Heading off to college means entering into a whole new world of new independence that can be simultaneously exciting and daunting. With this newfound adulthood comes plenty of extra expenses, so learning how to make money in college (without sacrificing your course load) can be helpful.
College students don’t have a career yet, and money can be very difficult to come by. However, they have to make serious financial decisions in the midst of this—it’s hard to find anything more expensive than college tuition!
You may find yourself budgeting for the first time ever or (hopefully not) running up your credit card in a race against your student loan debt. If it’s not evident right away, the question for students quickly becomes how to make money in college while finding a job flexible enough to let you attend classes.
This is true even for those returning to school after a long time away. Whether you have left behind a career path or are just beginning to explore career options, the simple truth is going to college costs money and takes time.
Here you will find excellent ways that new and returning college students can make money while continuing their education. These are easy side jobs with flexible schedules that are worth the amount of time you have to put into them. After all, you need to study, too.
Making Money In College
In one sense, it’s harder to figure out how to make money in college than it is to work just any part-time job. College schedules are far more challenging to work around than another full or part-time job.
This is because classes can happen at odd hours of the day, which makes your availability inconsistent. That’s not to mention labs, study groups, and extra lectures too! When you aren’t immersed in academics, you need the shortest distance possible between you and your money. It’s more important than ever that you be able to set your own hours and work whenever you’re inclined.
If you take just any part-time job, you are at the mercy of the scheduler, and you may not enjoy consistent income from week to week. Since class-time isn’t earning you money, you need your income to be steady and reliable.
Remember, time is a precious commodity in this season. Don’t want to spend it mining for trinkets! You need real income to supplement your student lifestyle.
The goal? Find time to study, have fun, and make money—all at the same time. Plus, get some real-world experience in for your resume too! It may sound like a tall order, but it’s absolutely possible now more than ever thanks to the internet and gig economy!
1. Make Money on Your Phone
Let’s get the low-hanging fruit out of the way. There are tons of apps that earn you money essentially for exposing yourself to their products or participating in their marketing process.
This type of money-making system is not designed to be a sustainable source of full-time income, but if you don’t mind watching ads and taking surveys, you can line your pocketbook nicely.
This category includes secret shoppers and survey sites like Survey Junkie and Swagbucks. Although survey sites require a lot more of your time (if you want to make any significant amount of money), some options allow you to leverage your existing lifestyle.
Achievement, for example, is great for fitness enthusiasts and students looking for more motivation to maintain a healthier lifestyle. It’s more like an investment than a job in that it will take a while before you earn enough to cash out. However, you can use your daily experience at the campus gym to regularly accumulate points.
You can also earn money as a mystery shopper if shopping is how you tend to spend your free time. However, although this seems like a dream job for shopaholics, it could become a financial nightmare. It is easy to get swept up in the products and forget it’s about earning money.
Mystery shopping opportunities more often than not include online shopping and taking surveys. Many of them will claim you can make money just by watching videos. While this is technically true, try to avoid any money-making opportunity that promises cash for essentially doing nothing.
2. Become a Rideshare Driver
Becoming an Uber or Lyft (or both!) driver is one of my favorite plans for how to make money in college. It completely revolves around your schedule, and you can earn good money essentially being the designated driver around campus.
You choose what rides to respond to, so if you are in an area with high need as college towns generally are, you can have your pick at virtually as many opportunities as you want. There is no pressure to be available at inconvenient times, and you set your own schedule.
Uber has become a household name. Everybody knows if you need to get somewhere and don’t have a car, call an Uber. That kind of recognition and built-in customer base makes earning money as a driver easy.
3. Earn as a Delivery Driver
You can also make money as a delivery driver. If you aren’t interested in allowing random strangers in your car, all hope is not lost. You can use your wheels to bring people all kinds of things to their doorsteps.
There is usually not even any kind of requirement to personally interact with anyone. You just drop off your delivery and notify the customer through their app that it arrived.
Delivering anything from groceries to hot meals may be your first step in deciding personally how to make money in college. If you don’t like it, it’s at least a solid starting point, and it won’t be a waste of time.
4. Become a Tutor
Ah, tutoring – what a great side hustle for a college student. Use what you have already learned to teach younger students and help them boost their grades. This is a wonderful way for students passionate about academia to use what they know to make some money while continuing to develop their own knowledge.
It doesn’t have to be just math or science, either. You can tutor students in foreign languages, history and even provide music lessons.
Although you will need to fill your calendar to make this gig work reliable, you get to set your own dates and times for availability. This is a huge win with your busy schedule!
Plus, depending on what career field you are going into, this role looks very nice on your resume too.
5. Be a Sitter
A similar type of gig that doesn’t involve as much teaching or instruction is sitting. Watching children not high on your favorites thing list? No worries. You can do all kinds of sitting jobs, from watching somebody’s house to caring for their plants, or pets. It all depends on you.
Becoming a sitter can be difficult to break into since people look for experienced, trusted professionals with high customer ratings. However, if you have a large enough social network and know families who will trust you, you can get started as a sitter quickly and easily without relying on a search database.
Owning a truck can be a hassle for college students because it means you’re the one everybody goes to for help when they need to move. However, it can be a rewarding way to make yourself useful and expand your social circles.
It’s also a great way to make some extra money by starting your own freelance moving business. If you have the right kind of rig, you can put it to good use and make money by helping customers move their belongings or even just haul stuff away.
As a hauler, you can make money taking people’s junk away and then double-dip by salvaging good items for merchandise on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Pivoting one business into another in order to make even more money is a good, efficient use of your time.
If you don’t mind physical labor and adding frequent miles to your truck, working as a mover/hauler/reseller could be a great move.
7. Virtual Assistants
On the other end of the spectrum, there is work you can do from your laptop and never leave your dorm room (until it’s time for class). As a virtual assistant, the type of work can mean all kinds of things, but essentially, it is an assistant position that you carry out virtually.
You can tailor your job function to your own specific strengths and add as many different types of gigs as you want. One type of opportunity is blog writing. Another thing virtual assistants do is manage social media accounts.
You can set your hours as a virtual assistant. Plus, you can focus on your strengths whether you are more creative or prefer repetitive tasks such as tagging or other forms of data entry.
To get started as a virtual assistant, check out relevant Facebook groups and consider starting a Fiverr account.
Make Money In College: The Bottom Line
Making a little extra money in college is possible and can help you in more ways than one. The extra cash can help cover living expenses and even get you a head start on your student loans. An extra bonus is that it gives you life experience and can even be added to your future resume. With a little effort, you’ll be able to start earning money in no time!