The “broke college student” stereotype is part of our culture. So much so, that some students use it as a badge of honor, bragging about how they manage to survive only on instant noodles. While we’re all about thriftiness and resourcefulness, we think the “broke student” stereotype is a limiting belief.
Just because you’re a college student, that doesn’t mean you have to be broke. There are a whole host of ways you can make money as a student, and they go well beyond stereotypical student jobs like delivering pizza and working fast food.
In fact, we’ve come up with over 100 ways you can make money in college, and you’ll find them all below. For easier reading, we’ve broken these ways down into 11 different categories. Feel free to click on any of the links in the “Table of Contents” above to jump straight to the category that interests you, or read the whole guide from start to finish for the ultimate dose of inspiration.
Ready? Let’s do this thing!
We’ll start this guide off with jobs that don’t even require you to leave campus. These are mostly traditional hourly jobs where the university schedules you to work a set number of hours per week. However, these jobs still span a wide variety of areas, from leadership to research to good old-fashioned manual labor.
1. Become a Teaching Assistant (TA)
If you’ve taken any intro-level or gen-ed class at your university, you’ve probably had a TA. The TA’s job may have been to assist the professor during class, help students with assignments outside of class, or even teach the class entirely (though those sorts of TA positions tend to be reserved for graduate and Ph.D. students).
Whatever the specific duties, being a TA is a great way to get hands-on experience with teaching and the daily life of a professor. Especially if you’re considering a career in academia, a TA job will show you what life is like “behind the scenes” of the lecture hall. In some cases, you can also get class credit for being a TA.
To become a TA, you’ll need to have an existing relationship with the professor. It’s best if you’ve taken the class you’ll be TA-ing (or at least know the subject matter very well). While TA positions are sometimes advertised on official campus job boards, the best way to get one is to contact the professor you want to TA for directly. Let them know you’re interested in being their TA, explain why you’re qualified, and tell them how you’d bring value to the class(es) they teach.
2. Be a Research Assistant
If working with students isn’t your style, but you still want to work with a professor, then a research assistant could be the perfect job for you. Your duties as a research assistant will vary depending on the department and the professor you’re working for.
If you’re working in a science position, your duties might include performing or monitoring experiments, preparing and cleaning equipment, or collecting samples.
On the humanities side, you might do anything from scanning pages from a book to transcribing recorded interviews for use in an essay (I did this a lot when I worked for an English professor after my sophomore year).
The work isn’t always glamorous or exciting, but these jobs will do wonders for your communication, organizational, and problem-solving skills. They’re also the best way to learn how the university research process works, teaching you far more about the real world of academia than you’ll learn from writing a research paper for a class.
Like TA jobs, professors or departments will sometimes post openings for research assistants on campus job boards. But you can also go to a professor directly and offer to assist them. You’ll need to state what skills you have, what you hope to learn from the position, and how you can help them. If you’ve had the professor for a class (that you did well in), then all the better.
3. Become a Resident Assistant (RA)
Working as an RA might be the quintessential campus job. It’s a chance to boost your social and leadership skills while also making valuable connections with people who could write you letters of recommendation. As an RA, your main job is to build community among students while also serving as a resource for any questions they might have about college life.
Make no mistake: being an RA is not an easy job. You’ll have to deal with drunk students calling you at 3 am because they’re locked out of the building, roommate disputes, and homesick freshmen. Also, you have to live in a dorm, which is a drawback for some people. But it can also be a rewarding job, as you get to see students grow and thrive as they find their place in the campus community.
Becoming an RA is a lengthy process. In addition to several rounds of interviews, you’ll have to undergo extensive training in safety, conflict resolution, and university policies. Your job is to be able to answer any question a resident would have about living on campus, so expect to study up and never stop learning.
If you’re interested in becoming an RA, the best advice we can give is to talk to a current RA or a staff member of campus residence life. They’ll be able to give you information on how to apply and what to do to make yourself an attractive candidate.
Note: Compensation for RAs varies from university to university. Some will pay you a monthly stipend, while others will give you free or discounted housing. Either way, it’s a good financial decision.
4. Give Campus Tours
Hopefully, you visited your college before deciding to go there. And if you did visit, you probably took a tour. Those tours don’t give themselves, so why not work as a campus tour guide?
It’s a chance to learn way more than you ever wanted to know about your university, as well as develop your public speaking and people skills (not to mention thinking on your feet). Plus, you’ll probably have pretty jacked calf muscles after all that backwards walking.
Becoming a campus tour guide is a straightforward process. You’ll need to submit the usual resume and cover letter, and then pass a couple of rounds of in-person interviews. There will also be some training involved, including shadowing an existing tour guide and likely giving a mock tour to your supervisor.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be ready to give tours. Be prepared to sometimes work weekends, as those are often when colleges will give tours to rich alumni or prospective students/parents.
5. Work in Campus IT
Okay, so maybe working as a tour guide sounds like too much sunshine and physical activity. If that’s the case, and you have some computer skills, why not work for campus IT?
It’s a chance to learn more about how computers and other technologies work, but even more so it’s a chance to hone your patience and empathy. You will encounter questions that seem, well, kinda dumb. But it’s your job to remain patient and helpful, no matter how silly a question may seem.
To work for campus IT, you may have to meet certain prerequisites. Some IT departments will require you to become A+ Certified or even know certain programming languages. Any existing technical or computer skills are also a bonus, though a good attitude and a willingness to learn are the most important qualifications.
To learn more about how to get started in IT, check out this guide from IT expert Charles Eaton.
6. Host Prospective Students
To help prospective students get an idea of what college life is like, many universities offer the chance to do overnight visits. The prospectives will shadow a current student, going to their classes, sleeping in their dorm, and experiencing college firsthand.
In my experience, college admissions departments can never get enough people to do this, so it can be a good way to improve your social skills while also making money (or at least getting perks).
In many cases, these positions do not pay. However, they often come with perks, especially if you agree to host regularly. I had one friend who got a discount on his housing in exchange for agreeing to host students. And I’ve also heard of other incentives such as gift cards. At the very least, this job doesn’t take up much time and can be a lot of fun.
To become a prospective student host, you generally just have to inquire at your campus admissions office. You likely won’t even need a resume or a formal application–just lots of enthusiasm and a friendly attitude.
7. Work in Campus Dining
Have culinary aspirations? Then maybe you could work in campus dining. This job could involve anything from restocking the stations in the cafeteria to scooping french fries at midnight on a Saturday in the campus late-night restaurant. Be prepared to spend a lot of time on your feet, wear a hairnet, and work weird hours.
To apply, most colleges will require you to fill out a standard application along with a resume (and possibly a short cover letter). Once hired, you’ll have to undergo training in proper food handling, as well as the local health code.
8. Drive for Campus Transportation
Whatever the size of your campus, all universities need people and things driven around. Large universities operate bus services to get people from one end of campus to another, all colleges need vehicles to transport heavy furniture and equipment, and some colleges even operate special late-night shuttles to help intoxicated students get home safely.
In some cases, students are eligible to work as drivers for these vehicles. Requirements will vary based on what you’re transporting, the size of the vehicle, and local laws.
You’ll need to take a class on how to safely operate the vehicles in question, as well as have any other necessary licenses (usually a regular driver’s license is sufficient). These jobs are an opportunity to meet a variety of interesting people, explore your campus, and drive vehicles that you might never get to otherwise.
9. Work in the Campus Post Office
Depending on the size of your campus, you may or may not have a centralized university post office. My college was small enough that we did, and I spent an enjoyable 3 semesters working there.
I sorted the mail, gave people their packages, and even delivered mail to the rest of the campus (I got to drive a golf cart). You can do the same, and in the process, you’ll improve your customer service and organizational skills, all while getting a glimpse into the crazy things people get in the mail.
To get this sort of job, you’ll generally need to submit a resume and cover letter as well as undergo an interview. Other requirements are minimal, though a good attitude and work ethic is always valuable.
10. Be a Campus Tutor
While many intro-level classes have a TA to assist students outside of class, the TA’s time and energy are limited (especially if the class has hundreds of students). To provide students with further homework and study assistants, many departments will have dedicated tutors.
These tutors are generally students who have advanced knowledge of the subject in question. Math is probably the most common, though tutors for most general science courses and even certain humanities fields also exist at many universities.
To be a campus tutor, you’ll need to demonstrate that you know the subject in question. It doesn’t have to necessarily be your major, but it should be an area in which you have high grades. For instance, most upper-level engineering students should be qualified to tutor introductory math and physics classes.
The process to become a tutor depends on the department and the way your college structures its tutoring. The best way to find out how is to ask someone who’s already tutoring a subject you know well, or to contact the department for which you’d like to tutor.
In addition to knowledge of the subject, you’ll also need patience and the ability to break down difficult concepts in clear language. (Both of which are highly valuable skills to prospective employers, by the way).
Psst: Want the perks of tutoring while also setting your own rates and having greater control over your schedule? Look into freelance tutoring, which you can learn about here.
11. Work in the Writing Center
Always getting top grades on your essays? Then maybe the writing center would be a good place to work. Most colleges have one, and the job of tutors there is to assist students with all things related to writing.
It could be correcting someone’s grammar, helping them structure their essay, or even just helping them come up with a topic. You also have the flexibility to set hours that work for you, and you get to read papers on subjects you would probably never read otherwise.
You don’t have to be an English major, either (though this job does tend to attract lots of English majors). You’ll generally have to take a special class in addition to going through the regular job application process (which will likely include a writing sample). As with tutoring, you’ll need lots of patience and an approachable attitude.
12. Work the Dorm Front Desk
If you go to a large university, the dorms likely have a front desk where students can get their packages, report issues with their rooms, and get let into the building if they get locked out. Someone has to be at the desk 24/7, so there are plenty of jobs available. It can also be a good job to get your foot in the door if you want to be an RA.
There are no special qualifications you’ll need for this job, though good people skills and the ability to be calm under pressure are helpful. You’ll also have to be able to deal with long hours of sitting around and waiting for something to happen.
The good news is that you’re generally allowed to do your homework (or even pursue another side job) as long as you remain alert and help students promptly.
13. Work for Maintenance
A college has a lot of moving parts, and sooner or later some of those parts will break. This is where the maintenance crew comes in. Your job will be to assist the professional maintenance workers in fixing whatever is broken. You might be replacing lights, repairing doors, or removing junk from buildings (I had a friend who spent an entire summer doing this).
The qualifications will vary with how technical the job is. Generally, as a student, you’re not going to be doing carpentry or electrical work. Mainly, you’ll need stamina and the ability to lift heavy things, as well as a tolerance for working in unpleasant conditions. You can apply the same as you would for any other campus job, with a resume and interview being all you usually need.
14. Work for Custodial Services
Just as things break, they also get dirty. And someone’s gotta clean them. That could be you if you work for campus custodial services. You’ll get to see all over your campus, and probably go into creepy old academic buildings at night.
So long as you know how to use cleaning equipment, you should be qualified, though you may need to do some special training in how to use more technical equipment (and how to properly clean up hazardous materials).
15. Artist Model
This one is a bit unconventional, but it can be a well-paying opportunity. As a campus artist model, you pose for art students while they draw or paint your image. Despite what you might imagine, you don’t necessarily have to pose nude. You should of course inquire as to the job duties before you agree.
There aren’t any special requirements, though you will need to be comfortable standing or sitting still for long periods in what can sometimes be uncomfortable positions. You’ll also need to be okay with a bunch of strangers focusing on you intently. To apply, the best step would be to talk to the head of the art department.
Want to learn about even more great campus jobs? Check out our list of the 26 best part-time jobs for college students.
Moving on from campus jobs, we step out into the world. This is where things start to get interesting, as the amount of money you can make increases dramatically compared to campus jobs (which generally pay minimum wage).
This does mean, however, that these jobs can be less flexible with regard to your class schedule, so make sure you only pick jobs that you can manage in addition to your schoolwork.
16. Drive for Uber or Lyft
Have a car and want to put it to work? Driving for Uber or Lyft is an option. This job is immensely flexible, allowing you to drive whenever is convenient for you. You earn a percentage of the fare that passengers pay, as well as any tips they decide to give you.
These companies will often advertise that you can make $25/hour working for them, but this is extremely rare. In practice, the pay will be closer to minimum wage (though you can increase your earnings by operating in busy areas with high demand).
To drive for Uber or Lyft, you’ll need to be at least 21, pass a background check, have current insurance/vehicle registration/driver’s license, and have a qualifying vehicle (mainly it can’t be too old). You’ll also need to be friendly and willing to put up with passengers that can be drunk and unruly at times. To learn more, visit Uber or Lyft’s website.
Note: Most people drive for both services to maximize earnings.
17. Be a TaskRabbit
Have some marketable skills? Then TaskRabbit could be the place to use them to make some extra money. TaskRabbit is a service that connects Taskers (people with skills) with customers that need them. Originally, the service focused on physical skills such as yard work, cleaning, or helping with moving. Now, however, the platform also allows you to perform virtual tasks such as data entry or even graphic design.
- Event Planning
- Event Staffing
- Personal Assistant
- Furniture Assembly
- Heavy Lifting
- Minor Home Repairs
- Help Moving
- Arts / Crafts
- Carpentry & Construction
- Computer Help
- Cooking / Baking
- Data Entry
- Deep Clean
- Graphic Design
- Laundry and Ironing
- Office Administration
- Packing & Shipping
- Pet Sitting
- Selling Online
- Usability Testing
- Web Design & Development
- Wait In Line
- Window Cleaning
- Writing & Editing
- Yard Work & Removal
You’ll also need to be at least 21 (18 in the UK), pass a background check, and pay a non-refundable $20 registration fee. You get to set your own hourly rate and determine your own schedule, making this another appealing option for college students. Learn more about how to apply.
18. Deliver Things
Want to use your car, bike, or even your feet to make some extra money? Delivering things is an option to consider, especially with the proliferation of delivery apps these days. Options include DoorDash (deliver food from local restaurants), Postmates (deliver just about anything), Amazon Flex (deliver anything Amazon delivers), and Instacart (deliver groceries).
These services tend to have the same sorts of requirements, including a minimum age (generally between 18-21), necessary licenses and insurance (if using a vehicle), and the necessary method of transportation. In smaller cities, you’ll generally need a car to make deliveries. In larger cities, however, you can sometimes make deliveries on a bike or even on foot.
So how much can you make? It depends. Amazon Flex pays a minimum of $18 per hour, but the jobs are quite competitive, with most openings occurring during the holiday rush. Other delivery services don’t pay a set hourly rate—you get a percentage of the fee the customer pays, plus tips.
You also have to consider the expense of maintaining your vehicle and buying gas (if applicable). Still, it has way more flexibility than lots of other student jobs, so it could be worth it if you want to make some extra cash.
19. Be a Freelance Tutor
We already mentioned tutoring on campus at the tutoring center, but the pay for that is usually just above minimum wage. If you have the right knowledge, you can make more money by taking your tutoring services elsewhere. You could be a true freelance tutor, offering services privately and setting your own rate.
This might mean tutoring college students, but the real opportunity comes from tutoring younger students. This is because their parents are willing to pay (and quite well).
The best way to drum up tutoring business is through referrals, so we recommend asking around and seeing if anyone you (or your parents) know needs tutoring. You can also ask former teachers from high school or elementary school.
If you’d rather the clients come to you, then another option is to work at a tutoring center. The center will find you clients and pay you an hourly rate, often much more than you could make tutoring on campus. You can tutor anything you can demonstrate knowledge of.
Test prep is especially popular, so if you’ve scored well on standardized tests like the SAT, ACT, or GRE, you have a chance to make good money helping others succeed on these exams.
20. Tutor Your Native Language on iTalki
For a more specific example of freelance tutoring, why not try tutoring your native language? The most popular place for doing this is a website called iTalki. It connects teachers all over the world with students who want to learn a new language.
If you don’t have professional teaching qualifications, that’s fine. You can apply to be a community tutor. This means you won’t (generally) be able to charge as high rates as you would if you were a “professional” teacher, but you can still make good money.
You can set whatever schedule works best for you, teaching just a couple of hours a week if you like. Always be sure to be on time for lessons, and make sure you’re ready to explain (or look up) concepts in your language that you might never have thought about before.
If you’re in a college town, that means there’s likely a bar (or twenty) nearby. Instead of just spending your money there, why not make some? Bartending is a great way to increase your social skills while learning conflict resolution, customer service, and how to make drinks (a skill that comes in handy at parties). It can be a good student gig, as much of the work occurs in the evenings (though you’ll have to be comfortable with late nights).
To apply, you’ll generally need to undergo training on how to properly serve alcohol. You’ll also need to be 21 in most cases. In many US states, you can technically serve alcohol at age 18, but most bars won’t hire anyone under 21 for liability reasons. If you’re outside the US, then you’re probably good to go at 18 (though you should always check local laws).
If you know some basic accounting (or are willing to learn it), then you could help local businesses out with bookkeeping. It’s easier than you think, but almost every business would love to outsource it if possible. You can set your own hourly rate and do most of the work remotely, easily managing enough clients for a nice side income.
You shouldn’t need any special certifications, but it can help if you’ve taken a class in accounting at your university. To get experience, start with bookkeeping for a friend or family member’s business.
23. Summer Agricultural Work
If you’re not afraid to sweat and work outside, then you could do summer agricultural work. Thomas spent a summer detasseling corn, but your own area might have all manner of agricultural jobs related to harvesting crops or clearing fields. Requirements are quite minimal—you just need the stamina and strength to do the work. Pay is generally minimum wage, and the work will usually last just a few weeks.
24. Get a Summer Internship
If you’re not doing an internship, what are you doing with your life? Seriously, check out Thomas’s summer internship experience, polish your resume, write a great cover letter, and start interviewing.
You can make decent money with the right (paid) internship, but even more so an internship is a chance to gain the skills, experience, and connections you need to succeed after college.
If you’re not sure where to start finding one, visit your college’s career center.
25. Work as a Summer Lifeguard
Love to swim and work outside? Then give lifeguarding a shot. Sure, you won’t actually be doing much swimming. Mainly, you’ll be sitting around and making sure everyone stays safe in the pool, You get to blow a whistle and work on your tan, though.
To be a lifeguard, you’ll need to undergo specific training in first aid and rescue techniques. Usually, this class is offered as part of the training process for the lifeguarding job you’re getting.
26. Paint Houses
If you’re not afraid of heights and getting a bit dirty, then you could work as a house painter. This can be a great summer gig, though you can do it year-round provided it isn’t raining or snowing. You can work on your own as a freelance painter, or you can get a gig with a painting company.
As long as you do good work, you can charge pretty premium rates without difficulty. For a powerful combination, you can combine house painting with other services such as yard work or driveway cleaning.
27. Door-to-Door Sales
This gig is certainly not for everyone. In fact, most people who try it fail. But if you have the right hustle and sales skills, you can make serious bank selling things door-to-door. This could be books, magazines, knives, or anything that people will buy. You’ll definitely learn to deal with rejection in this job, so be prepared for people to yell or even slam the door in your face.
We’ll warn you also that there are a lot of scams in this business. Avoid companies that make you buy their inventory upfront, as these are often pyramid schemes. You want a company where you do the sales and someone else supplies the products.
28. Buy Back Textbooks
Whenever the semester draws to a close, you’ll likely see flyers advertising companies that will buy back your books…supposedly at a higher rate than the bookstore.
We can’t vouch for any of these services from the perspective of a seller, but you can make money as the person who buys the books. You’re generally paid a base hourly rate plus commission (the more books you buy back, the more you make).
You’ll need to have people skills, understand the psychology of sales, and be willing to face lots of rejection. Applying is usually as simple as visiting the website of the book buying company.
29. Work as a Temp
Offices have all kinds of reasons for hiring a temp, including sabbaticals, parental leave, and even the inability to find a full-time employee. As a student, you may be able to help fill some of these positions, especially if they’re part-time. Contact a local temp agency to learn about the requirements.
30. Arrange Trips for Travel Companies
Love to travel? Have good planning skills? Then you might be able to work as a part-time trip planner. Travel companies need people to do the grunt work of making reservations, booking flights, and doing whatever else a traveler doesn’t want to worry about. Travel companies can seem antiquated in the age of the internet, but trust me, there are still plenty of people who will pay for these services.
For best results, try to find a local travel agency to work with. That way, you can speak to someone in person, instead of just sending a cold email.
31. Clean Offices Part-Time for Breather
Breather is a service that allows companies to rent office space for meetings and events. These spaces need to be spotless before a company comes in to use them, and this is where you can come in. Breather employs people part-time to clean their spaces in the markets where they operate.
Hours can be flexible, so it’s a good opportunity for a student. Requirements will vary, but most students should be able to meet them.
32. Fix Cars and Bikes
Know how to fix cars, bikes, or other forms of personal transportation? You could have a nice side income on your hands. Having your transportation break is frustrating, even having the potential to jeopardize your job. Therefore, people will pay well for anyone who can fix it promptly and professionally.
Naturally, you should know what you’re doing before you try this, as it can be dangerous to do it wrong.
Moving on from general off-campus jobs, we have a variety of one-time gigs. These can be great if you just need to make some extra money quickly or while doing another “warm body” job like managing the front desk in a dorm.
33. Paid Research Opportunities
Universities have all kinds of experiments and studies that need human subjects. This can sound creepy, but often the tasks you need to complete just involve filling out surveys or performing physical tasks. The pay varies based on the length and difficulty of the tasks required.
You’ll need to meet the requirements for the research, whatever they are, but getting one of these gigs is usually just a matter of replying to the job posting (you’ll see them around campus all the time).
34. Win Scholarships
Okay, so this might not seem like a way to “make” money, since the money is going towards paying for your education, not into your bank account. But winning scholarships is key to graduating debt-free, and it’s not as hard as you might think. You can qualify for some scholarships just by being from a certain place or belonging to a particular organization.
35. Become a Bug Bounty Hunter
If you have some serious computer skills, then you could be a bug bounty hunter for Google. Google will pay serious money (sometimes tens of thousands of dollars) to people who can uncover dangerous bugs and security issues in their apps. To learn more, visit Google’s App Security page.
36. Test Software
If you don’t have the technical skills needed to find bugs, no problem. App companies also need people to use their software as it was intended. This can be to uncover bugs or just to evaluate new features. I did this with an app that I already used and made $20 per hour. All I had to do was use the app and participate in a couple of calls with a member of the development team to ask me about my experience.
These opportunities aren’t the easiest to find, but the best approach is to visit the website of apps that you already use and see if they have opportunities for user testing.
37. Take Surveys
Companies need data. It may be to develop new products, evaluate existing ones, or just to better understand the demographics they serve. You can make a bit of money from this by participating in surveys.
The amount of money you can make isn’t large (often just a few cents per survey), but this money can add up. You’ll need to meet whatever the requirements are, and sometimes they can be weirdly specific.
Watch out for scams, as there are lots out there in the survey niche. If you’re looking for a reputable place to earn money from online surveys, check out Survey Junkie:
This is where things start to get interesting. There are as many entrepreneurial opportunities as there are problems that you can solve. These are just a few of the thousands out there, ranging from slick online business to unsexy cleaning work. What they all have in common, however, is that they’re free (or cheap) to start, don’t require any special licenses, and let you set your own hours and rates.
38. Sell Parking for Sporting Events
This one is pretty simple. You have space, and people will pay you to park there. You need to make sure that this is legal in your city, and that your landlord (if you rent) is okay with it. But besides that, you can make solid money just by parking cars.
You can also team up with another organization that has property and manage the parking in exchange for paying them a percentage of what you make (my friend did this for his fraternity).
39. Flip Cars and Bikes
We already mentioned fixing cars and bikes as a way to make side income; this takes it one step further. With the right knowledge and skills, you can buy old cars, bikes, or motorcycles, fix them up, and then sell them at a profit. Again, make sure you know what you’re doing—you don’t want someone getting hurt because of improper mechanical work.
40. Sell Commissions for Art
If you have art skills, you can make money selling commissions. This doesn’t have to be on the scale that people normally think of, either. You can hang out at cons and do commissions for whatever people will pay. Or, for larger amounts, you can do commissioned portraits (some rich people will pay big money for this kind of thing).
41. Sell Things on Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace
The sky is the limit with this one. It’s a great place to flip items such as furniture that you’ve restored, but you can also use it to sell things you build from scratch. Thomas built and sold computers, for example. Just make sure that whatever you’re selling isn’t illegal, and you’re good to go.
42. Translate Foreign-Language Documents
People need things translated, and there aren’t enough full-time employees to do it (especially if the language is obscure or has a small number of speakers). This is where websites like Translatorscafe, Gengo, and VerbalizeIt come in. They provide translation services to businesses using freelance translators.
If you have the right translation skills, you could work for them as well. Note that you won’t just need to be fully fluent in both of the languages you’re working with. You’ll also need to understand how to do translation, which is an entirely different skill.
Depending on the marketplace, you may or may not need certifications (though they always help).
43. Become a Freelancer
This one is pretty broad, but it’s one of the easiest ways to get started in entrepreneurship. You have a skill, and you sell it to people in exchange for a flat or hourly rate.
Don’t have any marketable skills? Check out Skillshare. You can learn valuable skills like web design, writing, videography, and graphic design. Sign up with this link to get 2 weeks free (enough time to learn tons of valuable skills).
Have skills, but can’t find people to pay for them? Then check out a freelance marketplace like Upwork. You can post your services, and clients can find them. Note that Upwork does take a percentage of your earnings in exchange for the use of their platform.
44. Be a Virtual Assistant (VA)
Busy people with more money than time need someone to help them with answering emails, scheduling appointments, and doing other administrative tasks. This is where VAs come in. With the internet, most assistant tasks can be done online, making being a VA a nice side gig.
What’s more, clients will pay a premium to have U.S.-based virtual assistants who are native English speakers. You’ll need good organizational and communications skills, as well as professionalism and confidentiality.
To learn more about how to become a VA, check out this course from our friend (and former CIG virtual assistant) Kayla Sloan.
45. Offer Gigs on Fiverr
Curious what people will do to make $5? Check out Fiverr. It’s a marketplace of “gigs’ of every kind, from logo design to translation to voice-over work. If someone will pay for it and it can be done virtually, someone is doing it on Fiverr. You can too, if you have the right skills?
But why would you ever do valuable work for $5? This is the secret to Fiverr—the money is in the upsell. Gigs start at $5, but smart freelancers will structure their services so that clients have to pay extra (anywhere from an extra $5 to $100) to get premium services.
46. Launch a Udemy or Skillshare Course
So far, we’ve been talking about how to make money selling your skills directly. But you can also take things up another level and teach your skills to others. One of the biggest challenges with starting an online course is finding students, and this is where Udemy or Skillshare can help. They provide the students, and you provide the course. In exchange, they take a percentage of what you charge.
The great thing about an online course is that, once you’ve created it, you can manage it with minimal ongoing effort. You’ll need to update material from time to time (especially if you’re teaching people how to use software), but other than that the course can pretty much run itself. Passive income FTW!
Looking for more jobs you can do from your computer? Here are the best online jobs for college students.
47. Local Computer Help
Have computer skills? People will pay you for them. Whether it’s fixing broken computers or providing local tech support, you can make good money from what seems like obvious information to you. You don’t need to be a computer science major to do this—many of the “problems” you’ll encounter just stem from people not understanding how to use computers.
48. Teach People How to Use Computers
Taking things one step further from fixing computers, there are plenty of people (especially older people), who need help learning how to use computers, smartphones, and tablets. You can use this to make money, charging a flat rate for group classes or an hourly rate for private coaching.
49. Private Chef
Once again, we turn to busy people who have more money than time. These people will pay someone to cook their meals, as their time is so valuable that cooking would be a waste of it (at least from their perspective). You can be this person. You don’t have to have gone to culinary school. You just need to know how to cook good food and be willing to cater to whatever dietary preferences the person has.
Another variation you can try on this is meal prep services. You don’t actually cook the food, you just prepare it in advance, freeze it, and then deliver it to the person weekly. Busy parents will gladly pay for this service, as it means they can just stick the food in the crockpot or heat it up when they and their kids get home.
50. Help People Move
Got muscles? Put them to work. People hate moving, probably more than you understand if you haven’t done much of it. As long as you know how to handle furniture without damaging it and can lift heavy objects, you can help people with moving. It could be as simple as moving a new piece of furniture into the house, or as elaborate as moving an entire house’s worth of furniture to a new home. Post an ad on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, or even just around town.
51. Mow Lawns
It’s not just a job for teenagers. If you have a mower and other yard tools, you can make money cutting people’s grass. Seems simple, and it is—but people will gladly pay you $20-$50 to do it. You can post ads on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace (preferably with some photos of your previous work). Or make flyers to post around town. You can even go door-to-door handing out business cards.
52. Shovel Snow
The winter version of mowing lawns, shoveling snow is cold, dirty, and exhausting. That’s why people will pay you to do it. The same tactics as lawn mowing apply, but the equipment you need is even cheaper and requires no gasoline—just your muscles.
53. Pick Up Dog Poop
Sounds crazy, but people will pay for this, especially if they have a big yard where their dog roams free. No special skills are required—just gloves, a bag, and a willingness to do dirty work.
54. Start a Laundry Service
Continuing with things that aren’t hard but that people will pay to avoid, we have laundry service. If you know how to wash clothes and fold them nicely, you can do this job. You can offer it to students who are still reeling from the shock of not having Mom around to wash their clothes, or take it beyond your college to the broader community.
55. Clean Houses
Know how to sweep, vacuum, and scrub bathtubs? Then you can start your own housecleaning service. The tools are cheap, the work isn’t complicated, and you can make good money. It’s a more profitable, flexible alternative to working for campus custodial services.
56. Pet Sitting
People have pets, and they need to be fed, regardless of whether their owners are on vacation. This is a way to make money while also playing with animals and even staying in cool houses for free (if the pets need someone to be there at night). You can even use this as a way to get free accommodation while you travel—check out TrustedHousesitters to learn more.
57. Babysitting and Nannying
Taking it up a level from pets, busy people need someone to watch their kids. I have a couple of friends who have been doing this the past several summers and making really good money ($20 per hour in some cases).
To get these jobs, you have a couple of options. You can just ask around to see if you or your parents know anyone who needs these services. Or you can work through an agency. Check out the directory on Care.com to find one near you.
58. Sell Things on Etsy
The sky is the limit with this one. If you have something you can make that people will buy, you can sell it on Etsy. It’s not just physical products, either. You can also sell templates or other digital products.
You’ll need to do research to figure out if there’s a demand for your item, as well as how much you should sell it for. But if you love making things already, then this is a way to get paid for it as well.
59. Be a Street Performer
It doesn’t seem like you could make a ton of money doing this, but with the right skills and personality, it is possible. Anything amusing that people will give you a couple of bucks for is on the table. Music is the most common option, but you can juggle, dance, or even do magic tricks. Check to see if you need any special permits to do this, as many areas require it.
60. Buy a House and Rent It to Others
This is a bit of a long shot for many college students, but we don’t want to rule it out. Perhaps you have a family member that’s willing to cosign with you on the mortgage, or perhaps you’ve inherited property from a relative.
If this is the case, then you can make a very substantial income by renting this property to others. For more info, check out this guide from Listen Money Matters.
61. Rent Your Space on Airbnb
Airbnb is a website that allows people to rent out all or part of their home or apartment to travelers. You can make a nice side income doing this if you have the time and commitment to detail. You’ll need to provide the utmost in customer service, as well as communicate promptly with guests and be willing to handle any issues that arise.
Also, be careful about renting out rooms in an apartment or house that you don’t own. Always check with your landlord and get their permission first—you don’t want to get evicted for violating your lease.
62. Rent Like a Champion
This site is similar to Airbnb, except that it focuses on rentals for sporting events. If you go to a college with a big football, basketball, or other popular sports program, this could be a great opportunity to make serious cash. Once again, make sure to check with your landlord if you don’t own the property you’re living in.
63. Rent Your Car
Turo is a service that allows you to rent your car out to others. They have substantial insurance, making sure that you’ll be covered if something happens to your vehicle. You set a daily rate, drop the vehicle off, and Turo handles the rest. You should consider if it’s worth the wear and tear on your car, of course.
64. Sell Your Notes
Take great class notes? Then why not sell them on StudySoup? StudySoup allows you to upload notes from classes at your college in exchange for money. The requirements are pretty simple: just take great notes and attend a participating university.
65. Become a Personal Trainer
Understand how to get in great shape and want to help others do the same? You can become a personal trainer. Generally, you’ll want to get certified before doing this, as it can help you appear more credible to potential clients. But really, all you need is a knowledge of safe, effective fitness practices and the ability to teach them to others.
66. Become a DJ
Have an ear for good music and love to party? You could become a DJ. Fraternities need them for their parties, high schools need them for their proms, and couples want them for their weddings. You can learn how to DJ on Skillshare, or check out this article from Vice on just how easy it is to get into the business.
67. Become a Voiceover Artist
Have a mellifluous voice? Then you could have what it takes to be a voiceover artist. Lots of authors want audiobooks but don’t have the time or ability to narrate them. This is where you come in. All you need are an ATR2100 and a closet to get professional quality audio. Once again, Skillshare is a great resource for learning the skills you need to do this gig.
68. Sell Things on Amazon FBA
“FBA” stands for “Fulfillment by Amazon,” and it’s how Amazon can offer a wider array of products than they ever would be able to on their own. You use Amazon’s marketplace to sell your own products. These could be things you make, but more often they are products you acquire at wholesale (or even garage sales/thrift stores).
You buy low and sell high. Simple math. For more info on how to get started, check out this guide from Listen Money Matters.
69. Be a Social Media Consultant
If you know how to use social media apps like Snapchat or Instagram, you can make money teaching big companies how to use them to market their products. It’s not as tricky as it sounds.
As long as you understand what kind of content is compelling on social media, you can charge companies a fee to help them create content that people will engage with. You can offer this service on a freelance marketplace, or pitch your services to companies directly.
70. Become a Content Creator
Want to make money by creating things that people will watch, read, or share? That’s the life of a content creator, and it’s now easier than ever to get started. To start, you need to find something that people will watch, whether for entertainment or education.
Then, you figure out a way to monetize it. This could mean showing ads, getting sponsorships, or even creating a paid course or product. Platforms with good moneymaking potential include Instagram, YouTube, blogging, and podcasting.
One of the best ways to get started is to build your own website, which you can use to host your content. If you want to learn how to build one, check out our comprehensive website building tutorial.
71. Become a Ghostwriter
There are lots of people with great ideas that they want to share in the form of a book or blog, but who don’t have the writing skills (or time) to write it themselves. This is where ghostwriters come in.
If you have good writing skills and understand how to imitate the voice of an individual or brand, you can make money as a ghostwriter.
You can post these services on Upwork or Fiverr, or you can reach out and offer them directly. To get an idea of how to structure these services, check out James Ranson’s website.
72. Manage Short-Term Rentals
There are lots of Airbnb and other short-term rental property owners who don’t have the time or desire to manage their properties themselves. Maybe they travel a lot, or maybe their job keeps them busy.
Whatever the reason, you can make their lives a lot easier (and earn money) by managing the properties yourself. This could include anything from welcoming new guests to the property to cleaning the place in between stays.
73. Complete Tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a site that connects businesses with humans who provide small services that AI can’t (yet) perform. It can be everything from data transcription to identifying objects in a photo or video.
Amazon posts these tasks on a marketplace for people to perform, paying very small amounts in exchange for each successful task. You won’t get rich with this gig, but it’s a way to make some extra money during downtime at another job.
74. Start a Niche Site
Have a hobby or subject that you’re passionate about? You might be able to make some money off it by creating a niche site. You take a subject you know about (or are teaching yourself), create a blog documenting it, and then drive traffic to this site.
Once you have this, you can monetize the site through ads or affiliate commissions. You take a product you use and genuinely recommend that’s related to your topic, add a special link to it, and get paid a commission every time someone clicks on the link. This is how we make a decent amount of our money here at College Info Geek, and there’s no reason you can’t do the same.
We will warn you: this isn’t an easy thing to do, simple as it is. It takes time and perseverance, so it’s not the approach we recommend if you need money quickly. But if you’re curious about how to get started, the best resource we can recommend is Smart Passive income.
While we’ve focused so far on ways to directly make money, another option to consider is how you can save money on things you already use or buy. Here are some of our favorites.
75. Trim or Split Subscriptions
Do you really need Spotify? Could you listen to the same music for free on YouTube? Could you split your Netflix subscription with friends or family members? These are all ways to save money on subscription services.
Subscriptions can really add up if you’re not careful, even if the individual plans don’t cost much. If you’re looking for a way to automate this, check out Truebill.
76. Switch Phone Plans
Do you really need to pay $50 per month for data that you’re not even using (or for texts and calls you barely make?). You can consider a WiFi-first phone plan like Republic Wireless as an alternative, especially if your campus has blanket WiFi.
77. Get Cashback with Ibotta
Ibotta is an app that lets you get discounts on products you already buy. Just download the app, check out offers, and shop as you normally would. You redeem the offers by taking a photo of your receipt, and the cashback is deposited into your Ibotta account within 48 hours.
78. Get Rewards for Eating Out with Seated
Seated is an app that gives you gift cards in exchange for eating at select restaurants. If you’re going out to eat anyway, why not get some rewards for doing so? You can earn $10 – $50 in rewards from Amazon, Starbucks, or Lyft for making a reservation. Note that Seated is only available in select U.S. cities.
79. Get Money Back with Paribus
When you sign up for Paribus, you can find out if you’ve paid too much at a store and get the difference back as a refund. If you’re already shopping, you might as well see if you can get some money back.
Investing is the ultimate form of passive income—you make money using money, all on autopilot. Investing can seem intimidating, something that only really rich people with dark suits and Rolexes do.
But that isn’t the case at all, especially with the apps that are available today. It’s never too early to start investing, especially as the power of compound interest is on your side when you start young. Here are our suggestions for getting started investing as a student.
If you just want to get started investing, no matter how much (or little) money you have, Betterment is the way to go. You sign up, choose a plan that’s right for you, and the rest happens on autopilot.
Betterment is what’s called a robo-advisor, meaning that algorithms make all the investment decisions. This is not only cheaper (as you don’t have to pay sleazy brokers to manage your money), but it’s also more effective on average (humans are not good at beating the stock market). Learn more about how it works here.
Have a bit more money to work with? Inherit money from a relative, or are looking for a way to put some of your side income earnings to work? Then you can consider Vanguard. This is definitely a more advanced investment option, though there’s no reason you can’t use it as a student. You’ll need a minimum of $1,000 to get started (and $3,000 is more common). To learn more, check out this guide from Listen Money Matters.
82. Lending Club
Really have your investment game locked down? Then you may want to look into alternative investment options. These will be higher-risk than Betterment or Vanguard, but they also have the potential for higher returns. One option in this category is Lending Club.
It’s a peer-to-peer lending platform. People need personal loans at low interest rates, and Lending Club provides them, connecting borrowers with lenders like you. The minimum amount to invest is generally $1,000, though it goes up from there. To learn more, check out this review on Listen Money Matters.
Want to learn to invest through real investing? This is what Robinhood allows you to do. It’s an app that helps you build an investment portfolio, all while teaching you about how investing works. It’s free to get started, with no minimum investment required. This makes it a great option for students looking to get their feet wet with investing.
Want to invest in real estate, but don’t want to go through the trouble of finding, vetting, and managing a property? Roofstock can help. They connect you with a marketplace of properties to invest in, all while providing excellent support and coaching.
This won’t be something that most college students can do, but who knows? Perhaps you’re making such good money from your side businesses that you have the cash needed for a downpayment. To learn more, check out this review on Listen Money Matters.
You probably have all kinds of crap just lying around that you don’t even use. Why not clear out some space in your room or apartment while also making some extra cash? Below are a few of our favorite ways to make money selling stuff you don’t need or use.
Have fashionable clothing that you don’t wear? Sell it on Poshmark. Poshmark is an app that connects buyers looking for great deals on quality clothing with people who want to sell it. While the app markets itself toward women, you can also use the app to buy and sell men’s clothing.
86. Yard Sales
Yard sales are a time-honored way of selling the stuff you don’t need, all while meeting some interesting characters (if your yard sales are anything like the ones I’ve been part of).
If you live in a dorm or apartment and don’t have a yard, you can sign up to be part of a larger yard sale at a community center or church (or just ask a homeowner you know if they’d be willing to let you use their yard in exchange for selling some of their stuff).
87. Plato’s Closet
This is another option for selling clothes that you don’t want. Unlike Poshmark, Plato’s Closet has physical stores where you sell your clothes on consignment. The clothing you can sell is “gently used clothing for teens and twenty-something boys and girls.” Visit the company’s website to find a local store.
88. Sell Your Textbooks
As a College Info Geek reader, we know you didn’t pay much for your books because you followed our guide to finding cheap textbooks. Still, you might as well make some money selling these books back to the campus bookstore or even to Amazon.
As much as you might think you’ll crack open that calculus textbook 20 years from now, it’s unlikely (you can just look it up on the internet, anyway).
Okay, so these aren’t ways to make money directly. But one of the biggest challenges of making money outside of a traditional job is finding clients or customers. Marketing yourself is the best way to get your brand and skills in front of these people. Here are three of our favorite ways to market yourself.
89. Start a YouTube Channel
We already mentioned YouTube as a way to make money as a content creator. But having a YouTube channel can also be a huge personal branding asset. It shows that you have public speaking skills, know how to edit videos, and can produce work on a consistent schedule. Not to mention, it just sounds really impressive on a resume (or in an interview).
Thomas is working on an epic guide to starting your own YouTube channel, but in the meantime, we recommend checking out this guide from Roberto Blake.
90. Build Your Own Website
A personal website is a dynamic, online resume that you can use to showcase your skills and experience. Creating your own website is already quite impressive (and not difficult). But using the website to showcase what you’ve done is even more effective.
To get some inspiration on creating your own website, check out our collection of 50 Personal Website Examples. To create your own website, check out our ultimate guide to creating a personal website.
91. Attend Local Networking Events
This has many benefits. For one, it’s a place to learn about potential job opportunities for after you graduate. But it’s also a chance to connect with potential clients and customers for the products or services that you sell.
If you don’t have a way to make money on your own, you need to learn some new skills. Here are a few of our favorite resources for doing so. All are free or cheap.
Once again, this isn’t exactly a way to make money directly. But to make money, you need to have the right skills. Skillshare is our favorite place to learn them. You can learn pretty much anything you can imagine, from drawing to design to woodworking. Check it out here to get 2 weeks free.
93. Your Local Library
Want to get a great education for free? The library is the place. You can get books that will teach you about any subject you want to learn, as well as access online learning databases like Lynda.com. And the librarians really would love to help you—just ask.
A more accurate title for this section would be “selling your body,” since not all of these cases are strictly related to medicine. But that seemed like it would give the wrong idea.
Here are some ways to make money selling parts or byproducts of something everybody has (unless you’re a ghost reading this, in which case I apologize).
94. Sell Plasma
This is the classic college kid gig, but it’s perfectly legitimate. You go to a local center (research it online first to make sure it’s not sketchy) and spend anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours as your blood is drawn from your body.
The blood is filtered to remove red blood cells and other cellular components. The company keeps the plasma, and they return what they’ve filtered out to your body along with a sterile saline solution.
You won’t get rich doing it, but as long as you’re in good health, you’re probably eligible.
95. Sell Hair
If selling your blood plasma seems too painful and creepy, then you can sell your hair (okay, it’s still a bit creepy, but no needles involved). Companies that make wigs out of human hair will pay for your locks, though the requirements are often pretty strict (no dyed hair and certain hair colors are preferred).
Don’t have any experience with this, but HairSellOn looks like a good place to start.
96. Sell Sperm or Eggs
Yes, you really can make money doing this. Sperm and eggs are needed for research purposes, as well as for fertility clinics. Selling either will be uncomfortable or even painful, but you can make serious money in certain cases (especially for egg donations). Note that requirements tend to be pretty strict (you can’t be infertile, for example). Learn more about sperm donation here and egg donation here.
(Note that we don’t have any experience or affiliation with these companies. Always do your own diligent research before selling parts of your body).
97. Sell Your Poop
Yep, we went there. I know it sounds hard to believe, but some people will pay for your poop. The uses include research on the human microbiome and treatment of C. diff infections, which can be cured using a stool transplant in extreme cases. To learn more, visit OpenBiome.org.
98. Be a Standardized Patient
If your university has a medical school, you could have the chance to make money portraying medical conditions for med students to practice identifying. Essentially, you’re a human practice patient. Don’t worry, no one is going to be performing surgery on you.
Generally, you just have to sit in a room and describe symptoms you have while a succession of medical students interviews you. It’s not the most exciting job (and can be a little awkward depending on the nature of the condition you’re portraying). But it pays. Visit your university’s medical school website (or the website of a local med school) to learn more.
To finish this guide out, we wanted to include a few fun random things you can do to make money. You won’t get rich doing them, but if you have a bit of time to kill while waiting in line for something, they’re a way to monetize that time.
99. Share Your Opinion with Survey Junkie
Your high school English teacher may have told you that your opinion doesn’t matter without evidence to back it up. While that’s true for essays, it’s not the case at Survey Junkie. On this site, you can get paid to share what you think about a range of topics. Survey Junkie uses this information to help brands deliver better products and services.
In exchange for taking the time to share your response, you can earn points to redeem for gift cards to stores like Amazon or Target (or even cash payouts via PayPal). Start getting paid to share your opinion.
100. Earn Cash Rewards with Drop
Link your credit or debit card to Drop, and you can start earning points for shopping at your favorite retailers or merchants. Examples include grocery shopping, restaurant spending, and using Uber.
101. Panel App
Panel is a way to earn rewards in exchange for taking surveys. Consider it a more convenient version of the online surveys we mentioned earlier. Rewards are typically gift cards or entrance into sweepstakes to win other prizes.
If you’ve made it this far, congrats! You now have no excuse for saying “I’m broke.” We hope this guide has inspired you to go out there and start making money, whatever method you choose. Now go earn big!
Looking for a list that isn’t so massive? Check out 25 ways to make an extra $1,000 a month.