As a college student, you may often find yourself strapped for cash. Chances are you have some spare time to earn money in between managing classes and a social life.
Thankfully, there are many possibilities to make money in college. It’s even possible to earn an income without having to leave your dorm room!
Table of Contents
- Top Ways to Make Money As a College Student
- 1. Become a Rideshare Driver
- 2. Deliver Food for Restaurants
- 3. Get Paid to Exercise
- 4. Mystery Shop
- 5. Tutor
- 6. Teach Music Lessons
- 7. Donate Plasma
- 8. Participate in Medical Experiments
- 8. Become a Handyman
- 10. Take Care of Pets
- 11. Work at the Public Library
- 12. Become a Personal Grocery Shopper
- 13. Shop Online with Rakuten
- Make Money Online
- 14. Sell Used Textbooks
- 15. Sell Your Old Tech and Movies
- 16. Take Online Surveys
- 17. Complete Micro Tasks Online
- 18. Sell Photos Online
- 19. Sell Tangible Goods Online
- 20. Sell Your Video Game Accounts
- 21. Become a Graphic Designer
- 22. Freelance Write
- 23. Start a Blog
- 24. Start a YouTube Channel
- 25. Earn Stock Dividends
- On Campus Opportunities
Top Ways to Make Money As a College Student
It’s also possible to work off-campus and potentially earn more money than working on-campus. On-campus jobs don’t always pay the highest because they are convenient and have more applicants.
After all, who doesn’t want to walk across three minutes across the student commons to work for a few hours in the computer lab?
To be the “big fish in the little pond,” look for off-campus opportunities that might require a little more hustle, but can have a more flexible work schedule and a higher income potential.
If you have a car and are comfortable with using it to take people around time, driving with Lyft is a unique way to make money and you can set your driving schedule.
Keep in mind there are some minimal qualifications you must meet.
To diversify your earnings potential, you can also become an Uber too. Because you’re an independent contractor, you never sign an exclusive contract. By driving with both ridesharing companies, you can choose driving routes via either app instead of sitting idle waiting for a gig.
2. Deliver Food for Restaurants
While we are on the topic of driving, delivering pizzas isn’t just for the 16-year-old high school student that just earned their driver’s license.
Many fast-food and pizza joints are happy to employ college students as cashiers or cooks. But, you have the potential to earn a few extra dollars if you can deliver because you earn tips plus a base hourly wage.
Delivering with DoorDash is a fun way to “bring home the bacon” if you meet these basic requirements:
- At least 18 years old
- Valid drivers license
- Valid insurance
Get ready to earn some cash and see the town at the same time.
Related: 10 Best Delivery Job Apps
3. Get Paid to Exercise
If you use a fitness app to record your steps or other physical activity, check out Achievement. They connect with 40+ Android and iPhone apps to pay you money for your healthy behaviors like exercise, counting calories, sleeping, and even for participating health research surveys.
These exercise apps are a fun way to make money by working out for free since the school gym access is likely included in your regular tuition and fees. When you get “a real job” you’ll have to invest in a home gym system or pay for a gym membership. Until then, look at apps like Achievement as easy money for a college student.
4. Mystery Shop
As a college student with little money, you might have a knack for finding the best deals to stretch your dollar further at the cash register. To do this, you need to visit several stores.
Shopkick is an app available for iOS and Andriod devices that lets you find the best deals, and you can still get paid to mystery shop at a store without making a purchase. The next time you go to town, open up the Shopkick app on your phone to start a mission.
You will earn rewards points just by walking into the store and additional points by scanning the prices on specific items. If you make a purchase, you’ll earn bonus points on those items too. Shopkick also lets you watch videos and evaluate online stores for points (kicks) so you can make money on-campus too.
You can redeem your rewards points for gift cards to your favorite restaurants and retailers, including Amazon gift cards.
Tutoring is a great way to help high school students gain an understanding of courses like Chemistry, Foreign Language, Math, etc. Some websites allow you to advertise your services online and you can earn at least $10 per hour.
Check out Tutor.com to find opportunities to get started.
6. Teach Music Lessons
Parents are always looking for affordable music lessons. If you have a musical gift, teaching music lessons in college can be a great way to gain teaching experience and use your skills. You should be prepared to drive to the student’s house if you do not have a public meeting space available.
7. Donate Plasma
If you aren’t afraid of needles, donating plasma for cash can earn up to $400 per month and you help somebody with a medical need in the process.
8. Participate in Medical Experiments
There might be medical experiments and psychology experiments you can get paid for offered on-campus. Or, your local hospital might be conducting a legal trial as well. Depending on the experiment, you could earn up to $20 per hour!
Should you want to add “medical guinea pig” to your resume? Let’s not go that far, but you can at least enjoy the extra cash today without spilling the beans about how you made ends meet as a college student to your future employer.
8. Become a Handyman
If you have hands-on experience mowing lawns, fixing leaky faucets, painting bedrooms, moving, etc., using a site like TaskRabbit can help you earn money by completing tasks in the local community where somebody needs an extra hand.
This can be another good income stream if only need one-time tasks and don’t mind exerting a little physical energy in the process.
10. Take Care of Pets
Pet sitting is a big business across the country, and some people make a six-figure income from it. Connecting with pet owners who need somebody to walk their dog or spend an hour playing with their pets while they are away at work or traveling the globe, can be good money.
You may need to gain some certifications before you can start pet sitting.
Rover is one place you can apply to become a pet sitter or dog walker, but Care accepts applications too. Local pet stores and veterinarian offices can also provide potential leads since some of the best business opportunities are word-of-mouth.
11. Work at the Public Library
The local public library might also have hourly positions available allowing you to shelf books & movies that have been checked in. This job can be a good option if you only need to work one or two afternoons a week as these positions are often part-time.
12. Become a Personal Grocery Shopper
If you’re one of the few college students to own a car, your friends might constantly ask you if you can go to the store to buy food for them and they’ll pay you back. Buying groceries, snacks, and beverages with the ibotta mobile app lets you get cash back on many items that college students want without having to go to the cafeteria.
Activate your first ibotta offer and get a $10 cash bonus. You can request payment via PayPal or gift card once your balance reaches $20.
13. Shop Online with Rakuten
Ibotta helps you save money when you shop in-person, and Rakuten will help you save money on almost every online purchase.
You can save money on the following online purchases:
- Clothes or shoes
- Booking a flight for Spring Break or Christmas Break
- Video Games
- Discounted gift cards
After your cash back balance reaches $5, Rakuten will send a check via PayPal. If you’re already going to shop online to get the best deals, Rakuten may help you to pay even less.
Make Money Online
These following work ideas are where the true income potential is! This is because you can partake in any of these income streams from anywhere with an internet connection. Even better, you can use your technical skills and these projects to build your portfolio and potentially turn into a long-term income stream that lasts well beyond your college years.
14. Sell Used Textbooks
Selling back your used textbooks to the campus bookstore has one of the lowest cash redemption values. Instead, selling your books using BookScouter will immediately check the price from 35 buyback vendors to show you the highest price.
When you sell your books, you only have to package them and can mail them for free.
15. Sell Your Old Tech and Movies
College students might have more tech gadgets and movies than most adults. If you or your roommates have movies, video games, or electronic devices that are gathering dust but still have a useful value, try listing your items on Decluttr.
Download the app and begin scanning barcodes of the items you no longer want. When you’re all done, box them up and print out the prepaid shipping label. Decluttr offers next-day payment via PayPal so you can get money quickly.
16. Take Online Surveys
If you have wanted to give your two-cents on current issues and trends, you are an ideal candidate for taking surveys!
Online surveys are not as lucrative as working a typical part-time job. However, you can complete them when you have a few spare minutes in between classes or during a meal break and can serve as a secondary income stream.
17. Complete Micro Tasks Online
If you like taking surveys but also want to get paid to watch videos, play games, and search the web, you can get paid by Swagbucks for the activities you do for free right now.
Swagbucks also lets you test products or do micro-tasks that only take a couple of minutes to complete so you can get paid for working online with minimal effort.
You can redeem your points for gift cards for as little as $3 to your favorite restaurants and online stores like Amazon. Swagbucks also offers PayPal cash payment too.
18. Sell Photos Online
Do you post your happenings on Instagram? Now you can get paid for taking pictures.
Smartphone cameras have come a long way and are better than most point-and-shoot cameras. Professional photographers might earn top dollar for their photos. But, everybody needs to start somewhere, and your iPhone X camera might be better than what they had as a photography student.
Plus, you have the advantage of selling your photos online to any website or news service in the world.
Foap is one website that accepts smartphone pictures from Android and iOS devices.
19. Sell Tangible Goods Online
If you have dreams of building the next eBay or Amazon e-commerce site, college is a great time to unleash your entrepreneurial spirit and create an online store. By using a platform like Shopify, you can start drop-shipping. This means you don’t have to kick your roommate out of your dorm to make room for all the inventory.
With Shopify, you create the sales pages, and when the customer places an order, the manufacturer directly ships to the product from their warehouse to the customer’s front door. Or, you can always sell an online product like spreadsheets or eBooks that you have written.
Another benefit of selling with Shopify is that they have twice as many templates as other online shopping carts, and they offer a 14-day free trial.
As a cash-strapped college student, $100 might be all the extra cash you have to start your own business. Believe it or not, college is one of the best times to start a business because you have the most to gain and the least to lose.
Fostering your inner entrepreneur now means you can live the professional dreams that most adults can only imagine.
20. Sell Your Video Game Accounts
Maybe you were a video game addict in high school and no longer have time to play them & still get good grades in college.
If that’s the case, you might be able to sell your video game accounts online at sites like eBay to the highest bidder. You worked hard to make all that process, and it can be a quick way to make some extra cash.
21. Become a Graphic Designer
Graphic design isn’t just for making website graphics and logos. While there is a strong demand for website design, it’s also possible to earn a tidy income by designing eBook covers, t-shirts, business cards, wall art, personalized gifts, and product packaging.
If you have an eye for design, put your talents to use with 99 Designs or CafePress. Either of these services will help you meet individual clients and large businesses looking for a quality designer.
22. Freelance Write
Getting paid to write isn’t just for professional newspaper & magazine journalists. You might be surprised how many websites, blogs, and periodicals pay average people to write articles and eBooks for them.
While being a journalism or writing major can lend you a competitive advantage, you don’t have to be the next Shakespeare or Stephen King to make money writing.
Anybody can make a steady income from freelance writing in their area of expertise such as personal finance, health & lifestyle, entertainment, marketing, etc. You already have experience writing research papers and college essays, so the transition may be smaller than you expect.
Launching your freelance writing career might feel daunting at first. One of the best ways to get started is by taking the online course Earn More Writing that will show you how to build your personal brand and locate the best writing gigs in any niche.
23. Start a Blog
If you want to pursue the previous idea of freelance writing, starting a blog is an excellent way to create a portfolio that prospective clients can use and earn passive income from affiliate marketing.
If you are unfamiliar with affiliate marketing, here’s a quick review. On your blog or YouTube channel, you place an affiliate link to a product you recommend that visitors can click on. When the visitors click on the link, they will be taken to the merchant website to buy the product. If they make a purchase, you get a percentage of the proceeds.
Think of it as a “referral fee” your landlord pays you when a friend signs an apartment lease and mentions your name. The beauty of affiliate links is that they can continue to be a source of income as long as people continue to visit your site and have the opportunity click on the links.
It’s entirely possible to earn affiliate income from articles you wrote 3 or 4 years ago.
While it’s easy to add affiliate links to any post on your blog, there’s a smart way to monetize your blog. Michelle, a successful affiliate marketer, shares her secrets of how show earns over $100,000 a month in affiliate links with her Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course.
24. Start a YouTube Channel
If writing isn’t exactly your cup of tea, videos are another way to earn online income.
In some ways, video channels like YouTube are more relevant than blogs with 1,000 word posts since you can visually see the person changing a car battery, performing a skateboard trick, or beating the final boss in a video game.
Similar to blogs, you can add affiliate links for products and services you recommend in the video. And, as long as the video is on YouTube and people continue to watch it, you have the opportunity to gain affiliate income when they make a purchase.
25. Earn Stock Dividends
While your disposable income might be very small as a college student, it’s never too early to start investing in stocks that pay regular dividends. With historically low bank interest rates, the stock market is one of the few avenues to earn passive income.
Investing as a college student can also be a great learning experience. You can learn the ins & outs of investing with a small amount money to prepare you for when you earn a “real” paycheck and will be managing larger investments in your retirement & taxable brokerage accounts.
College can be a great time to learn the ins and outs of investing so you can become a smarter investor when you begin earning a full-time paycheck. If you don’t have the time to learn about investing, but want to get a head start on building a nest egg so you can retire early, Betterment is a hands-free way to earn regular dividends that can turn a $100 investment into $1 million during your lifetime.
To maximize your earning potential, you will want to use an online broker with the lowest trading fees. Ally Invest allows you to trade stocks as low as $0 per trade which is awesome.
You can also trade ETFs and Mutual Funds to increase your investment diversification by reducing market risk without sacrificing your earning potential.
In addition to having some of the lowest fees in the industry, Ally Invest has excellent customer service and some pretty good research tools as well.
On Campus Opportunities
Let’s review some of the classic ways to make money in college. These might include some of the ways your parents or older siblings worked as college students.
As part of your financial aid package (although some positions are non-needs based) you might be able to find a work study job that allows you to get paid to study. Each semester, your school has paid work-study positions to fill which may potentially allow you to be a computer lab assistant, work behind the desk at the college library, or become a clerical assistant for an academic department.
There is an element of “work” to these jobs, but when you don’t have to replace paper in the printers or help a student or professor with a task, you can use the time to study.
27. Give Campus Tours
Many colleges often have groups of visitors that come to view the historic buildings or sites on the campus grounds and offer a 1-hour tour several times each day. If you like meeting new people and have school pride, being a tour guide is an easy way to earn a few extra dollars without a huge time commitment.
28. Be a Cashier at the School Museum or Campus Gift Shop
Many historical colleges also have a school museum that tells about the history of the college and might include special collections donated by alumni for current students and visitors to enjoy. Included in every museum or campus is a gift shop and a cash register manned by a student cashier.
Being a cashier means you might not have as much free time to study compared to being a computer lab or library assistant. However, being able to remain on-campus might mean you can walk to work and save on driving expenses.
29. Work at the Cafeteria
You can also work in your school cafeteria or one of the restaurants within the student center food court. Although these jobs might be more time intensive, it can be possible to have flexible hours as you can work breakfast, lunch, or dinner, compared to only in the afternoons with other types of employment.
30. Become a Resident Assistant
You can live on college campus for free by becoming a resident assistant (RA) for your college dorm room. This can be a great opportunity to earn some cash while serving in a leadership role. You are responsible for the dorm residents in your quad, after all.
As you can see, there are several ways that you can make money in college. Hopefully, you found one way to earn extra cash while you are finishing up your college degree. If you do, you can potentially graduate college with less debt and more peace of mind.