How to Make Money as a College Student

By Lace Brunsden

Published:

Side Hustles

Lace Brunsden

Lace Brunsden

Writer & Career Coach

Are you a broke college student struggling to make ends meet? Look no further! In this article, we’ll unveil the ultimate guide to boosting your bank account while juggling your studies. From savvy side hustles to smart financial strategies, discover the path to financial freedom during your college years.

Side Hustles for College Students

When considering how to make money as a college student, some ways are more efficient than others.

Our Criteria for the Best Side Hustles for College Students:
  • Flexible work hours.
  • Low time commitment (can be done on a part-time basis).
  • Allows college students to utilize their existing skills or develop marketable ones.

Online Jobs for College Students

Online jobs for college students are some of the easiest to balance with the rest of your schedule. This is because these online jobs are particularly flexible. So, if you want to figure out how to make money as a college student while working in the comfort of your own home, here are some that you can consider:

1. Freelance Writing

Freelance writing makes up a lot of online jobs for college students and involves creating content for websites, blogs, or publications on a wide range of topics. Earnings can vary widely, but experienced writers can make $20 to $100+ per hour, depending on their niche and expertise. Downsides include inconsistent income and the need to build a client base.

  • Requirements: Strong writing skills, grammar, and research abilities.
  • Where to Look: Websites like Upwork, Freelancer, or content mills like Textbroker.

2. Online Tutoring

Online tutoring entails helping students with their academic subjects or test preparation through virtual sessions. Rates range from $15 to $50 or more per hour, depending on the subject and your qualifications. The downside is that it requires a flexible schedule to accommodate students’ needs.

  • Requirements: Proficiency in the subject you plan to tutor, good communication skills.
  • Where to Look: Platforms like Chegg Tutors, Wyzant, or even advertise your services on campus.

3. Virtual Assistance

Virtual assistants provide administrative support remotely, including tasks like email management, scheduling, and data entry. As a virtual assistant, you can earn $15 to $30 per hour or more, depending on your experience and responsibilities. Downsides may include tight deadlines and multitasking.

  • Requirements: Organizational skills, computer proficiency, and strong communication.
  • Where to Look: Websites like Upwork, Remote.co, or contact local businesses.

4. Social Media Management

Social media managers oversee and create content for businesses’ social media accounts. These jobs are some of the best side hustles for college students who wish to enter marketing or related fields. Your potential earnings can range from $15 to $50 per hour, with potential for higher rates with experience. The downside is the need to manage multiple accounts and adhere to posting schedules.

  • Requirements: Familiarity with social media platforms, creativity, and marketing knowledge.
  • Where to Look: Check job boards, apply directly to businesses, or freelance platforms.

5. Online Surveys

Participate in online surveys and provide consumer feedback to market research companies. Earnings are typically low, often a few dollars per survey or in the form of gift cards. Downsides include time investment and limited income potential.

6. App Testing

Test mobile apps and provide feedback to app developers. Payment varies, but you can earn $10 to $30 per test. Downsides include irregular opportunities and competition for testing slots.

  • Requirements: A smartphone, attention to detail, and willingness to report bugs.
  • Where to Look: Platforms like UserTesting, BetaFamily, or contact app developers directly.

7. Remote Customer Service

Provide customer support for companies from your computer, typically via phone or chat. Pay ranges from $10 to $20 or more per hour, depending on the company. The downside can be dealing with demanding customers and having set work hours.

  • Requirements: Good communication skills, patience, and a quiet workspace.
  • Where to Look: Job search websites, company websites, or customer service job boards.

8. Transcription Services

Transcribe audio recordings into text documents. Rates vary but can range from $10 to $30 per audio hour. Downsides include tight deadlines and repetitive work.

  • Requirements: Typing skills, good listening skills, and accuracy.
  • Where to Look: Websites like Rev.com, TranscribeMe, or freelancing platforms.

9. E-commerce and Dropshipping

Start an online store and sell products, often using a dropshipping model where you don’t hold inventory. Earnings vary greatly depending on niche, marketing efforts, and competition. Downsides include initial setup costs and the potential for high competition.

  • Requirements: Entrepreneurial spirit, marketing skills, and some initial investment.
  • Where to Look: Platforms like Shopify for setting up your store or Spocket.co for sourcing products from suppliers.

In-Person Side Hustles for College Students

1. On-Campus Jobs

On-campus jobs are positions within the university or college, such as working in the library, cafeteria, or administrative offices. Pay varies but often aligns with minimum wage. Benefits include convenience and flexibility around class schedules.

  • Requirements: Enrollment as a student at the university or college.
  • Where to Look: Check your school’s job portal, visit the career center, or inquire with campus departments.

2. Tutoring

Offer in-person tutoring services to fellow students or local school students. Rates range from $10 to $30 or more per hour, depending on your expertise and demand.

  • Requirements: Proficiency in the subject you tutor, good communication skills.
  • Where to Look: Advertise your services on campus bulletin boards, social media, or through word-of-mouth.

3. Babysitting or Pet Sitting

Babysitting involves caring for children, while pet sitting entails looking after pets in the owners’ absence. Rates vary by location and duties but typically range from $10 to $20 or more per hour. Downsides include potential irregular hours and responsibility.

  • Requirements: Responsibility, experience with children or pets, and trustworthiness.
  • Where to Look: Use platforms like Care.com, Sittercity, or local community boards.

4. Food Delivery Driver

Deliver food orders from local restaurants to customers’ homes. Earnings include a combination of a per-order fee, tips, and mileage reimbursement, potentially averaging $10 to $20 per hour. Downsides include wear and tear on your vehicle and fluctuating income.

  • Requirements: A driver’s license, a vehicle, and a smartphone for app-based services.
  • Where to Look: Apply with food delivery apps like UberEats, DoorDash, or Grubhub.

5. Retail Sales Associate

You can work in a retail store, assisting customers, organizing merchandise, and processing sales. Hourly rates vary but often start around minimum wage. Retail sales associates may receive employee discounts as a perk.

  • Requirements: Good customer service skills and a willingness to work evenings and weekends.
  • Where to Look: Apply directly to local retail stores or through job search websites.

6. Server or Bartender

Serve customers in restaurants or bars, taking orders, delivering food and drinks, and providing a positive dining experience. Earnings include a combination of an hourly wage and tips, which can range from $10 to $30 or more per hour. The downside may involve late hours and demanding customers.

  • Requirements: Good interpersonal skills, multitasking ability, and sometimes a bartending license.
  • Where to Look: Apply to local restaurants and bars, especially those near campus.

7. Rideshare Driver

Provide transportation to passengers using your car through ridesharing apps. Earnings depend on the number of trips completed and location but can average $10 to $20 per hour. Downsides include gas expenses and vehicle wear and tear.

  • Requirements: A car, a driver’s license, and a smartphone with the app installed.
  • Where to Look: Sign up with ridesharing services like Uber or Lyft.

8. Yard Work and Landscaping

Offer lawn care, landscaping, or gardening services to homeowners in your community. Rates vary based on services provided but typically range from $15 to $30 or more per hour. Downsides include seasonal demand.

  • Requirements: Basic landscaping equipment, physical stamina, and knowledge of yard work.
  • Where to Look: Advertise your services in local neighborhoods or through online platforms.

9. House Cleaning

Provide house cleaning services to residents. Rates depend on the size and complexity of the job but can range from $15 to $30 or more per hour. Downsides include physical exertion and scheduling flexibility.

  • Requirements: Cleaning supplies, attention to detail, and reliability.
  • Where to Look: Advertise your services in local communities or use online platforms like TaskRabbit.

10. Car Detailing

Clean and detail cars, both interior and exterior, to make them look like new. Prices vary based on the level of detailing, but earnings can range from $15 to $30 or more per vehicle. The downside is the need for specialized equipment and supplies.

  • Requirements: Detailing equipment, cleaning products, and a space to work.
  • Where to Look: Offer services to friends, and family, or advertise locally.

Maximizing Your Earnings as a College Student

While side hustles can certainly boost your income, it’s equally important to manage your finances effectively to make the most of your hard-earned money. Here are some key strategies to help you do just that:

1. Budgeting

Creating a budget is the first step in managing your finances. Start by tracking your income and expenses. Identify your sources of income, including your side hustle earnings, and categorize your expenses into necessities (like rent, groceries, and textbooks) and discretionary spending (like entertainment and dining out).

2. Saving

Even on a student’s budget, saving is possible and crucial. Consider setting up a dedicated savings account or using a budgeting app to automate your savings. Aim to save a percentage of your income, even if it’s a small amount. Having an emergency fund can provide a safety net for unexpected expenses, helping you avoid financial stress.

3. Set Financial Goals

To stay motivated and focused on your financial journey, set specific, achievable financial goals. These goals could be short-term, like saving for a spring break trip, or long-term, like paying off student loans. Having clear objectives will help you prioritize your spending and make informed financial decisions.

4. Track Your Progress

Regularly review your budget and financial goals. Use tools like spreadsheets or personal finance apps to track your income, expenses, and savings progress. Adjust your budget as needed to accommodate changes in your side hustle income or expenses.

5. Avoid Credit Card Debt

Credit cards can be convenient, but they can also lead to debt if not used responsibly. Try to pay off your credit card balances in full each month to avoid high-interest charges. If you find yourself accumulating credit card debt, create a plan to pay it off as quickly as possible.

6. Take Advantage of Student Discounts

Many businesses offer discounts to students, so make sure to take advantage of these opportunities. Whether it’s reduced-price software, student meal plans, or discounts at local stores, these savings can add up over time.

Balancing Work and Academics

Balancing the demands of a side hustle with your academic responsibilities can be challenging, but it’s essential for your overall success and well-being as a college student. Here’s how to strike that crucial balance:

1. Importance of Time Management and Setting Priorities

  • Time management is your secret weapon when it comes to balancing work and academics. Start by creating a weekly schedule that includes class times, study hours, work shifts, and personal time. Prioritize your academic commitments by designating specific study hours and deadlines for assignments and exams. Understand that while your side hustle is important, your education should remain your top priority.

2. Strategies for Maintaining a Healthy Work-Academics Balance

  • Set Realistic Work Hours: Be honest with yourself about how many hours you can realistically dedicate to your side hustle without compromising your studies.
  • Communicate with Your Employer: If possible, communicate your academic schedule and commitments to your employer so they can accommodate your needs.
  • Avoid Overloading Yourself: Don’t take on more work than you can handle. It’s okay to say no to additional shifts or projects if you feel overwhelmed.
  • Take Breaks: Make sure to schedule regular breaks to avoid burnout. Short breaks during study sessions can improve productivity, too.

3. Study and Productivity Tips for Busy Students

  • Prioritize Efficient Studying: Focus on high-impact study techniques like active recall, spaced repetition, and summarization to make the most of your study time.
  • Use Technology Wisely: Utilize productivity apps and tools like task managers and calendar apps to keep track of assignments and deadlines.
  • Find Your Optimal Study Environment: Experiment with different study environments to discover where you are most productive. Libraries, quiet coffee shops, or your dorm room may be good options.
  • Stay Organized: Keep your study materials and notes organized. A clutter-free workspace can help you concentrate better.

4. Seek Support

  • Don’t hesitate to reach out for support when needed. Talk to professors or academic advisors about any challenges you face in balancing work and academics. They can often provide guidance or suggest resources to help you succeed.

5. Self-Care

  • Remember that your mental and physical health should always come first. Maintain a healthy diet, get regular exercise, and ensure you get enough sleep. These factors greatly influence your ability to perform well in both work and academics.

6. Flexibility and Adaptability

  • Be prepared to adapt your schedule as needed. Sometimes, academic demands may peak during exams or project deadlines, requiring you to temporarily reduce your work hours. Flexibility is key to maintaining balance.

Conclusion

In the quest to figure out how to make money as a college student, we’ve explored a myriad of side hustles, both online jobs for college students and in-person, that can help you boost your income. Whether you’re crafting a freelance writing career from your dorm room or serving tables at a local restaurant, there’s a side hustle out there for everyone.

But remember, maximizing your earnings is just one part of the equation. Equally important is how you manage that hard-earned money. Budgeting and saving are crucial steps toward financial security.

Balancing your work commitments with your academic responsibilities is a skill that can set you up for success not only during your college years but throughout your life. Effective time management, clear priorities, and self-care are the pillars of a balanced life.

Now, it’s up to you. Take the initiative to explore these opportunities and implement the strategies discussed in this article. Your financial future is in your hands, and the choices you make today can have a profound impact on your tomorrow.

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Lace Brunsden

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