How to Make Money In College: Ideas for Side Hustles

Mike Brown Updated on October 19, 2017

If you’re like many college students, you’re managing a full course schedule during the day and spending most weeknights studying. But even though you feel like all you do is work, those tuition bills, room and board fees, textbook costs and the occasional splurge can’t be paid with good grades. Don’t fret – there are many ways you can make money in college and still keep up with your studies.

What's the best balance between school and work?

Earning money while you attend college is a great way to help you afford some fun and make a dent in paying back your student loans – either by helping with interest payments or even getting a head-start on paying back your loans. But a full-time, 9-to-5 job isn’t something most students can manage while taking college courses. So, what money-making options may be available to you? 

  • Work-study programs: In addition to loans, scholarships and grants, federal financial aid may be offered in the form of a work-study program. Work-study is a part-time job that’s usually on campus. Your school’s financial aid office is the place to look for these opportunities. Income from a work-study job will not reduce your eligibility for other financial aid, like other earnings can. Work-study employers are also required to consider your class schedule when assigning work hours. However, because you may not be working many hours – and earning as low as minimum wage – there are limits to how much you can realistically earn.
  • A regular, part-time job: From food service to retail to telemarketing, part-time jobs are often available off campus that could boost your bottom line. But you may have trouble finding a job you like that fits your course schedule. That means you could be stuck with a late-night shift that cuts into your study and sleep time.
  • A side hustle: You could combine your talent and passion into an entrepreneurial side hustle. It’s a flexible way to earn some extra cash while doing something you enjoy. Plus, you can work on your own schedule, so it can be the ideal moneymaking solution for college students.

How to make a side hustle work for you

A side hustle is tailor-made for college students. There’s no long-term commitment and you can try a variety of things to see what works for you. Consider these options:

Freelance writing. Have you been told you’re an excellent writer? Check out freelance writing sites or reach out to your LinkedIn contacts to see if anyone needs some help creating content for a small business.

Tutoring. Are you a skilled Spanish speaker or violin virtuoso? Advertise your tutoring and teaching services by posting flyers on library and community center boards, reaching out to your personal contacts and professors, using social media or even spending a little money to advertise in your local newspaper.

Crafting. Can you crochet, sew, sculpt or otherwise create beautiful crafts fairly quickly? Consider opening an Etsy shop.

Driving. Do you have a reliable car and like to drive? Sign up to be an Uber or Lyft driver, or deliver food on- and off-campus through companies like Postmates and GrubHub.

Use your internet skills. Some websites will reward you with cash or gift cards just for taking surveys, watching videos or searching online. Swagbucks is a prime example.

Participate in research. Peruse your college’s social media sites, newspapers and bulletin boards for on-campus research studies seeking paid participants (within reason).

Sell your stuff. Don’t throw away those electronics, books (especially textbooks) or potentially collectible items. Sell them instead on sites like eBay or Amazon. If you have a collector’s eye, you might even spend weekends buying cheap but interesting finds from yard and estate sales and selling them for much more in an online marketplace.

Take on tasks. Take on tasks for others through digital service-based websites like Fiverr or TaskRabbit.

Keep up your scholarly search

Need more help with those college costs? Scholarship opportunities are available even after you’re enrolled – you just have to know where to look. And The $5,000 Nitro College Scholarship is one of the quickest and easiest to apply for. Plus, not only are you are eligible to win the $5,000 scholarship, but you can win an extra $1,000 scholarship when you recommend your friends after you submit your application. All you have to do is complete the online scholarship survey and answer three short-answer questions. You can apply for the scholarship again March 31, 2017, and July 31, 2017.

Published in: Private Student Loans

About the Author
Mike Brown

Mike is responsible for the editorial and marketing direction of Nitro. He has a history of helping people thru his educational background—first as a teacher at the Pennsylvania State University and then thru 15 years of development and marketing of education programs. Read more by Mike Brown

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