55+ Brilliant Ways How to Make (Real) Money in College: The Ultimate Guide

Money
Updated: 13th Oct 2020
Written by Drew Cheneler
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June 21, 2020
Written by Drew Cheneler

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With the average college student graduating with $37,172 in student loan debt, it is safe to say that college students need to make money.

Not to mention, most college students pay for textbooks, food, rent (if you live off campus), and social dues.

Best Ways to Make Money In college

Fret not, in this ultimate how-to guide we uncover 25+ Genius Ways How to Make (Real) Money in College. From transporting other students to taking paid online surveys, and everything in between, this is the only resource you will need to start a profitable side hustle as a college student.

If you are willing to get creative and stay motivated, then it is completely possible for you to make some damn good side money.

No more excuses! It is time for you to start earning money. Are you ready? Let’s get this party started!

Easiest Ways How to make money in college

1. Start a Blog!

Starting a blog or website is one of the most profitable ways to make money online and is one of the best business ideas for aspiring entrepreneurs. In fact, with a little bit of hard work and determination, you can create a blog that generates over six figures a year in passive income.

Three Reasons Why You Should Start a Blog

Cheap Overhead

Starting a blog is cheap. I recommend hosting your blog and registering your domain name through Bluehost, because they are the best hosting service for beginners and the cheapest. What are you waiting for? Get started today for only $3.95/Month!

Easy to Scale

Blogging is one of the easiest online businesses to scale. Once you start making money, you can hire freelance writers and developers to do most of the work for you.

Easy to Start.

Like we said, starting a blog is easy and fun. If you are creative, an expert in a certain topic, and eager to learn, then blogging is the perfect side hustle for you.

If you are ready to make serious money, then read our guide on how to start a blog

2. Take Paid Online Surveys

This is hands down the easiest and my favorite way to make money as a college student. Swagbucks, and Survey Junkie will literally pay you to take quick surveys. I recommend downloading both to maximize your earning potential.

To get started, you need to create an account (about 1 minute), and then you need to sit back and wait. These companies will send you surveys periodically for you to take. Here is the best part, you can take these surveys while you are in class or watching the new episode of Game of Thrones.

Make sure to read our Swagbucks Review and Survey Junkie Review to find out the details about this lucrative opportunity.

3. Earn Cash Back Rewards

Rakuten is one of the best apps to download if you are serious about earning cash-back rewards on your purchases. Whether you are shopping online, in a store, or at the mall, Rakuten will reward you handsomely. In fact, in some cases they will pay up to 40% cash-back on qualifying purchases. They have partnered with over 2,500 stores, such as Kohl’s, ebay, Target, Kate Spade, Nike, Lululemon, and Verizon.

Related: Rakuten Review

4. Get Rebates for Shopping

Ibotta is another cash-back app. Download the app and start earning cash-back today. It is that easy! They have already paid over $682,455,128 to their loyal clients. Ibotta is currently offering a $20 welcome bonus.

5. Browse the Internet & Watch Videos

Do you ever just stare at your laptop in class and forget what you learned? If so, then Swagbucks is the perfect opportunity for you. This money-making app will pay you to browse the internet, take surveys, and watch videos. I would download this mobile app right now, so you can start making money next time you are in class.

6. Deliver Food

If your are like me, then you love to order takeout. But, someone needs to get paid to deliver food. This is where you come in to make a quick buck.

Make Money with DoorDash

Like Instacart, DoorDash is another great app for you to download. Available in over 4,000 cities, as a Dasher you will get paid to pick up and drop off food for others. It is that easy. DoorDash is a great way for you to make an extra $100 or so a week. 

Again, your earning potential will be dictated by how often you work. The more you work, the more you will earn. If you want to start this side hustle, read our quick DoorDash Guide.

7. Deliver Goods to Others with Postmates

Postmates is a lucrative opportunity if you are fine driving around or biking. If you deliver goods with Postmates, you can earn up to $25 an hour.
As a deliverer, you choose your own hours and will earn 100% of the tips you receive. And you can cash out instantly at any time. They will deposit your earnings straight into your bank account for free.

Learn More: Check out our Postmates Review.

8. Start a Podcast

Starting a Podcast is one of my favorite ways for a college student to earn money on the side. With a Podcast, you build up your own personal brand, network, talks about topics you care about, and make great money through ads and sponsorships.

If you are interested in starting a podcast, then you need to partner with a podcast hosting company, such as Buzzsprout (our top choice). Buzzsprout offers a free hosting plan, and three paid plans; however, we do not recommend you pay for a plan just yet.

Since you are starting out, you need to build up your audience and produce valuable content. As your fan base grows, then go on ahead and purchase a paid plan.

9. Rent Your Car

Do you have your car with you at school even though you walk around everywhere on campus? If so, then rent your car out on Turo or Getaround. People will pay you to rent your car for a few hours or days.

If you are worried about people crashing your car, don’t be. Both Turo and Getaround will cover you up to $1 million in liability insurance. As they tout, the average person who lists their car earns an extra $706/month.

10. Walk Dogs & Petsit

Though you may be busy with classes and work to own a dog yourself, there are still plenty of ways for you to earn money and enjoy playing with dogs. Nearby dog owners sometimes do not have time to walk their own dog, so they pay others to do it. Rover is a leading app that connects dogs with walkers.

Walk Dogs & Be a Pet sitter to make money as a college student

 

Also on Rover, people are constantly looking for someone to watch their dog while they travel out of town, so you can land a few of these gigs as well. Pet sitting pays more than a walk, but both are still great ways for you to make money as a college student.

11. Start an eCommerce Website

There are countless American’s who have made millions from the eCommerce boom, and there is no excuse for you to not partake in this industry. Shopify has revolutionized the eCommerce industry. Their platform makes it easier than ever to start selling or reselling digital products.

While it is certainly a challenge to design, manufacture, and market your own product to sell, it is still one of the best ways to make money as a college student. However, if you want to bypass the design and development step and get straight to selling a physical product, then find products on Aliexpress or Lightinthebox to resell.

Remember, reselling products still requires you to find a location to store your inventory and some significant upfront costs. But fortunately, there is a new way to own and operate an eCommerce website – drop shipping. As a drop shipper, you partner with a manufacturer who will handle the inventory and processing aspect of your business, while you focus on selling the product.

12. Sell Used Clothes & Old Items

Let’s be real, we all have a ton of old items and clothes that we are dying to get rid of. Tap into eBay, Craigslist, or Decluttr to sell your old goods to others. This is a quick, easy, and relieving way to get rid of your old items and make a quick buck.

13. Start Investing

Investing is one of the most time-tested ways to grow your wealth. The digital revolution has made it wildly easy to start investing. In fact, with Acorns you can start investing with as little as $10. Acorns will round up your spare change after every purchase and will automatically invest it into the market.

Learning how to invest in college will make you money.

 

As a college student, you are in a prime position to start investing and here is why. Investing is a long-term game and requires patience. The longer you have your money invested in the market then the longer it has to compound over-time.

Trust me, we aren’t the only ones who agree that investing is a great way to grow your wealth. As Albert Einstein acclaims, “compound interest is the 8th wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.”

Related: Best Money Making Apps.

14. Peer-to-Peer Lending

Peer-to-Peer lending is another form of investing. As a lender, you will give someone else money and they will pay you back over-time in the form of interest. Lending money is one of the best forms of passive income, because the borrower has to make monthly payments to you.

As an investor, Lendingclub is the best place for you to access peer-to-peer lending deals.

15. Invest in Real Estate (It is Easier than you think)

To this day, Real Estate investing still takes the reigns as the best way to increase your net worth. Fortunately, technology has completely changed the way the average American invests in real estate.

Crowdfunded platforms like Fundrise and Realtymogul allow you to invest in both residential and commercial real estate deals around the country. If you want to jump start your journey towards an early retirement, then this truly is an opportunity you should not pass up.

16. Become a Notary Public Loan Signing Agent

This is truly a unique yet profitable side hustle that you can start in college. Serving as a Loan Signing Agent is a sure shot way to make an extra $50 – $200 a week. This side hustle is great, because you work on your own time. If you have a free period off in the morning, then you can schedule to see clients then.

If you are serious about making money as a college student, then it is worth paying for the Loan Signing System Training Course. Over 50,000 people have already taken the course and are well on their way to earning thousands of dollars. By the end of the course, you will know how to book clients, walk them through signing a loan document, and will receive a certification.

17. Become a Freelancer & Offer Up Your Services

Are you a good writer? What about an expert in a certain field? Did you have an internship last summer and bring forth valid experience? Becoming a Freelancer is a great way for you to earn money as a college student.
Finding Freelance jobs as a College student is easier than you think.
 

Whether you are a computer programmer or a writer, their is a freelance opportunity out their for you. To get started, register for an account on Flexjobs, Solidgigs, & Upwork.

Potential Freelance Services You could Offer

  • Computer Program
  • Logo Design
  • Writer
  • Website Developer
  • Marketer

Remember, these are just a few of the many freelance services you could offer. We are all good at multiple things, so pick what you are best at and offer that service on one of the websites we listed above. To this day, freelancing remains one of the best online jobs

18. Start a Youtube Channel

At this point it is common knowledge that Youtubers make money. Ryan Kaji (an 8-year old) pulled in more than $26 million last year.

However, starting a Youtube channel takes time, effort, and a small upfront investment in the necessary video/audio equipment. If you are not shy and creative, then this is a great little side hustle you can start as a college student.

Related: How to Make Money on YouTube

19. Become a Private Tutor

Thousands of students and parents are looking for a good tutor. In today’s world, they are hard to come by. Start by taking on a few clients and really hone in on your teaching style. Once you begin to build up your reputation, then start advertising your expertise on local job forums and social media.

20. Become a Virtual Assistant

You may be asking yourself, “what is a Virtual Assistant?” A VA is essentially an administrative assistant, but for small businesses or Solopreneurs who cannot afford a full-time admin assistant.

Like you, I was skeptical at first, but after talking and working with a few VA’s, they make great money. From answering customer phone calls to sending out emails, and everything in between, a VA helps complete ‘busy work’ for the organization they are hired by. Kayla Sloan offers a great online course for those who are motivated and ready to learn how to become a profitable virtual assistant. Flexjobs is the best marketplace to land clients as a virtual assistant.

Common Virtual Assistant Tasks:

  • Answer Phone Calls
  • Customer Support
  • Send Emails
  • Event Planning
  • Social Media Management
  • Process Payments

21. Create an Online Course

Do you have a passion to teach? Are you an subject matter expert on a topic? Thinkific makes it easy for you to create and sell an online course. Do not be afraid of the technical aspect of launching an online course, their are plenty of resources available to help guide you step-by-step.

Four Quick Tips to Help You Create an Online Course

A. Research the Topic

The best course creators know their topic inside and out. They know what works and what doesn’t. If you want to gain a competitive edge, then scout out your competition and view some of their ‘free modules.’ This will give you a good baseline, so you know what to create and what not to.

B. Add Value

How long are your competitors courses? What unique insight can you add? These are two leading questions to help you start formulating your million dollar online course.

C. Don’t Wait to Start

I know we are talking about researching our competitors a lot, but the best thing you can do is just start. Do not let the details slow you down. As you begin to learn, you can always iterate and modify your course, so it meets the needs of your students.

D. Do Not Over Price Your Course

When you first start out and launch your online course, you need a competitive advantage. That advantage is price. Launch your course at a reasonable price, and increase the price as it gains in popularity and you refine it to truly meet the needs of your students. Remember, user feedback is key. The more input and recommendations your students offer you the better.

22. Serve as a Residential Assistant (RA)

We get it, sometimes Residential Assistants get a bad rep. But, they are just trying to do their JOBS. Serving as a Residential Assistant for one year is one the best ways to make a few thousands dollars or to reduce your annual tuition.

23. Teacher Assistant (TA)

Are you close with any professors or a top performer within your major? Ask to become a teachers assistant. Aside from the money, this is another opportunity to further your expertise and work with a team of professionals. Also, serving as A TA looks damn nice on the resume.

24. Drive with Lyft

Enjoy driving around your campus? Lyft can make you some serious money on the weekends. Who am I kidding, college students are notorious for going out every night. Tap into the surge charges and start making money today! Driving for Lyft is a great way to make an extra $1,000 a month

Sign Up to Drive Others Around to Make Money in College. Drive for Lyft as a College Student.

 

25. Drive with Uber

Rivals with Lyft, Uber is another ride hailing company that will pay you to drive others. Tap into both platforms to maximize your earnings. As a driver, you can turn off one app and drive for the other. Drive for whichever one is charging travelers more. It is simple math, the more the trip costs, the more you will make.

26. Deliver with Instacart

Instacart is a great platform that pays you to deliver groceries for others. It is free to sign up and the earning potential is unlimited. We get it, as a college student you are busy; however, Instacart allows you to choose your work schedule.

The flexibility they afford their shoppers is second to none. The more you work the more you get paid. It is a win-win all around.

Make sure to check out our Instacart Review.

27. Graphic Designer

Are you an artist? Are you skilled at using Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator? Finding work as a graphic designer is easier than you think. Believe it or not, thousands of small businesses, startups, and corporations are on the lookout for skilled graphic designers.

As a new graphic designer, you can command a rate of $25 – $50 per hour. But, after some experience, you will easily make $150 – $300 per hour. Not to shabby. Flexjobs is a great resource to tap into if you are actively looking for work as a graphic designer.

28. Transcription – Get Paid to Type

Yes – it really is that easy. Websites like GoTranscript or TranscribeAnywhere will legit pay you to type for others. The top earners are pulling in more than $1,000 per month.

29. Become a Barista – Everyone Loves Coffee

Does your campus have a boutique coffee shop or is there a Starbucks nearby? Work at the coffee shop. Even if you only work 5 – 10 hours a week, that is still an extra $50 – $100.

Work at the College Coffee shop to make money

 

30. Work at the Campus or Local Gym

Every College or University has a workout center. Apply for a job at your campus gym or a local gym nearby. Another great way to earn some money.

31. Campus or Local Security Guard

Want to become a police officer one day? Start by working as a campus security guard. This will allow you to get some experience and put on your resume that you worked in some sort of law enforcement capacity.

32. Web Designer

If you are a computer scientist major or have some background in web development, then this is a great field to tap into. Web Designers are typically paid on a project basis. But believe me, a skilled web developer can charge a pretty penny for their services.

Common Computer Languages/Platforms  you will work with as a Web Developer:

  • JavaScript
  • WordPress
  • Python
  • HTML, C++
  • C#, SQL
  • Ruby, Swift, Rust

As a freelance web designer, make sure to advertise your skills on Flexjobs, Upwork, and Fiverr.

33. Sell Your Class Notes

StudySoup will pay you cold hard cash to sell your class notes. However, your notes need to be detailed and in-depth. They will not take notes that are poorly written and or are hard to read. I recommend typing up your notes. It will be easier to sell and help out future students.

34. Test out Websites

Small businesses, startups, corporations, or really any entity with an online presence will pay you to test out their website. They need detailed user-feedback so they can improve their produce and customer experience. UserTesting is a great website to start looking for this kind of work.

35. Get Paid to Program & Code

As you can see, there is a shortage of talented computer programmers. Coding for others is one of the best side hustles you can start as a college student. If you love to solve complex problems, work with skilled entrepreneurs, and want to be apart of a winning team, then working as a computer programmer is the perfect job for you. Flexjobs is my two favorite platforms to find freelance computer programming work.

36. Serve as a Campus Ambassador

Working as a campus ambassador is another stellar way to make money as a college student. If you are passionate about your school, know the history, and love to speak in front of large crowds, then look no further.

37. Work at a Store

As a college student, you need to explore all employment opportunities. Retail stores near your campus are constantly hiring. Look around and fill out a few applications. Who knows, by the time you are a senior in college you may be promoted to a senior manager.

Best stores to work at as a College Student

  • Walmart
  • Amazon Warehouse
  • Target
  • Kruger
  • Costco
  • Home Depot

38. Partake in Market Research

Elevated Insights will pay you to work a focus group to conduct market research. Most researchers make between $50 – $150 per study, and the studies do not last long. This is a great opportunity for you to make a difference and help out a company who is trying to refine their product or service.

39. Sell & Design T-Shirts

For years, college students have successfully designed and sold t-shirts. Shopify makes it easy for you to reach your target audience and sell your awesome t-shirts.

40. Rent out a Spare Room

Do you and your roommates have a spare room in the house? If so, then list it on Airbnb. Depending on how often you list a spare room, you could make up to $1,000 a month!

41. Let Others Use your Driveway or Garage

Neighbor is a hot start up that allows you to rent out spare storage space to others. If you have a closet that is not used, list it on the website and start making money. As they tout, a spare closet of yours can make you an extra $600 or more every year.

Related: Check out our in-depth review of Neighbor Storage

42. House Sit

While you will have to actively seek out leads for a side gig like this, house sitting is still a great way you can make a few hundred dollars as a college student.

43. Find ‘Odd Jobs’ on TaskRabbit

TaskRabbit is a great place for you to find ‘odd jobs.’ From mowing lawns to completing junk removal runs, and everything in between, this is a great resource to land profitable side gigs.

44. Sell Items on Etsy

Etsy is a marketplace for hand-made arts and crafts. If you are an artist and are looking for a place to sell your work, then Etsy is worth some serious consideration. Millions of Americans have turned to Etsy to reach their target audience, make money, and continue their passion of creating hand-made goods.

45. Instagram Influencer

Do you command a large following on Instagram? Working as an Instagram influencer is a great way for you to make money as a college student. As an influencer, you will market products for elite startups, fashion companies, or large brands. Depending on how many followers you have, you could turn this side hustle into a six-figure business.

46. Become a Referee

If you love sports and love working with the local community, then become a referee. As simple as it sounds, being a referee is awesome because it gets you out of the house and you get paid!

47. Answer Questions Online

Survey Junkie (one of our favorite money-making apps), will pay you to answer questions online. JustAnswer will also pay you to answer in-depth questions for professionals and services.

48. Data Entry

As companies become more and more reliant on technology, they are processing data at breakneck speed. Finding work in the Data Entry industry has never been easier. Websites like Flexjobs, Indeed, and Upwork will help you connect with leading companies who need your services and time.

Working as a Data Entry Specialist is a Great Career Field for College Students

 

To get started, make sure you have a working laptop and are ready to learn. While most people think you need a technical background to enter this field, you do not. You will be typing information into large data sets and that is about it. However, working with these large data sets will be excellent exposure into the Data Science career field, which commands a starting six-figure salary.

49. Create a Mobile App (iOS or Android)

Love the mobile app Snap Chat? What about Twitter? Right. These all started as mobile apps and are now billion dollar corporations with thousands of employees. Creating a mobile is easier than you think and can be incredibly lucrative.

Skills Needed to Launch a Mobile App:

  • Coding/Programming
  • Product Management
  • Design
  • Creative Thinker
  • Growth Marketing
  • Sales
  • Understand User Experience

50. Sell Your Photos

Do you enjoy taking photos or do you have a lot saved on your phone from the previous years? There are a ton of online resources that will pay you for your pictures. Across the United States, businesses and corporations need quality photos to use for their website and marketing efforts. How could would it be if your photo appeared in a super bowl commercial?

51. Sell Your Old Textbooks

Chegg or Amazon will purchase your old textbooks. Selling your textbooks is a great way to free up some space on your desk and make a quick buck.

52. Become a Babysitter

It is not a rumor. Babysitters and nannies make great money if they work for the right client. This is a great summer job, but an even better opportunity throughout the school year if you are lucky enough to find the right family. Care.com is a great resource to use if you are looking for opportunities and if you want to build up your reputation.

53. Clean Windows & Paint

If you are like the average college student, then you love to be outside. CollegePro’s is looking to hire students to help them clean windows and paint homes.

54. Become a Mover

College Students are notorious for working as movers. Moving furniture for others is a lucrative side hustle, but it requires you to interact with others, lift heavy objects, and work long hours. If you are up for the task, then consider becoming a mover for a local company near your College or University.

55. Mow Lawns

Here is another great money making job for a college student. If you have your mower with you at school, then post ads on Craigslist or ask your professors. Plenty of people need their lawn mowed and always will.

56. Shovel Snow During the Winter

Go to school in the North East or Midwest? Then you know just how much snow these regions get. Instead of wasting away a snow day, get outside and shovel snow in your community. Turn a boring snow day into a multi-hundred dollar pay day.

57. Become a Personal Trainer

If you are a fitness enthusiast, then consider becoming a certified personal trainer. NASM offers an online training program that gets you a Personal Trainer, Nutrition Specialist, and Weight Loss Certification. This could be a profitable side hustle for years to come.

Should College students work while in school?

Yes! Working in college will alleviate the financial burden college students endure. As we all know, college tuition continues to rise, and students need to start paying off that debt immediately. Additionally, working in college will allow you to build up your savings and gain valuable experience that you can put on your resume.

Summary: 55+ Ways How to Make (Real) Money in College

As you can see, there are a ton of great opportunities for you to make money as a college student. Make sure to choose a job or side-hustle that will make you happy and pay you well. Remember, if you pick up a new skill through this journey of earning money online as a college student make sure to add it to your resume.

If there is anything you would like to see added to the list please leave a comment below. This resource is for you. I want to ensure it is the most complete and up to date guide on how to make money as a college student.

 

 

Drew Cheneler
Drew Cheneler
Drew is a recognized Credit, Small Business, and Personal Finance Expert. He has been quoted in CNBC, Fox Business News Section, The Huffington Post, Business.com, Moneyunder30, US Chamber of Commerce, and more. He is known for breaking down complex personal finance topics into action-oriented advice, so you can make the most of your hard-earned money.