Navigating employment as a college student is a tricky situation. On the one hand, you need to make enough money to pay your bills and keep your student loans down.
On the other, that 8am class isn’t going to take itself.
Enter our 24 easy ways to make money in college.
While Financial Professional can’t help you study for your exams or pass your labs, we can help you discover employment options to get you through the most stressful years of your life.
Let’s get started.
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Make Money with Your College Education Now
While you may not be able to find work in your preferred field until you graduate, that doesn’t mean you can’t capitalize on your degree early. There are plenty of easy ways to make money with the skills you learn (and things you buy) in college.
1. Sell Your Textbooks
It’s not unusual for college students to spend $500 or more on textbooks in a single semester. Unfortunately, once you pass your classes, those textbooks are effectively useless.
Why not get some of your money back?
To get the most from your used knowledge, avoid the campus bookstore. While they’re often the quickest way to dispose of your overpriced paperweight, campus buyback programs are designed to generate returns for the university when they resell your books next year.
Instead, look into a service such as BookScouter to see which vendors will pay the most. You can sell your books yourself via Facebook, eBay, or even Amazon.
2. Make Money on Your College Notes and Papers
Sometimes, making money in college really is as simple as selling the notes you take anyway. Some campuses even have note-taking programs to encourage students to buy and sell notes from their lectures.
However, if your university doesn’t offer this service, don’t let that deter you. Online services such as GradeSaver and StudySoup will pay you for not only your notes, but your college papers, as well.
Not every college student will become rich on this practice. But, if you take the right courses and leverage your note-taking prowess, you can bring in upwards of $10,000 per year.
This is an obvious one, but tutoring can be incredibly lucrative if you know how to leverage your knowledge. If you feel that you’re an expert in a particular course, you can offer to teach your peers and help them pass their classes.
Or, if you want something a little easier, you can tap into the high school market and tutor students who aren’t yet at a college level.
To advertise your service, you can post ads outside your lecture halls or on the library bulletin board. You can also go digital with social media, Craigslist, and even Care.com.
Alternatively, if you’re working on a higher degree, such as your Master’s or Doctorate, you can take your tutoring to the next level. Sites such as Tutor.com, VIP Kid, and others hire tutors in a more professional setting.
The only catch is that they often require a Bachelor’s degree in any subject – sorry underclassmen!
4. Make Money with an Online Course
If you think you’re ready to take the step beyond tutoring, you can try launching your own online course. Services such as Skillshare, Teachable, and Udemy make it easy to share your knowledge – for a fee, of course.
To make the most money with your online course while in college, focus on selling practical skills. For instance, marketing, web design and coding, and SEO are all high-demand courses that provide your students with knowledge they can then profit off of themselves.
Make Money While You Wait in Line
If you’re not the most dedicated student in the world, don’t worry – we have jobs for you, too!
While these options won’t make a lot of money, they’re great for college students who want to earn a few dollars here and there. Whether you’re in line at the grocery store or stuck in your doctor’s office waiting room, you can whip out your phone and cash in on your unwanted free time, anytime.
5. Start with Surveys
While online surveys are notorious for paying very little, they’re a good way for college students to make money from their phones. All you have to do is sign up for a site like SurveyJunkie, answer a few demographic questions, and get started.
6. Earn Money for Your Google Searches
Swagbucks is a downloadable app that includes a search engine function. When you make inquiries to Google or Bing through their system, Swagbucks pays you in points. You can then cash these points in for cash or gift cards.
Swagbucks also lets you make money in other ways, such as watching videos or taking surveys – all things you can do in your college classes. (Just be sure to mute your phone!)
7. Micro Tasks
Amazon Turk and InboxDollars are great places to start if you’re looking for quick gigs that pay. The tasks are usually simple, such as identifying pictures for an AI, entering data, or typing a few words into a program.
While the payout on some of these tasks is notoriously low – sometimes as little as $0.05 – you can do them while watching tv or waiting for class to start. In fact, some of these actions are so quick you can complete them while still taking notes in chemistry.
Make Extra Money with Your College Laptop
If you’re like me, you probably bought a new laptop at some point in your college career. Why not put your investment to good use and make a little money online while you’re still in college?
8. Become a YouTube Blogger
If you have a passion for video creation, YouTube is a great place to hone your skills. By itself, getting started early on the platform can provide invaluable experience and exposure for anyone looking to go into media.
And, for those who have the golden touch, YouTube can be a lucrative side hustle, too. The main way to earn on YouTube is to get advertisers to sponsor your content. Thus, the more views you earn, the more money you make.
On average, it’s estimated that YouTube bloggers earn about $7.60 for 1,000 views. While that’s not a lot on its face, the cash can quickly add up for a viral video.
9. Build a Website
If video creation isn’t your style, building websites may be. For those who know how to code, as well as those with experience in the many drag-and-drop website builders available, website design can be a real money maker for college students.
Look to get started on websites such as Fiver or Upwork for your first gigs. These websites take a hefty commission on your first few orders, but they also provide a safe space to sell your products and hone your craft.
Or, if you want to go it alone, you can put up a portfolio online and advertise on social media. You may also want to reach out to local businesses and offer your services in person, the old-fashioned way.
10. Offer Your SEO Skills
SEO, or search engine optimization, is the process of helping a website get noticed by the search engines of the world. If you’re not familiar with SEO, you’ll have to do a little research first, and perhaps gain some practice with an internship or entry-level job.
But, once you’re ready to strike out on your own, the gains can be quite lucrative: a proven SEO expert can earn $75 per hour – or more.
Make Money Driving in College
If you have a car and a few precious hours of free time per week, there are plenty of driving gigs out there for you. Most of these jobs offer flexible schedules, so college students can make money when it’s convenient for them.
For more information on how to make money with your car in college, check out our article here!
There are a couple of ways to earn money driving for Uber.
The first is as a taxi service, shuttling people from hither to yon. Typically, full-time Uber drivers earn about $850 per week.
In order to qualify for this job, you must be 21 years old and have had a license for three years. If you are 23 or older, you only need to have had a license for one year.
If you prefer not to carry live passengers, Uber Eats is another option.
Uber Eats drivers typically earn $8 to $13 per hour. While this isn’t as high as some of the other food delivery services, Uber services more cities and has greater name recognition, which may earn you more bites overall.
This service has less stringent requirements –you can even deliver by bicycle or moped. Depending on your mode of transportation, the minimum age varies from 18 to 19 years of age. (To learn about making money in your teenage years, check out our list here!)
GrubHub is another way to earn money delivering food in your car. They pay $11 to $12 per hour, depending on location, and have less strict technology requirements than some of their competitors.
To become a GrubHub driver, you must be 19 years of age, have two years of driving experience, and a valid driver’s license and insurance. Some GrubHub locations also allow you to deliver by bicycle, as well.
13. Amazon Flex
Driving for Amazon Flex brings all the perks of making money on Amazon without the full-time hours. The pay is pretty good, too, especially for a college student – Amazon Flex drivers typically net $18 to $26 per hour.
With Amazon Flex, you have to be at least 21 years of age, own a 4-door vehicle or pickup truck with a closed bed, and be able to provide a license and insurance.
You will also need a recent-model iPhone or Android in order to use the Amazon Flex delivery app.
Make Money with Your Writing in College
College students have plenty of practice writing papers – why not put those English skills to good use and make some money on the side?
14. Start a Blog
If you really want to capitalize on your earning potential, starting a blog is the way to do it. While the blog itself can eventually become a source of income, that doesn’t have to be your primary motivation, at least at first.
Blogs are useful for anyone who needs or wants an online base to sell their craft. From jewelry makers to writers to videographers and beyond, having your own website allows you to build a living portfolio of your skills.
Plus, you can monetize your website by partnering with influencers, selling advertisement space, or marketing products for affiliates.
15. Freelance Writing
If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of maintaining your own blog, you can get paid to write articles for others. While breaking into the writing space can be a slow process once you’re established, you can start raking in the dough.
The best part about freelance writing (or any freelance work) is that you get to choose your clients and your projects. Whether you want to write short stories, stock market analyses, or sleep stories for a podcast, there is someone out there who wants to pay you for writing what you love.
You can make money by selling college papers to GradeSaver for a tidy sum. Or, if you don’t want to write more of the same thing day in and day out, you can get started on Upwork.
You can also advertise your skills on your LinkedIn profile and even apply for freelance writing jobs through Indeed.
16. Write Your Peer’s Resumes
What do 16-year-olds, graduating college students, and middle-aged businessmen in a midlife crisis have in common?
They all need a shiny, new resume.
As a college student who needs to make a little money on the side, why not hone all those English and organizational skills and charge them a pretty penny for it?
Resume writing can be a taxing process at first, but once you’re familiar with the basics, it’s easy to adapt a basic set of templates to suit the needs of hundreds of clients.
To get started, check out resume-writing services such as Monster.com, TopResume, and Top CV. Or, you can advertise your skills on LinkedIn and other social media.
Learn more about creating the perfect resume here!
Make Money in Medicine – While You’re Still in College
Technically, it’s illegal to sell your body parts in the United States. However, with the right workaround, you can make money in college and save lives at the same time.
All you have to do is give a little piece of yourself.
17. “Donate” Your Plasma
Selling your plasma won’t make you rich, but if you need reliable cash every week, this is one way to go.
Currently, FDA guidelines allow you to donate blood up to twice per week, at least 48 hours apart. How much you’re allowed to donate is based on your weight and health – thus, the more you weigh, the more you can donate.
Typically, you can expect to make between $20 and $50 per donation. That’s up to $200 per month for your plasma alone!
P.S. If you’re curious, plasma banks aren’t purchasing your bodily fluids; they’re paying you for your time. Quite the nifty workaround.
18. Sell Your Reproductive Abilities
If you’re afraid of needles, selling your sperm or eggs may be a better option than donating plasma. However, there can be more stringent health requirements involved with auctioning off your reproductive abilities.
For men, donating sperm can net anywhere from $25 to $125 per donation. Some of the largest sperm banks, such as the Manhattan Cryobank, will pay top donors up to $1,500 per month. Be warned, however: these programs may require a donation commitment of one year or less.
For women, the amount of money you can make from selling your eggs depends on your health, the quality of your eggs, and the number the bank can retrieve. Egg donors typically net between $10,000 and $15,000 for their eggs.
Unlike donating sperm, however, this process can be time-consuming and even painful – so it might be wise to consult with your doctor first.
19. Become a Volunteer
Research studies are one way to make a lot of money fairly quickly as a college student. However, this is one of the riskiest options on this list, as research studies often involve taking unapproved drugs or other medical treatments to test effectiveness and side effects.
Additionally, most research studies will require you to qualify based on a list of prerequisites. For instance, you may need to have a chronic medical condition, live a certain lifestyle, or have other factors that make you an attractive candidate.
However, if you qualify and feel that the risk is worth taking, paid medical studies can earn you up to $15,000. (Though the average payout comes to $50-$300 per day).
Make Money in College by Reducing, Reusing…
Anyone care to finish the saying for me?
20. Recycle Cans and Bottles
If you live in a money that pays for recycling your cans and bottles, this can be a reliable – if slow – way to make money as a college student. Typically, the payout comes to $0.05 to $0.10 per bottle; a whole trash bag can net you $10 to $15.
Bonus: if you collect your cans by joining a litter cleanup crew, you might be able to earn class credit for community service, as well!
21. Recycle Scrap Metal
While recycling scrap metal isn’t the first thing that comes to mind for most people, it can be a lucrative side hustle. It can be harder to collect scrap metal donations or pick it up from the side of the highway, but the metal itself can be valuable enough to make it worth your time.
Or, if you have a little bit of starting cash to use as capital, you can advertise a “Scrap Metal Pickup” business and buy other people’s scraps to resell at a decent profit.
Make Money in College with Passive Income
Once you have a few hundred dollars saved up from your other side hustles, you might consider investing those funds. Whether you’re saving for retirement, looking to save for a house, or just want to see your money make more money, investing can help you get ahead.
22. Peer to Peer Lending
Peer-to-peer lending is where you loan money to others on the agreement that you’ll receive interest when they pay you back. In other words, you become the lending bank.
While peer-to-peer lending can be risky when you loan larger amounts, some apps allow you to lend as little as $25 per person. On the other hand, if you have enough capital to finance larger or riskier ventures, you can charge more in interest to offset your risk.
Typically, peer-to-peer lenders earn an average of 5-7% return on their investments.
23. Try Real Estate
While the idea of buying a house in college may seem ludicrous, there are other ways to get started investing in real estate.
For instance, you can join a crowd-funded real estate platform and put as little as $500 toward investing in real estate of all stripes.
Or, you can put your money into a real estate investment trust and start seeing returns on the properties someone else owns.
24. Invest in the Stock Market
If neither of these ideas sound like your cup of tea, you can always make money in the stock market while you’re in college. Turning your investments into passive income can take some time – and a few losses – to get right, but once you get started, it will become as natural as setting money aside in your retirement fund.
The best part is, you can get started with as little as $1 with some of the free investing apps on the market.
If you’re interested in getting started investing today, be sure to check out Financial Professional’s new investment marketplace.