do it.
Email etiquette and interview prep. First, if you have to communicate with an employer over email, make sure you are structuring your email professionally, and double check your spelling and grammar. Employers screen for your attention to detail!
Second, for your interview, make sure to show up early, be clean and dressed professionally. Also have a couple thoughtful questions prepared to ask the employer. Investing time on these steps will help put you ahead of most other candidates!
Almost every job gives you an opportunity to develop your skills. Skills like customer service, sales, communication are all things you can take with you later in your career. Embrace the chance to learn and hone these while working!
Side Gigs You Can Do with Your Car
The work economy is growing more mobile by the day, which means there are greater opportunities to use your ride to make money:
Drive for Uber or Lyft
If you love to be behind the wheel, ride-hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft are a great way to make cash in your spare time. You can set your own hours and pick the areas in which you drive, so it’s one of the most flexible options available to college students.
Packages, groceries, food from restaurants — whatever it is, chances are you can find someone who delivers it. You can pick up and deliver practically anything for companies like DoorDash, Postmates, Amazon Flex, Instacart, and many others, earning varying rates for each delivery you complete. Some of these tasks involve grocery shopping, so be sure to factor in the extra time that would take.
Rent Your Vehicle
Why let your car sit stagnant in the driveway when it could be earning you cash? Through apps such as Turo, you can loan out your vehicle for a few hours, days, or even weeks at a time. If you know you won’t be driving for a while, list your car for rent and watch the money come trickling in.
Rent Your Garage
Similarly, people are always looking for a place to park their own cars, especially in busy downtown areas. If you have a garage, driveway, or designated street spot that goes unused, offer to rent it out via platforms such as JustPark.
Complete Odds Jobs on TaskRabbit
To he who considers himself a jack-of-all-trades, TaskRabbit is a godsend. Users post tasks they’d like done, and you can sign up to complete them. If you’ve got wheels, you can sort through the tasks that require a car and offer up your time and driving skills.
Side Gigs You Can Do Online
Don’t have a car? No problem. There are countless ways to make more money from the comfort of your dorm room:
Although they won’t earn you a massive income, surveys are a great option for busy students with a few extra minutes to spare throughout the day. Survey sites like MyPoints, Swagbucks, and others offer small remuneration or gift cards in exchange for your opinions on various topics, whereas Nielsen Mobile Panel lets you participate in market research panels for decent chunks of change.
Perform Tasks for Amazon Mechanical Turk
Utilize your human skills and spend spare time on Amazon Mechanical Turk, which pays workers small sums for completing tasks that AI can’t yet execute. As with surveys, these tasks won’t cover all of your monthly expenses, but any money is good money.
Turn Audio into Text
For those who type quickly and accurately and enjoy doing so, transcribing can be a great source of extra money. All sorts of industries are looking for people to transfer their audio files to text, so the work is never in short supply.
Turn Text into Audio
On the flip side, that impressive voice of yours could also score you some much-needed pocket change. You can narrate audiobooks, do voiceover work, or read text articles for various publications.
Consider Freelance Writing
Companies know content is king. Most pay a decent rate for blog posts on varying topics. If you’re interested in a specific subject, try to find websites that publish content similar to what you’d want to write about and reach out to them directly. Alternately, you can create profiles on sites like Upwork and Fiverr.
Become a Virtual Assistant
Leverage your organizational and communication skills by helping busy people take care of the little things. Virtual assistants do everything from answering emails and managing social media accounts to scheduling appointments and booking travel. The best part? You guessed it — tasks can usually be done online.
Sell Your Stuff on eBay
Making money on eBay on your own schedule has never been easier. By selling your unused items (think clothing, video games, etc.) online at a fair price, you can earn cash with very little out-of-pocket costs.
Jobs You Can Do on Your Feet
Two birds, one stone. Earn extra cash and enjoy some exercise in between your class schedule. These side gigs are ideal for the student who needs the money and a quick break from the grind:
Try Dog Walking
Forecasters predict there will be more dogs than people in America by 2025. OK, that’s not true, but dogs are everywhere nowadays. Those furry friends of ours need to stretch their legs, and owners who work long days are willing to pay dog walkers for a bit of midday exercise. Advertise your services by word of mouth or enlist with companies such as Wag! and Rover, both of which find clients for you. If you live off-campus, you might also consider pet-sitting.
Help People Stay in Shape
If you’re a fitness junkie who wants to help others get in shape, consider becoming a personal trainer at your campus rec center or local gym. Many people need the motivation and guidance of a trainer to maximize their workouts.
Take Stock Photos
Do you have a good camera and an eye for photography? See if you can get your work posted on sites such as iStock and Shutterstock, which offer up to 50% of the price tag when they sell your stock photos.
Particularly in big college towns and cities, students could have ample opportunity to find cleaning work nearby. Tools are cheap, the labor is straightforward, and unlike working for campus custodial services, the profits are all yours.
Make the Move
As with walking dogs, helping people move is a nice way to get in your exercise and make a few bucks while you’re at it. Many moving companies hire college students for busy periods, and there’s something special about an honest day’s work of lifting and lugging.
Donate Your Body (and Time) to Science
For those wondering how to make money in college in a less labor-intensive way, we recommend searching for opportunities in the medical sector:
Join a Drug Trial
Lots of companies turn to college campuses for willing research. Drug trials tend to pay well, and you might be able to participate in multiple trials throughout the year,.
Sell Your Plasma/Sperm/Eggs
With IVF treatment constantly improving and becoming more appealing, there is a steady need for healthy sperm and eggs. Compensation and restrictions vary by region, but it’s often a worthwhile avenue to consider. The same is true for plasma donation.
Review Food Flavors
If you attend school near a research institute that tests natural and artificial flavors for potential release, this could be a fun and interesting money-making avenue. Challenge your palate, try something unique, and get paid for your opinions? Sounds like a win-win.
Test Your Brain
Colleges and universities with psychology departments generally conduct a constant stream of experiments that require human subjects. In most cases, you’re compensated for your time and effort, and you might learn something cool about yourself.
Other Great Part-Time Jobs for College Students
In addition to the above, there is a slew of tried-and-true side gigs you can always turn to, including:
Bartending or Waiting Tables
There’s no shame in the part-time service job. Depending on where you’re located, there can be serious cash (and fun) to be had with these jobs, and most offer flexible scheduling so you can make it to classes with no problem.
A little fresh air, some good old-fashioned manual labor, and a decent wage. Many house-painting companies, such as College Pro House Painters, make a point of hiring students who need extra cash and have no previous experience.
Many high school students earn their first paychecks working as lifeguards in the summer months. It’s still a great option for students in college who are, of course, proficient swimmers and enjoy sitting poolside ensuring everybody stays safe.
Lawns need to be mowed and trees need to be trimmed. Why can’t you be the one to do the mowing and the trimming? If you like working outside with your hands and love the smell of freshly cut grass, find the nearest landscaping company on the hunt for good workers.
Students in northern states don’t need to be reminded that opportunities abound to shovel sidewalks and front steps in the winter months. You could volunteer to do your neighbor’s walk for free (which is a nice thing), or you could offer up your services to anyone on the block for a small fee.
Although many college campuses offer daycare to staff and administration, some do not. See if your professors ever need a hand watching the kids while they’re in class or target local families by posting an ad online.
Learning how to make money in college is a matter of due diligence and a solid work ethic. No longer are your options limited to delivering pizzas and manning the alumni donation phones — making money online has never been more popular. Get creative, find your side gig, and take charge of your college cash flow.
Author: Jeff Gitlen