When you’re in college, a little bit of extra money is always a good thing. Whether you need money for laundry, a new but mandatory book for one of your courses, or just having a little bit of fun, there are all kinds of ways you can make money in college.
Quick, Easy Money for College Students
For little bits of quick cash here and there without having to expend too much energy or brain power, think about doing things like surveys and small tasks. These are some of the go-to methods of making a quick buck here and there online:
- Surveys — There are loads of survey companies, most of which are legitimate. You can also find many survey companies that have smartphone apps, which means you could theoretically be making money while walking to class.
- Donating plasma — Look for paid donation opportunities in your area. This is a common way for college students to make a decent chunk of change. All it requires of you is your time. And, well, your blood.
- Small tasks — Sites like Mechanical Turk and other crowd-sourcing small task sites are a great way to bring in some extra cash without having to make any serious commitments.
- Reselling textbooks — This is a great way to bring in some money. When you’re done with a textbook, see how much it’s going for online. You can even compare that price to what the booksellers on and around campus are offering, and see which one gets you the best deal. (Buying used textbooks online is also a great way to keep more money in your pocket each semester!)
- Mystery Calls — Like mystery shopping, but you don’t have to go anywhere! All you have to do is make phone calls, take notes, and write a quick report. Many of these calls pay between $5 and $15 each — that’s potentially a lot of pizza money!
- Sell t-shirts — If you’ve got a creative bent, you can come up with fun, creative t-shirt designs and sell them on print-on-demand sites like Zazzle or CafePress. If you can put some marketing weight behind them, you’ll do even better, but at the very least make sure your listings have good keywords in them to help them get found more easily.
Make Money from Your Dorm Room
If you’re looking for something that pays a little better than surveys and small tasks, but still gives you the flexibility of working from anywhere instead of having to report somewhere on or off campus, you’ve still got a ton of options. These can be done completely on your schedule.
- Freelancing — Probably one of the best ways for college students to start making real money for themselves from the dorm room is by freelancing. By offering a freelance service you can do online, you give yourself the freedom of setting your own workload and schedule while meeting the very real (and very valuable) needs of other online entrepreneurs. Freelancers can be writers, editors, graphic designers, virtual assistants, web designers, and more!
- Online “gigging” — Like freelancing but for one-off tasks as opposed to ongoing work, these sites let you offer individual “gigs” for people looking for a particular task. You won’t make as much money as you would with freelancing, but using these gig sites also gives you some work without requiring the commitment of running a freelance business. Check out sites like Fiverr, Upwork, and People Per Hour for ideas of what you could do.
- Transcription — If you type quickly (and I’m guessing you do!) then you could do well for yourself with transcription. You can offer it as a freelance service, but you’ll probably want to get your feet wet first by working with a transcription site like com.
- Website testing — Another task-oriented thing you can do online is website testing. Many website testing gigs can be done in about 5 minutes, but they do require some concentration on your part, as well as a quiet background. That said, it’s an easy, commitment-free way to pick up some extra money in your spare time.
- Selling notes — If you take great notes in class — or you want to get better at taking great notes — look into StudySoup. This is a website that pays you for your class notes and study guides. The perks of this site are two-fold — by putting together great notes and study guides, you’ll be learning your course material even better, AND you can get paid to do it! If StudySoup isn’t available for your college, there’s still nothing stopping you from selling your notes to classmates directly, too.
Great Side Gigs for College Students
The “side gig” is no stranger to the college scene. College students are known for doing all kinds of things to make extra money. These are some of the biggies, outside of things like work-studies and getting part-time jobs on or near campus:
- Babysitting — Parents never know enough babysitters. If you can provide references and/or get CPR certified, you’ll be positioned well for some great babysitting gigs.
- Lifeguarding — Most campuses offer lifeguard certification as one of their PE courses. Combine class credits with qualification for a great job as a lifeguard. If you can find a facility nearby with an indoor pool, you could land a job that you could work year-round instead of seasonally!
- Pet sitting and dog walking — These are great gigs for college students, especially if you’re missing your own critters back home. Because many students have breaks in the middle of the day, they’re great candidates for locals who want Fifi and Fido to have a midday jaunt.
- Shiftgig — This is a great app for connecting you with available shift work, whether it’s at restaurants, events, or even traditional companies. If shift work is something you enjoy, check it out!
- Uber and Lyft — If you’ve got a reliable car and you don’t mind being out late (working), driving for chauffeur apps like Uber or Lyft might be a good fit for you. The drawback is that there’s stiff competition in some areas, and you’ll need to be out until 1am or so to make any decent money.
- Chat and email support — If you like the idea of staying in but don’t mind being tied to a schedule, look for online chat and email support roles.
- Direct sales — Last but not least, direct sales can be a great way to make some extra money as a college student. These companies often have minimum sales goals, but a lot of them are very doable minimums every three or six months, so the burden isn’t too heavy even when you’ve got a busy semester. The key is to find a direct sales company selling something you absolutely love, can afford, and want to share. The good news is that there are tons and tons of direct sales companies, so you can go into it selling just about anything. Stella & Dot is one of my favorites.
Considering non-traditional job opportunities may be the best way to make money in college as you will often have a little more freedom in your scheduling and possibly more control of your income. Think outside of the box. It may just pay off!