It’s back-to-school season, which means fall semester classes start soon. While you’re moving into a new dorm or panicking over how much books cost, you may also be wondering how you can make some money to pay for snacks, weekend trips, or even just the usual bills. All without distracting you from your studies, of course! Don’t look at part-time retail jobs or a job waiting tables – instead, consider these 15 legit online jobs for college students.
For most of these, you don’t even have to change out of your pajamas.
1. Search & Ad Evaluation
Working with a company like Lionbridge is often cited as an incredibly flexible work-from-home opportunity that accommodates a college student's variable schedule. These gigs also generally require you to be plugged into contemporary pop culture in the US and familiar with social media. Working within the guidelines provided to you, you perform the requested searches in search engines and then analyze the results (or ads displayed with the results) for their relevance to the search term. This is something you can do in a couple hours each day when you’re given assignments.
Ready to learn more? Here’s everything you need to know.
College is a great time to learn about yourself while discovering new interests – and you could make some money along the way by blogging about this journey! Use your downtime to start a blog about your passion, but do it with a plan so you can monetize it from the start. Whether you’re learning how to manage your own finances or developing an interest in urban hiking, your hard-earned wisdom and impromptu adventures could capture an audience of your peers (and beyond). While you’re writing for them, don’t forget to include ad space on your blog and deploy affiliate marketing.
Find all my tips on how to start a blog here.
3. Freelance Writing
One inescapable truth about attending university is that you’re going to be writing often and studying even more. Why not take these skills and put them to work for you as well? Freelance writers are always in demand on the Internet, and you could land writing jobs from developing corporate white papers to ghostwriting blog posts. If you can find writing jobs that dovetail with the classes you’re taking in a given semester, even better! Your research and writing for one can support the other.
If you’d like to become a freelance writer, read: “Freelance Writing Jobs for Beginners: Everything You Need to Know.”
Stress is a frequent partner of every college student, and finding ways to de-stress while dealing with classes and exams and dorm life is vital. What if you found a creative outlet that helps you relax AND earn an income at the same time? Try crafting! You could make jewelry, create custom wreaths, knit funny hats, experiment with metal stamping, or even take up pottery (maybe your university has a kiln you can use). If you’re studying art in school, your craft could even be part of your studies. Once you’ve made something you’re ready to sell, consider selling via Etsy, Amazon Handmade, or even out of your dorm. (Make sure there aren’t any rules or local laws forbidding you selling out of your dorm room first, of course.)
5. Selling Textbooks
Textbooks are incredibly expensive, which every college student is painfully aware of – take the sting out of your book bill at the beginning of every semester by selling your books when you’re done with them! Recouping some of their cost this way is a smart play, and it’s even better if you volunteer to take other’s discarded textbooks if they’re just going to throw them in the trash. There are several places online that may purchase your used textbooks, but Bookscouter is one of the easiest and most popular – so start there first.
If you have just enough time between classes that there’s no point in going back to your dorm or driving home, you can still do a little work so long as you have an Internet connection. Park yourself wherever there’s Wi-Fi and do a few microtasks! These are short tasks like identifying figures in a photo, transcribing 2 minutes of audio, translating a short passage of text, and so on. There are several microtask sites where you can find work, with Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) being one of the most prominent. Learn more about micro jobs in this post.
Have you already gotten started with Amazon MTurk? Here are 9 ways to increase your earnings.
7. Website Testing
User Testing is another great gig that you can fit in whenever you have time between classes, studying, and a judicious amount of partying. There are many companies out there developing websites and apps who need feedback from their target demographics on whether they’re appealing and functional. After signing up with a site like UserTesting and providing your demographic information, simply wait until an opportunity pops up – you’ll then be given a website to visit (or app to test) and asked for your thoughts. You may have your screen recorded as you speak your thoughts out loud, or you may write a short review at the end. This gig’s probably best to do in a private setting – definitely don’t do it in your university library!
Discover other website testing opportunities in this post.
You know how you have to do that practical stuff every other adult does – buy groceries, pick up toiletries, pay for your own haircuts? Make every dollar you spend work for you with get-paid-to programs like Ebates and Swagbucks. This isn’t a job, but can still put some extra cash in your pocket. You can supplement any cashback opportunities through these sites by doing additional actions, from taking surveys to watching videos to just doing whatever web searches you do every day. Earn points from these programs and then turn those points into Paypal cash or gift cards.
9. Teaching English as a Second Language
Have you thought about becoming a teacher? Whether it’s your major or not, you have the opportunity to get a taste of teaching English as a Second Language by doing English tutoring online! Most ESL companies online will have you teaching Chinese children, and many require you to have a Bachelor’s degree – or be enrolled in college. You’ll generally be provided with all the materials you need to teach classes and can make your own schedule – and, since most students are in China, this would work well for night owls AND early risers.
10. Alorica at Home
If you’re more interested in an employee job, consider applying for a position with Alorica at Home. They hire customer service representatives to take inbound calls for their clients. They also prominently advertise the flexibility of their scheduling, highlighting how it'd work well for both students and retirees. These positions are great because they come with paid training and benefits – but you also need to have a quiet home office to work from with a landline telephone. This may work best for students living at home or in their own apartment. Learn more about Alorica at Home here.
11. Make Deliveries
So, this one is not necessarily an “online” job for college students, but it can be done on your own time and using just your smartphone. There are some great opportunities that allow you to make money doing everything from chauffeuring riders to delivering Amazon packages to dropping off someone's lunch. Check into sites like DoorDash and InstaCart. In some markets and with some companies, you may be able to make deliveries by scooter, bike or on foot. Check out these jobs like Uber for even more ideas.
Did you know that there are people out there who’ll pay you for being a know-it-all? It’s pretty great. You’re already learning new things every day and frequently putting in research time for your college career. Put those skills immediately to work in making money for you, too. There are a few different job types in this area – you can do general research, answer specific questions, put yourself forward as a subject expert, and more. Discover 11 awesome research jobs in my post here, or head on over to Wonder, which is extremely college student-friendly.
13. Playing with Pets
College is stressful enough without having to worry about a job, too – so make your job a de-stressing tool! Offer your services as a petsitter or pet walker to locals, then enjoy the rewards of playing with the furry friends you’re not allowed to have in the dorm. It’s a great way to get off campus, get some daily exercise, and enjoy the fresh air, too. You can sign up with a site like Rover or Wag to get started on your pet-friendly career.
14. Running Errands
Sometimes you want to get off campus for a while, and sometimes you need to – while you’re out running errands, why not do someone else’s as well? For a fee, of course. There are plenty of people who don’t have the time or the ability to do daily errands on their own, from picking up a few groceries to grabbing their dry cleaning and more. You can sign up on an app like Gigwalk or TaskRabbit and do these tasks for them. It looks like you can set your own rates for tasks on TaskRabbit; on Gigwalk, how much you make depends on the time engagement required by the task.
Transcription is a great lowkey choice for online work that lets you indulge your introverted side and unplug from the world for a while. As long as you have a set of headphones, a quiet place to work, and stellar typing skills, you can do transcription. You’ll need to type accurately as well as quickly. Since how much money you make transcribing is usually paid per audio minute, the more quickly you transcribe, the more you make. This is also a career that can grow with you, so that you can specialize into medical or legal transcription as you go and demand higher rates.
Find 23 transcription jobs that welcome beginners here.
Ready to kick butt and make some money this semester? That’s what I thought. Study hard and prosper!