how to make money in college
Updated April 30, 2023

How to Make Money in College: A Complete List of Things You Can Do, Sell, or Buy

Side Hustles

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College can be heinously expensive. Whether it was expensive from the start, or you’ve run through your summer savings, you need to recuperate money — fast.

Luckily, there are many options available to you, spanning all skill levels, fitness levels, and laziness levels. (We get it! Who wants to leave their room on a Saturday, right?)

To help you make money in college, we’ve broken down a list of things you can do to be more money abundant, including selling, buying, and saving.

With 40 subcategories and 55 linked opportunities, there is a money-making option for everyone.

Make money without leaving your dorm room.

1. Become a virtual assistant.

There are so many businesses looking for virtual assistants to help them balance life and work.

All you have to do is be organized and timely, skills you should already be growing in college.

Not sure you have what it takes?

Learn the skills for free at VA Networking then make money as a VA on Zirtual.

2. Do graphic design.

Are you a graphic design or art student? Do you like creating digital designs?

Freelance design and make money doing what you love at 99Designs.

Put your skills to good use and create designs for business cards, magazine covers, illustrations, or book covers.

You can set your price and availability.

3. Tutor over the Internet.

For students who are working towards their master’s degree, tutoring online may be a great way to bring in extra cash.

Sites like Skooli, Preply, HelpHub, and TutorMe offer flexible schedules and price per hour minimums so you can make money when it is convenient for you.

4. Freelance.

If you’re still looking for good tips on how to make money in college, this option is a bit broader and may take a bit more work, yet may open up higher-paying freelance gigs.

If you don’t have many sellable skills, consider taking classes on Skillshare to gain them.

Once you’ve leveled up your skills, you can make money on UpWork or PeoplePerHour by providing your recently acquired skill such as photo editing, proofreading, formatting, or writing.

Look for campus jobs like these.

5. Apply to be a Resident Advisor (RA)

For those wondering how to make money in college, a great way is by becoming a resident advisor.

While you do work long hours sometimes, you also get free or discounted housing, tuition, or meals, depending on your school.

This can make a huge dent in your ever-growing list of college bills.

6. Become a Teaching Assistant (TA)

Do you excel at certain classes? Would you enjoy explaining the concepts in the class to others?

If so, then becoming a TA is perfect for you. Duties may include working side-by-side with a professor, leading a class, or grading work.

In exchange, you may receive reduced tuition, or be paid directly.

7. Become a Campus Tour Guide

While this job may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it definitely might suit some!

Campus tour guides need to be well-spoken, well-informed, and usually have an upbeat disposition.

They can receive discounted housing, tuition, or meals, or may be paid directly, depending on the school.

If you like animals, check out these gigs.

8. Spend Time with Dogs

Do you love dogs?

Sites like Dog Vacay and Rover allow you to offer dog walking, pet sitting, and other pet-friendly services to those in your area.

Stressed about exams? Why not make some money while destressing with a puppy or two?

9. Help Families

There are a range of opportunities concerning busy families, such as: childcare, au pairs, pet care, tutors, aged care, housekeepers, and special needs care.

Sites like allow you to connect with those who need your help.

10. Babysit in the Neighborhood

Ask anyone how to make money in college and chances are, they’ll recommend babysitting.

Put up flyers in all of the neighborhoods and you’ll have your phone ringing in no time.

The best part is that you can set your wage and availability, allowing you to work more when you’re free and less when you have to study.

Have a car? Put it to work.

11. Drive Others

Most of us have probably called a car to come get us at some point.

But, have you considered being the one driving? Lyft makes it possible to make money while driving your own car.

This one of the best business ideas to start at university because around college campuses there are usually many people who may need to find a sober driver to take them home.

12. Sell Makeup

Selling Avon goodies such as makeup, hair care, and body products can be a good way to use any makeup knowledge you may have in order to make money on the side.

Earnings vary, with 20% earned on sales seeming to be the reported norm.

13. Deliver Groceries

Many people, whether elderly or busy, don’t have the time or energy to do their own grocery shopping.

That’s where apps like Instacart come in, providing shoppers who can buy the groceries and deliver them right to their door.

Consider becoming a shopper if you have a car and can carry groceries.

14. Rent Your Car

If you’re in class most of the day, you’re not driving your car.

Turn that time into a money-making opportunity with Turo, a car rental service.

Turo helps to list and insure your car so other people can rent it.

It’s a great way to make extra money if you don’t mind general wear and tear.

Here are some oddball jobs for college students.

15. Bring Out Your Inner Handyman or Handywoman

Are you good with your hands or tools?

If so, then TaskRabbit may be for you.

It connects Taskers to those who need help with home-related tasks such as mounting, installation, home improvement, moving, packing, furniture assembly, and heavy lifting.

16. Clean Offices Part-Time

Breather is a site that manages workspaces.

They set up workspaces for teams and then when the teams are done, they clean the space and create another one for a new client.

That transition is where you come in.

They need people who can clean offices. Simple yet lucrative.

17. Serve Alcohol

Perhaps the most fun on this list (besides playing with puppies), bartending is a classic college job for a reason.

You can serve happy people, listen to music, and drink while on the job, provided that you’re 21 years or older.

Even better, the tips are usually great. Look for bartending opportunities near you to make extra cash.

Do you have any other good tips on how to make money in college? Let us know in a comment below!

Speak another language? Check these out.

18. Transcribe Audio

If you speak another language, transcription jobs are a great way to make money on the side between classes and studying.

Transcribe for TranscribeMe! or Tigerfish, or expand into captions, foreign subtitles, and translation with Rev.

19. Translate Documents

Translation jobs often involve receiving documents and translating them into another language to reach a different audience.

Sites like Gengo, VerbalizeIt and Rev offer many translation opportunities for those with the necessary skills.

20. Teach Your Language

Not sure if transcribing or translating is interesting enough for you? Why not tutor those who are interested in learning your language?

For example, italki is a language learning marketplace for 1-on-1 focused learning.

Just make sure to tell your neighbors so they don’t think you’re talking to yourself for hours!

Sell stuff.

21. Get Crafty

For those with crafting skills, why not sell things that you have made on Etsy?

If you knit, crochet, throw pottery, decoupage, or design jewelry in your free time, then it’s perfect for you.

All you need is the completed craft and an account to start selling your work and make some extra cash.

Don’t have a craft? Look on the Etsy site and see what you could emulate.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way!

22. Host a Bake Sale

If there’s one thing college students love, it’s cheap, delicious food.

Start making money in college by making baked goods and selling them on your floor or in your building.

Build up a routine and people might just start giving you requests!

23. Turn Old Clothes into Cash

If you have a bunch of clothes in your closet that you’re not wearing, consider selling them on Poshmark.

All clothing pieces are listed with brand, price and size. All you need is a photo of the item and internet access.

How easy could it get?

24. Sell Game Gold for Real Money

Are you a gamer? Consider selling your gold on PlayerAuctions.

Some featured games include: Overwatch, Pokemon Go, FIFA Ultimate Team 19, Runescape, Black Desert, Path of Exile, League of Legends, Fortnite, The Elder Scrolls, Final Fantasy XIV, and World of Warcraft USA.

Related: 30+ Things to Sell to Make Money

Here are some campus hustles.

25. Exchange Sweat for Money

Do you do a lot of walking or running to stay healthy?

The Sweatcoin app tracks your outdoors progress and then offers you item rewards or cash via PayPal.

All that running to class? It could actually make you money!

26. Resell School Books

Often, upon finishing classes or graduating, we may feel like throwing out our heavy textbooks or giving them a Viking funeral as a sign of victory.

If you can stave off the urge, there’s money to be made.

Chegg will give you an instant quote on your books’ values, then you can print out free shipping labels and ship via UPS.

After 10-15 business days, you will receive payment for them.

27. Tutor People Near You

Are you getting good grades and feel like you could teach others?

If online tutoring isn’t your thing, then look for people near you who need the help.

Apps like Wyzant can connect you with potential students near you, to minimize transportation time or cost.

28. Dumpster Dive for Treasure

If you’ve ever seen college students on the last day of the school year, you’ll know that they throw away some perfectly good furniture and goods.

From bean bag chairs and refrigerators to lamps and mirrors, there are many items you can snag for free and then resell on eBay or Craigslist.

In fact, one of the best business ideas for students in university is to hold onto the items until the start of the next school year and incoming students will likely buy them right back!

Make money while spending money.

29. Audit for Money and Free Beer

If you’re looking for a unique money earning opportunity, consider The Source, an app that offers assignments such as mystery shopping or auditing for money.

For example, you can earn between $5 and $50 per audit, with the usual sitting around $25.

Plus, you are reimbursed for any purchase needed for the audit.

Translation: if you audit a liquor store and buy beer, that’s yours to keep for free!

30. Earn Cashback on What You Buy

Buy what you normally would, take a photo of the receipt, upload it to Ibotta and the app will give you cash back on what you bought.

That cash is delivered via PayPal, Venmo or gift cards.

Why not get paid to do what you’re already doing?

31. Eat at Specific Restaurants

Do you like to eat out but are trying to save money? This app is for you.

Seated is an app that gives gift cards for eating at specific restaurants.

Their site says you can earn up to 30% back every time you eat and use the app.

32. Get Paid to Walk Into Stores

Did you know there’s an app called Shopkick that gives you gift cards simply by walking into stores?

So whether you’re a mall rat or just somebody who goes shopping every now and then, you stand to make a little extra cash this way.

33. Apply for the Federal Student Aid

Sometimes, the best way to “make” money is by not spending it in the first place.

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is a national aid scholarship for those attending college or graduate school.

You can fill out a free FAFSA application, and make sure you’re aware of the FAFSA deadlines.

34. Look for Thousands of Unique Scholarships

There are many scholarships available to those who take the time to look.

UNIGO, for example, lists millions of scholarships, who they are open to, final scholarship amount, instructions, and deadline. For instance, here is a Cards Against Humanity Science Ambassador Scholarship for women going into STEM.

Also, many schools have a scholarship based on keeping a high grade point average (GPA).

The exact GPA requirement ranges between schools, but generally falls between a 3.0 and 4.0 GPA depending on the level of scholarship, so be sure to keep your grades up during your scholarship search.

How to make money in college online

35. Play Games and Get Rewards

For those looking to have fun and start making money in college, the Long Game app is for you.

It’s a personalized savings account that features games you can play to reap rewards such as cash or cryptocurrency.

36. Watch Videos for Easy Money

Yes, you read that right.

You can make money while in college by watching videos from your bed.

MyPoints is an app that allows you to shop online, take surveys, watch videos, or read emails to win points.

Then, it will reimburse you in gift cards or PayPal cash. Plus, earn a $5 bonus when you complete your first 5 surveys.

37. Share Your Opinions

While not everyone may be interested in hearing your personal opinions on your shampoo, TV, or food preferences, Survey Junkie sure does!

Fill out surveys and make money while helping companies better understand what consumers want.

38. Take Surveys for Quick Cash

If you’ve got some down time between classes, you can take simple surveys for SwagBucks and earn points that turn into free gift cards or PayPal cash.

Some gift cards include the likes of Amazon or Walmart.

Choose shorter or longer surveys based on your availability or the amount you want to make.


Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA and founder of Choice Tax Relief and Money Done Right. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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