Side Hustles for College Students

You don’t need special skills or to wait for someone to hire you to make extra money while in college. There are tons of side hustles for college students to start earning cash today.

Side hustles are jobs you do in your free time, versus working for an employer who sets your schedule. Depending on the type of side job, you might also be able to set your own rates and determine what services you’ll offer.

The best side hustles for college students are those you can do easily. Some students enjoy babysitting, for example, while others prefer to do odd jobs online in their free time. The key is to figure out what you do best and what won’t create more stress in your already busy college life.

If you’re a current student looking for a lucrative side hustle, then you’ve come to the right place.

21 Smart Side Hustles for College Students

Here are the best side hustle ideas for college students today:

1. Survey Apps

Taking surveys is one of the most well-known, legitimate side hustles any college student can do. You don’t need special skills, a lot of time, or to advertise your services. Instead, you download an app like Swagbucks, InboxDollars, or Survey Junkie, complete a profile and then answer surveys.

Market research companies send out surveys about products and brands to get consumers’ opinions. They pay college students to offer these opinions because it helps them create better products and services.

You won’t make a lot of money answering surveys. Still, if you sign up for a few platforms and provide many details about yourself in your profile, you increase your chances of covering your living expenses by answering surveys in your free time.

Most survey sites are first-come-first-serve, so make sure you check back often so you can take advantage of the highest-paying surveys.

2. Pet Sitting and Dog Walking

Why not get paid to watch or walk pets if you love pets? Pet sitting can be rewarding because you get to spend time with your furry friends and make extra cash. You can advertise your pet sitting services online, around campus, or use a third-party service like Rover.

Before you agree to pet sit or walk pets, make sure you’ve outlined what you will and will not do. For example, if you watch dogs, will you stay at the house or visit the pets regularly while the owners are gone? If you walk pets, how often will you walk, and how far will you go?

Look at the rates other dog walkers and pet sitters charge in the area so you can be competitive. Also, look at what services they don’t offer so you can have a leg up on the competition to make more money.

3. Food and Grocery Delivery

If you have a vehicle or other means of transportation, you can deliver food or groceries for money.

You can start these part-time side hustles by signing up with Instacart, Shipt, UberEats, or DoorDash. Before you choose, decide if you like grocery shopping or prefer to deliver food from restaurants.

With grocery shopping, you do the shopping yourself and then deliver it. If you deliver food, you pick up restaurant orders that are already ready and deliver them to the client.

With each of these apps, you set your own hours and pick up deliveries when you want. You can see the size of the order and the amount you’d earn if you accepted the order before taking it.

Like most side hustle apps, you keep 100% of your tips, so the better customer service you offer, the more money you’ll make.

4. Sell Items Online

If you have items you don’t use or love finding great deals, consider flipping them for a profit on flea market sites. You can sell secondhand and brand-new products and make a few dollars.

Depending on what you have to sell, there are several sites you can use to sell your items, including Amazon, Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Worthy, and Poshmark. Look around on each site to see the items sold to determine where your items would sell best.

Remember, when you sell things online, you must include shipping costs and be responsible for shipping the items promptly.

5. Blogging and Vlogging

If you love to write about a specific topic, consider blogging. On the other hand, if you aren’t a writer but love to talk, vlogging is the video version of blogging and can be one of the best side hustle jobs for college students.

The key to making money blogging is to find a niche- think about a topic you love and then find a niche within it. For example, if you love fashion, find a niche that isn’t over-saturated. Maybe you write about “fashion for college students” or “fashion for college students on a budget.”

As you build an audience, you can monetize your blog to make it the most profitable side hustle. For example, you can make money blogging by sharing affiliate links to partners you want to promote that make sense for your audience. As you gain momentum, brands may also approach you, asking you to dedicate a blog post or video about their products or brand, paying you to do so.

As a bonus, many bloggers (and influencers) also earn free products from brands that want you to promote them. So while it’s not money in your bank account, it can be fun to get free products.

6. Editing

Editing makes an excellent side hustle for college students who excel at writing. Many companies pay college students to edit their website content, blogs, or other related material. Students on your college campus may also need help proofreading their essays.

You can get work with this profitable side hustle in a few ways. For example, advertise your services around campus and online on local websites to gain a local audience, or use third-party platforms like Fiverr or Upwork to advertise your services.

Fiverr

There are many ways to make money on Fiverr, but one of the most popular is by offering your services as a virtual assistant. As a virtual assistant, you can offer a wide range of services, from social media management to customer service. If you have a strong work ethic and great organizational skills, you can easily build up a client base and start earning a significant income from Fiverr.

Upwork

There are a few ways that you can make money on Upwork. You can either find clients and work on their projects, or you can apply for jobs that have already been posted. You can also take advantage of the site’s freelancer membership, which allows you to access a variety of features and tools designed to help you succeed as a freelancer. Whichever method you choose, Upwork provides a great opportunity to earn money online.

7. Tutoring

College students are the perfect candidate to tutor students. You can tutor students or stick to elementary, middle, or high school students. Tutor in a subject you excel in and are comfortable teaching others.

You can be an online tutor or meet in person and make decent money. Check the average price others charge for tutoring services in your area. It might surprise you that you can make $50+ an hour for tutoring services.

8. Rideshare Driver

If you have a reliable car, auto insurance, and can pass a background check, you can sign up with rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. Both companies offer good side hustles to make money on your own time.

You set your own hours and choose which rides you’ll accept. Then, when you download the app and click that you’re available, you can see the requested rides and what they’ll pay. Both services offer some version of base pay and promotional pay during peak times or when they need more help. You also get to keep 100% of your tips earned from each service.

The nice thing is that you can make money when you need it or have a few hours free. You don’t have to set a schedule. If you suddenly find yourself with a few free hours, you can make yourself available and make some extra cash.

9. Photography

If you’re a photography major, it’s your minor, or taking pictures is just a fun hobby, turn it into an easy side hustle. If you already have the skill of taking good pictures, sell stock photos online.

This is an excellent example of a side hustle you can do both online and in person. You do a little work upfront (taking pictures) but then sell the stock photos online, making money while you sleep.

This is also a great passive income earner. You take the picture one time, edit it, and upload it to your favorite sites, such as Shutterstock or iStock Photo. Then, anyone can buy your picture from those sites, and you earn a commission each time you sell stock photos.

Shutterstock

Shutterstock is a stock photography website where users can purchase royalty-free images and videos. Additionally, Shutterstock has an editorial section that features photos and videos from around the world. While most of the content on Shutterstock is free to view, users must pay for a subscription or purchase credits in order to download photos and videos.

Shutterstock can be a great side hustle for anyone with a knack for photography or videography. Since Shutterstock pays out royalties to contributors every time one of their photos or videos is downloaded, it can be a great way to make some extra money.

If you’re interested in making money with Shutterstock, the first step is to sign up for a free account. Once you’ve created an account, you can start uploading your photos and videos.

iStock Photo

iStock Photo is a stock photography website that offers millions of royalty-free photos, illustrations, and videos. Like Shutterstock, you can purchase credits to download images, or you can sign up for a monthly or annual subscription to access all of the site’s content.

Photographers need only join the Stock community (only takes a few minutes), apply to be a contributor, and submit samples of their work where they will be evaluated and a decision made on their admission to the community.

10. Babysitting

Babysitting is a great side hustle for any college student. If you’re going to school to be a teacher or to work with kids in any other way, babysitting is beneficial in gaining relevant work experience.

You set your availability and rates and advertise your services. Consider putting your information on your social media pages and hanging flyers around the area. Tell everyone you know you’re willing to babysit; word-of-mouth is often the best way to get babysitting jobs.

Depending on where you live, you can charge between $15 – $25 (or more!) an hour for babysitting, which can pay you enough money to cover your living expenses and get ahead on your student loan debt.

11. Donate Plasma

If you’re looking for unique side hustles, consider donating plasma. You can do this a couple of times a month if you qualify. To be eligible, you must be in good health and pass the physical the donation center conducts.

College students are great candidates to donate plasma because it only takes a few hours a month, and you can make good money doing it. You’re also helping people in need since plasma is hard to come by, and many people with certain illnesses rely on it for their well-being.

12. Become a Lifeguard

Whether you go home in the summer or stay on campus, local pools are always looking for lifeguards. Check with the local community centers and private country clubs for lifeguarding opportunities.

If you’re a good swimmer and are good with kids, you could also double up and offer swimming lessons. Whether you get hired by the local community pool or offer them privately, you can make extra money teaching kids to swim.

If you have a busy college schedule that doesn’t leave much time to work a side hustle, consider using your car to advertise for companies. If you often drive off the college campus, companies may pay you to advertise for them.

The only time commitment you make to use your car to advertise is the time needed to wrap your vehicle. Once the sign is on your car, your only job is to drive. Neither you nor the company has to do any specific marketing, but the brand awareness increases almost naturally.

14. Website and App Testing

Companies pay college students to test websites and apps. These are good side hustles for college students who love technology and want to work on their own schedule. Night owls or early morning risers are great for these tasks, as are students who need a break mid-day.

Remember that to succeed at this legit side hustle; you must be able to focus. You’re testing websites and apps for bugs or issues. Companies want your honest feedback about your experience, so you must concentrate and pay attention to the minor details to share with them.

You might get paid to test new websites and apps or updates to existing programs before companies release them.

15. Haul Junk

Some people don’t want to deal with selling old items online or at a flea market. Instead, they want the junk gone. If you have your own pickup truck, you can offer services to pick up and haul away other people’s trash.

If you have extra storage space and want to sell the items at an online flea market, you could offer those services too. Both opportunities are great side hustles to make extra money.

You can do this job once in a while and make decent money. Consider the time it will take to drive to the pickup location, to the junkyard, and offload the items when determining your rates.

16. Virtual Assistant

Consider being a virtual assistant if you prefer to work odd jobs online. You’ll usually need a few free hours daily to do this, so make sure it fits your schedule. Virtual assistants can do a variety of tasks, including:

  • Answer emails
  • Manage appointments or calendars
  • Graphic design
  • Blog posting
  • Social media management

Working as a virtual assistant is a great way to gain more experience in the business world, helping build your resume so that when you’re ready to find jobs after graduation, you have some experience under your belt.

17. Freelance Work

The internet made freelance work possible in many industries. Think about what you’re good at, and chances are there is freelance work available.

You can do basic tasks like data entry work or more intense work like freelance writing, proofreading, blogging, video creation, social media management, or graphic design.

Fiverr is an excellent platform for freelance work. You create a profile and ‘gigs’ that describe what you offer and Fiverr’s large audience can see what you offer and purchase your gigs.

Fiverr keeps 20% of your profits, so keep that in mind as you set your rates.

18. Housecleaning

If you love to clean houses, set up a housecleaning business. This type of business does best with word-of-mouth and local area advertising. If you’ve already cleaned a few houses, ask your clients to spread the word or to leave you a review on your social media page so others can see that you offer a great service.

This works best in busy cities because you’ll have more opportunities to advertise your services, but even small college town homeowners need housecleaners.

19. Thrift Flipping

If you love the thrill of a good hunt, consider thrift flipping for an easy side hustle. You find the items at flea markets, Goodwill, or thrift shops and sell them online for a profit. eBay is the most popular site to use for thrift flipping, but you can also sell your finds on Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist.

20. Car Detailing

If you love cars, car detailing can be a fun side hustle for college students. In your spare time, you can detail cars. You decide what services you’ll offer, whether you’ll clean the interior and exterior or just the exterior. You can also get more specific about what you’ll do to a car’s exterior, such as washing, buffing, waxing, or cleaning tires.

21. Gardening and Lawn Maintenance

Gardening and lawn maintenance are the best side hustles during the spring and summer. You can make good money taking care of lawns when you’re off school. While it’s a lot of physical work, the money you make taking care of lawns can provide extra funds to pay off student loans or at least get a head start on them.

Online Side Hustles for College Students vs. In-Person

Students can find great side hustles online and in person. It depends on your abilities, how much control you want, and if you want to leave your apartment/dorm or work remotely.

Pros & Cons of Online Side Hustles

Online side hustles are convenient because you can often work them during any hours. For example, if you’re a night owl and are up at 1 AM, you can work your online business and make extra cash. On the other hand, if you’re an early riser, you can finish the tasks early in the morning and have the rest of the day for your school responsibilities.

You can find easy side hustles online, such as data entry, web development, online tutoring, or freelance writing.

There are some downsides to online side hustles, though. Depending on your chosen job, you may have to handle your own marketing or pay a third-party platform a portion of your earnings. For example, if you advertise tasks on Fiverr, they keep 20% of your profits, leaving you with less money in your pocket. You must also be detail oriented and organized to make an online side hustle worth it.

Pros & Cons of In-person Side Hustles

If you prefer in-person work, there are many flexible side hustles to consider. You can create your schedule ahead of time with many platforms.

In-person side hustles often pay good money, too, since you’re doing physical labor, such as driving, delivering, or watching kids or pets.

Working in person side hustle jobs has its downsides too. Your busy college schedule may make it hard to schedule your shifts.. You are at the mercy of the service’s hours, though. If you have more time late at night, you’ll have fewer options.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most lucrative side hustles for extra money as a college student?

The most lucrative side hustles for college students are those you can do consistently. For example, if you love to drive, signing up with Uber or DoorDash is a great way to make money. But, if you have limited time and like to work during odd hours, online side hustles you can work in your spare time are best.

What college side hustles pay the most money?

Many of the best side hustles that pay the most money are those you do in person, like babysitting, pet sitting, lawn maintenance, or tutoring. You provide a service to your local community, and they pay well. But, of course, you set your own rates, and we recommend seeing what your competitors charge, so you keep your rates competitive too.

What are the most flexible side jobs for college students?

The most flexible jobs for college students are those you can do online. College students can do virtual odd jobs like taking surveys, editing, and freelance writing at any time, day or night, and in their free time. This allows you to make extra cash without worrying about overwhelming yourself with a schedule.

Does making income from a side hustle affect financial aid eligibility as a college student?

Need-based financial aid is awarded on the basis of your family’s financial need, as determined by the information you provide on the FAFSA. Your eligibility for need-based aid may be reduced if your side hustle income is taken into account when your need is calculated.

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