College is an exciting adventure, but it can also be a lot of hard work.
College students are often strapped for cash. However, there are plenty of side hustles that can help you earn money while in school to pay off those pesky student loans and maybe even get a little extra spending money!
We’ve rounded up some of the top ways college kids can make easy money so you don’t have to worry about your financial situation too much this semester.
Read on below and find out how these 15 side hustles can earn cash while still studying.
1. Tutor students in a subject you're good at
Are you a good student that other struggling students come to for help? It may be time to start charging them for your smarts.
If you love tutoring, give it a shot! Offer your services as an online tutor or offer in-person help at the local library where you attend school. Pay rates vary by location but expect anywhere from $25-$60/hour depending on experience and qualifications for this side hustle that will earn cash while still studying.
If there are not many tutors available near campus who specialize in the subject area of interest, consider providing professional coaching sessions instead of teaching one-on-one lessons. This way is more flexible than meeting with clients individually because coaches need only get paid when they have completed consulting work (versus being paid hourly).
It's possible to find work in your area of expertise, but also consider consulting on subjects you're less familiar with. For instance, a student who majored in marketing might offer their services as an English tutor or vice versa.
2. Sell unused textbooks to other college students
If you’ve been a college student for more than one semester, chances are that at some point during your time as an undergraduate you will end up with textbooks that either seem outdated or just don’t have any use to them.
We all know that textbooks can be pricey, so why not take the opportunity to make a little bit of money back when your school books are just sitting around?
You can take a picture of the textbooks and upload it to one of these sites:
- Textbooks.Com (this site is run by Amazon)
- eBay will also work, but remember that you'll have to pay for shipping on your own!
3. Maintain a blog that can be monetized with ads and sponsored posts
Blogging has been around for quite some time now, so the process is fairly well-known. You don't need to be writing five pages a day about the most in-depth of topics. You can write one or two sentences that are engaging and informative as well, which will also get you more traffic because people enjoy reading things they find interesting.
A lot of content creators are struggling these days, but one way you might be able to get up above the noise is through monetizing a product that people know they need: themselves. Offer sponsored posts on your site or even go so far as selling ads on individual blog posts wherever makes sense according to what topic you're focusing on at any given time.
Maintaining these blogs on WordPress is free and very simple, so there's really no reason not to take advantage of this opportunity while still in school!
4. Offer your services as an event planner
Do you have a knack for planning and organizing events? If so, your services might be in high demand in your university or community. You can start small by offering to plan and organize events for your friends, family members, or classmates.
As you develop a reputation for being reliable and dependable, the next step is to offer these services at low rates in order to build up a portfolio of work that will help you get noticed by potential clients who are willing to pay the full price.
This side hustle requires some patience since it may take time before clients come knocking on your door. However, if handled properly from the beginning this college side hustle could earn you significant income while still in school.
5. Become a virtual assistant
If you're looking for a way to earn money while in college, but don't have the bandwidth or interest to start your own business from scratch or work full time, then being a virtual assistant is an excellent option.
Virtual assistants offer their skills virtually and are usually hired out by companies that need assistance with writing articles, creating flyers and other marketing materials, scheduling social media posts, etc.
First, you'll need to sign up with a virtual assistant company like Upwork. Keep in mind that, when searching for a new job, it is important to specify that you are an on-campus student who wants/needs more flexibility in their schedule so you can stay on top of your classwork.
6. Drive for Uber or Lyft on the weekends when you don't have class
This is a pretty simple side hustle that you can start with no experience at all.
Basically, if you have some free time on the weekends and don't mind driving around strangers in your car for the money - it's as easy as downloading either Uber or Lyft and accepting rides when they come up!
You'll need to figure out what kind of vehicle will work best (for example: big enough to fit more than one person but not so large that gas gets expensive), get an appropriate insurance plan, etc., but there are plenty of resources online to help guide you through everything.
7. Become an Airbnb host
Everyone dreams of that perfect side hustle - the one where you can make money while staying at home.
How about becoming an Airbnb host?
A lot of college students are now turning to this as a way to earn some extra income, and it's easy enough for anyone with basic hosting skills. You'll need to be able to provide your own lodging space which is available for short-term rentals through Airbnb or VRBO.
Airbnb hosts have made $200,000 in less than three years by offering their spare bedrooms and apartments as accommodations.
What's the downside? Some people are concerned about security. Make sure you research your local Airbnb hosting laws to be safe and legal, as well as consider purchasing a home insurance policy that covers short-term rentals.
8. Become a freelance writer
More and more people are turning to freelance writing as part of their side hustle.
It doesn’t require any particular skills, but it can be quite successful if you meet the standards for quality and work ethic.
If this sounds like something you might want to do, then freelance writing could be a perfect gig for you.
The way it usually works is that you sign up with a writing site and then get assignments from clients. You work on those assignments as if they were your full-time job, complete them by the deadline, send in an invoice for payment (usually 50% of what they pay), and repeat!
9. Get paid to take surveys online
Earn money from your free time with surveys online! Taking surveys such as product surveys, etc., is an excellent choice for a side hustle, especially for college students, and it’s never been easier than now.
First, you’ll want to sign up for a reputable survey site. You may know of some that are popular already and have been around a while like Survey Junkie or Swagbucks but there are also newer sites popping up all the time with new ways to make money from surveys.
You’ll just want to make sure that you sign up with a site that has been around for at least six months, so they have some time to build up a good reputation.
Once you've signed up for the account, you'll fill out a qualification survey which looks to see if they want your services. If it is approved, you fill it out, get paid and that's it!
10. Create original content on YouTube
YouTube is a great opportunity for college students to make money while they're still in school. It's quickly becoming the perfect side hustle, with young YouTube channels growing at an exponential rate and providing countless opportunities for 18-25-year-olds looking to build their resumes.
The number of YouTubers has exploded over the last few years, making it one of the best ways that you can earn some cash during your time as a student without having to leave campus or quit going out on weekends because "the work" gets too much!
Paid channels on YouTube can range from a few thousand dollars to many millions of dollars, so it's definitely worth checking out if you want to make some extra cash while in college.
Create your own channel and start generating income by producing content that other people like-or even love! You'll be able to work within the comfort of your dorm room, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that people are watching.
More than half a billion hours of YouTube videos are watched every single day so there's plenty of opportunities to cash in on this huge market!
11. Become a research assistant for professors
If you're good at researching, then this could be the perfect job for you! Not only will it allow you to make some money on your own time, but you'll also get paid more if they need assistance with their workload.
If you have a professor doing interesting work, you can reach out to them and ask if they need any help with their research.
Be sure to ask about the pay and workload before you go any further!
This is a great way for students who are just finishing up their bachelor's degrees at other colleges. They can still help professors with research while they're waiting to hear back from grad school admissions decisions or placement offers, which will allow them more time to find an appropriate job in their chosen field.
12. Sell items online
If you have clothes, textbooks, or other items that are just sitting around your dorm room collecting dust then you can turn them into cash by selling them online.
Sites like eBay and Amazon make it easy for students to get some hands-on experience with the business world without leaving campus. You'll not only be earning extra money but also making a little side hustle out of something you would already do anyway! The best part is there's no minimum order so if all you want to do is unload an old textbook from last semester then go ahead!
13. Become an Affiliate Marketer
One of the most popular side hustles today is affiliate marketing.
It’s common for college students to start their own online businesses on sites like Amazon. If you already have a following, this can be a great way to make money while pursuing your degree.
How to start as an Affiliate Marketer? Find stores with products (like clothes) that suit your style and work situation; find out what they need from someone like you - for example, how much space should be devoted to which kind of product. Then send over proposals and see if they accept any deals!
14. Offer services like babysitting or pet sitting
Offering your services as a babysitter or pet sitter on the side may be just what you need to get by while attending school.
With more than 40 million households employing some form of childcare service, there is certainly potential here for earning extra income. It's not always easy finding time in between classes and homework to make extra money, but if you can manage a few hours of time outside the library or dorm room every week for these services, it may turn into your best side hustle.
To start this process, register with sites like SitterCity and Care.com to get in contact with families looking for care at short notice - they are more likely to be happy that you're able to provide last-minute care!
15. Find on-campus jobs
You can find on-campus jobs at your school’s career services office, and these often have flexible hours. They also allow you to take courses that count toward your degree while earning money in the process! The downside is that most of these positions are part-time and offer a lower hourly wage than other job opportunities.
We found some examples for college side hustles below:
- Study abroad advisor – if you complete study abroad programs with faculty members who want help advising students about their coursework overseas
- Library helper - shelve books and assist library patrons using equipment like computers or printers.
- Student media assistant - edit videos and audio clips to be used in class presentations and films
- Service desk technician - troubleshoot computer problems remotely through phone lines or instant messaging programs
It's never too early to start thinking about how you can make money while in school.
The sooner you do, the better off your wallet will be!
Remember that there are plenty of side hustles out there for college students and it doesn't take a lot of fancy skills or previous experience to get started. All it takes is some creativity and determination.
What kind of side hustle would work best with your schedule?
About the Contributor
Veselin Mladenov is the Content Manager of ThriveMyWay. He has more than 10 years of experience in the field of corporate marketing and sales, and decided to pursue his passion - digital marketing and content creation.
LinkedIn: Veselin Mladenov