In this post: One of my new favorite ways to make money in college is a website called StudySoup. Have you heard of it? Let’s take a closer look… you might like what you see!
When you’re a student, you’re often faced with a tough question, “How can I make money while in college?” A lot of these jobs pay very little, require a lot of effort, and aren’t helpful or satisfying at all.
With more and more internet-based startups coming up, though, the times are changing. Now it’s easier than ever to make money online as a college student without having to get involved in anything sketchy or potentially venturing into “cheating” territory.
What is StudySoup?
StudySoup is a peer-to-peer learning platform that compiles class notes into one major database for students to search and download as they prepare for their exams.
Here’s how it works: When you’re in a course and you want a little bit of help with the material, or you’ve had to miss class due to illness or travel, you can go to StudySoup and see if anyone in your class has posted their class notes or study guides.
When you find what you’re looking for, you pay a small fee and download the materials. You’ve got a custom study guide designed specifically for your class, and even in some cases, the exact class notes that one of your classmates took when you were absent (or just absent-minded).
StudySoup has class notes available at more than 300 colleges and universities across the US, and many of these schools already have thousands of documents uploaded to help you pass your classes.
Here’s something else that’s cool: In addition to class notes and exam study guides, there are study materials for major standardized tests like the MCAT.
What materials do they want?
What you’ll find at StudySoup is a huge selection of class notes and study guides put together by Elite Notetakers (which is what you’ll need to be if you want to make any real money on StudySoup). There are also some flashcards available, which are extremely helpful in some subjects.
These are real class notes taken during lectures and posted to StudySoup, and real study guides that your classmate(s) put together to prepare for exams. This is NOT a place where you can find copies of exams, get your homework done, or have a paper written on your behalf.
Right now StudySoup only posts notes and study guides for undergraduate and graduate courses that have 50 or more people enrolled in the course. If you’re on a big course, you’re in luck! Keep in mind that there may be more than one class in each course, so even if your particular class is small, it might still have StudySoup study materials.
You’ll also be able to find study guides for major standardized tests like the MCAT, which can be an extremely helpful and more affordable way to prepare for those types of tests.
No matter what you’re uploading, your notes need to be legible, written by you (so no copying guides and handouts written by the professor), and thorough enough to be helpful.
Who can become an Elite Notetaker?
Anyone enrolled in a course that has 50 or more students in it, or anyone preparing for a grad school entrance exam (like the MCAT) can become an Elite Notetaker. Elite Notetakers must go through the (free) application process, which includes a training session. From there, you can start uploading your notes and making money.
You don’t necessarily have to have good handwriting or even the most highly detailed notes. If your notes will help you study, they just might help someone else study, too — so it’s worth a shot to upload them. Do yourself a favor and type them up if you want to have a better showing in the marketplace (not to mention a more solid grasp of the material yourself!).
Once you’re approved as an Elite Notetaker, you can start uploading your class notes (one set of notes per week per class) and study guides. Materials that are typed will probably perform better in the marketplace, but you can upload your handwritten notes if you want.
How much money can you make?
Elite Notetakers can upload materials for anywhere from 1 to 3 classes per semester. You can make a small amount just for uploading your class notes, but most of what you’re paid will come from how well you share the notes.
According to StudySoup, their Elite Notetakers generally earn between $300 and $500 per course, with top performers bringing in as much as $2300 in a semester.
The payment schedule is a little different from other remote jobs. It is definitely not a regular payment. Payouts are made through PayPal or direct deposit, and once you reach the minimum threshold of $50, you can cash out whenever you want. All your payments are made through Stripe, which means your financial information is secure.
You can upload class notes once a week for as many as 10 weeks, and each class notes document you upload will earn you the equivalent of $5. This is an easy way to bring in a little bit of money for very little effort.
The real money is in the exam study guides, though, and you’ll be required to make a study guide for each exam in the course (up to 3). They have to be uploaded at least 4 days before the exam and then shared with your classmates using email or StudySoup’s sharing tool. You can see samples of some solid guides here to get an idea of what does well.
There’s also a referral program that will give you and your referral each $5 each time one of your referrals signs up, attends the Elite Notetaker training session, and uploads a set of notes.
Plus, you might be eligible for an end-of-semester bonus on top of your base pay. Nice!
Some things to note: The site does seem to be pretty popular amongst students. However, some recent changes in the payment formula have led to complaints about declining returns and inconsistent payment practices. Be sure to check the contract for your school before you give up your notes.
More than Just Making Money
The neat thing about StudySoup is that if you take it seriously, you can not only turn it into an easy income stream, but it will help you with your coursework. As you get into the mindset of taking notes for other people to see and creating study guides for others to use, you’ll find yourself paying better attention and learning the material more deeply.