Are you a college student in need of money fast? Want to find the best side hustles for college students? Yeah, you’re in the right place. In this blog post, I’m going to go over the best ways to make money in college (without a job).
I don’t have to tell you just how expensive and financially draining college is. Because, as a college student, you know this all too well as you’re likely already experiencing this first hand.
But I got your back.
Just because you are in college doesn’t mean you have to be broke. There are ways to make money in college, even without a job!
While there are plenty of scams out there promising a lot of money (for not a lot of work), the old adage always rings true: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
So what I wanted to do here is put together a list of the legitimate ways college students can make money. Plus, these gigs and side hustles are things most of us can do without experience or long-term commitment.
Without further ado, here are 39 legit ways to make money in college (without a job).
Table of Contents
Start an online business
If you want to make money without a job, consider starting your own online business.
The best part of owning an online business is that once you get it up and running, you can automate and outsource the most repetitive tasks.
This concept of creating passive income is explored in The 4-Hour Workweek, which is one of my most recommended books for entrepreneurs.
There are a few ways to make money with an online business.
1. Start a blog or website
The best (in my opinion) side hustle for college students is blogging. With a very small investment (less than $5 per month), you can start a profitable blog.
Here are the 7 steps to starting a blog and setting it up to make money.
- To start your blog, first pick a profitable niche (think health, wealth & self-improvement) that you have a genuine interest in.
- Choose a blog name and a domain name and set up web hosting with HostGator.
- Install WordPress, the best blog platform around (it’s free and comes pre-installed with HostGator).
- Choose a blog theme that’s lightweight and easy to set up, like Astra.
- Write your first blog post and publish it. Don’t forget to install the free Grammarly browser extension to help you write your content.
- You can monetize your blog with ads to start. You can get started with Google Adsense.
- Finally, get traffic to your blog posts from social media and Google search.
2. Make money by selling other people’s products
One of the common objections people have when starting an online business is that they don’t have anything to sell. But with affiliate marketing, you can sell other people’s products and earn a commission for them.
For example, if you start a website using my HostGator link, you not only score a sweet discount, but I also earn a commission.
You can recommend products in your blog posts by creating content such as “Best [Products] for [Audience]” “or [Niche] Gift Guide.”
Here are the best affiliate programs to join where you can find products to recommend to your audience.
3. Create and sell your own digital products
You can make money online by selling a digital product like an ebook.
The first product I ever created was a weight loss ebook. I only sold one copy. But it was all the proof and motivation I needed to know that I can make money selling something I created.
Here is the process of creating and selling a digital product like an ebook or printables.
- Write an ebook on Google Docs, Google Slides, Word, or even in Canva. Save or export your ebook as a PDF.
- Design an ebook cover for free using Canva’s templates.
- Put the ebook for sale on your website and promote it via your email list.
- Use MockupShots to create some beautiful mockups to help you sell your ebook.
- Sign up with Stripe and Paypal to process payments and get paid.
- Finally, you need to use a shopping cart program like SendOwl to handle the checkout process and product delivery.
4. Create and sell online courses
One of the best ways to make money online is by creating and selling an online course. You can sell your course for as much or as little as you want.
Here’s how to get started creating and selling an online course.
- Find a topic that people are already buying courses on. Look for course ideas on Udemy and Skillshare.
- Research to find a learning management system like Teachable to work with.
- To host an online course on your blog, you can use LearnDash or Thrive Apprentice.
- Create and publish your online course.
- You can promote the course on your blog, social media, and via Facebook ads.
Legit websites to make money in college
One of the easiest ways for scammers to strike is in the field of “make money online” websites and services.
I’ve waded through the junk out there to find you the best and most legitimate ways to make money online.
Want to share your opinion and get paid for it? Big companies want to know about the spending habits of college students – and they’re willing to pay for your time!
While there are plenty of scammy survey sites out there that are a total waste of your time, I’ve found a few reliable survey sites that actually pay.
Here are the best survey sites for college students to start making money sharing your opinion:
- InboxDollars (sign up for free and get $5 using my link!)
- Dabbl app
While each company does it differently, typically, when you qualify and complete a survey, you are awarded points. You can then redeem those points for cash or gift cards. Easy peasy.
6. Cashback shopping
We all have to shop, so why not get paid for it?
Here’s how this works.
First, you install a browser extension that enables you can earn points for shopping at the stores you already shop at.
There is literally no work required on your part (other than installing the browser add-on).
When you complete a purchase, a small percentage of your purchase goes into your account. Even at 1 or 2%, it can really add up!
Here are the best cashback sites to make money to shop:
Earn money in college with your car
Using your car to deliver food is one of the best ways to make money in college. But I’m not talking about becoming a pizza delivery driver.
Instead, you can sign up with a few of the companies I mention below and become a freelance delivery driver.
7. Delivering groceries
Are you one of those people who love grocery shopping? What about spending other people’s money?
Grocery delivering services have become more popular in the last few years. Companies like Instacart and Shipt have made thousands of college students some sweet money grocery shopping for other people.
8. Food delivery
Okay, so maybe you’ve never had to pay to have someone drive you to the supermarket, but we can almost guarantee you’ve probably ordered delivery food once or twice.
Between restaurants and now food delivery services, there are countless options to sign up to drive and deliver food.
We can essentially guarantee there will always be a college student who will want pizza delivered in the middle of the night.
9. Rent your car out
They take the time to process and vet strangers and make sure your car is rented out to someone who is trustworthy and will leave your car in the exact condition you rented it to them in.
Did you know there was a company that would pay you to use your car as a moving billboard? Wrapify is that company.
If you are fine with having essentially big bumper stickers all around your car to display ads of companies, then you should look into this monthly paying job.
Odds are you have been in a situation where you’ve had to pay for someone else to come pick you up and drive you home – now what if people were paying you to do that for them!
Ride-sharing apps like Lyft and Uber are some of the most popular side hustles for college students because, especially in college towns, there will always be someone who needs to be driven somewhere at all hours of the day and night.
Working for a company like these allows individuals to work whatever hours they want to, for their pay is completely reliant on how often you want to work.
They will either deliver prime orders within their community or their own type of grocery delivery service. Amazon is one of the most popular e-commerce sites, so they are constantly hiring new employees.
Make money as a caregiver
Maybe you’re looking to do something a little bit different than a typical job, and maybe you aren’t interested in working online in any way. Well, can you be trusted to look after someone else’s house, pet, or child?
College towns are filled with busy people that might be gone for periods of time on work or vacation and will require someone to consistently check in on their homes.
Trusted Housesitters has made this into an all-in-one service for people looking to make some extra money by simply watching and sometimes staying in a house.
14. All about the pets
Now, if you are an animal lover, there are a few different routes you can take to earn some extra cash while getting to spend some time with animals.
Services like Fetch and Rover list needed dog walkers, pet sitters, and any other jobs involving pets all the time. There might even be people on DogVacay who are looking to pay you to board their dog at your house when they are gone on vacation.
Look through these or post your services on Care.com to find a fur baby to take care of (oh, and also get paid to spend time with cute animals).
15. Nannying or babysitting
If you have siblings, odds are you probably already have some experience with this gig.
Nannying on a semi-regular schedule with one or two particular families is very popular with people in college because they have the ability to work around their school schedule and the parent’s work schedule to make some extra money.
Care.com helps you find busy parents in your area. They’ve (understandably) got a thorough vetting process that you will be put through.
Do small jobs online as a freelancer
16. Freelance writing
If you haven’t gotten tired of writing all of those college essay papers and are looking to earn some money with your writing, you might want to look into freelance writing gigs.
17. Transcription services
For those who have more dedication and skill level when it comes to typing, you might be missing out on some valuable spending money not working for transcription services.
Most work involves transcribing audio files that typically pay by the minute.
For people who may find it difficult to pass the required entry tests for the previous services, SpeechPad Transcription is a great resource for those looking to get started making money transcribing things.
One of the largest companies in the world has a lot of ways to make supplemental income that is perfect for students.
Mturk is Amazon’s crowdsourcing website that pays participants amounts of money to complete tasks.
By answering surveys, writing reviews, or selecting images that include pictures of a cat, you can get anywhere from $0.25 to $10 for their more strenuous tasks.
Signing up is free, and you can literally work whenever you want to (even while lying in bed; a college student’s dream!).
Sell your stuff online to make money in college
19. Sell your old clothes
If there are things that have been sitting in your closet that you haven’t worn in years, maybe you should think about selling them online.
There are tons of apps that provide the platform for you to sell your gently-used clothing and shoes, if they are in good condition, to other people.
You get complete control over what you sell and how much you sell it for, and as long as you are realistic, you’ll get a buyer.
20. Sell your old anything
Other than eBay or Craigslist, you should also look into selling your stuff on LetGo and OfferUp. They are essentially like an online yard sale where you can list any item you want to get rid of at a price you select.
Finally, don’t’ forget about Facebook. Your area probably has its own Facebook Marketplace page where you can list items for people near you, which can be very beneficial if it’s an item you want the buyers to pick up.
Make money in college with your property
21. Put your home to work for you
If you’re lucky enough not to be living in a dorm or to not already have 4 roommates already, there’s likely a little room in your home to squeeze some extra cash out of.
22. Renting a room
If you are living in a house with an extra bedroom that is doing nothing but collecting dust and your vacuum cleaner, look into renting it out.
Of course, this will require using your own discretion to who you rent to, but there are also companies like Airbnb and Neighbor that will do most of the leg work for you and match you up with the best candidates that meet your requirements.
23. Rent a storage room
Storewithme is the kind of company you should look into if you have extra space you don’t mind making available to others.
This could be a garage space that is vacant or even land for someone to pay to park their RV or boat.
On-campus gigs for college students
While in college, you might as well make the most of your campus. These jobs are traditionally hourly jobs where your university will limit the number of hours you work.
It also might be helpful to look into these jobs if you have a weird academic schedule where it might be a little more difficult to go out and get a 9 to 5 job.
Here are some side hustles for college students you might be able to find on your campus right now!
24. Teaching assistant (TA)
You’ve probably been in a general education class that had a TA in it. They could have been helping the professors teach topics, offering tutoring services, or just graded your essay, but they were always there in the back of the classroom.
This could be you and could be great real-life practice if you are looking to go into academia as your career.
I recommend starting to build those relationships with your professors now and reach out to see if any of them need a TA for their upcoming classes.
25. Research assistant
For those of you who prefer working with a professor instead of other college students, you might enjoy being a research assistant.
Depending on the department or professor you are helping, your duties may differ, but each research position will give you a greater perspective on what your professors do to prepare to help students just like you.
26. Resident assistant (RA)
Probably one of the more popular jobs on your college campus is becoming a residential assistant.
This position centered around making lasting connections with your peers will allow you real work experience to work on your leadership and social skills.
Reach out to current RA’s on your campus to find out how to get hired in the residential life.
27. Campus IT
If you are interested in computers, you should look into working within your school’s IT department.
Computers are always evolving, so this kind of job will constantly be pushing you to learn new things and furthering your expertise in technology.
There may be certain prerequisites before applying, so keep that in mind when handing in your application.
28. Host home for future students
For larger universities, in particular, they may offer prospective students to stay near campus for overnight visits.
In which case, they would need a prominent member of the school community to host these individuals so they can get first-hand experience of what being at that college is like.
29. Campus tour guide
Most students will visit the campus before committing to attend, and one large part of visiting is touring the campus grounds.
This is a great job to polish your public speaking skills while learning more than you ever thought you could learn about your university.
You could possibly also pick up additional weekday hours, for some colleges offer tours to alumni and possible students and their families on the weekend.
30. Dining halls
Obviously, if you have any culinary aspirations, working in the dining halls can gain you real-world experience, as well as a paycheck.
If you haven’t noticed, dining halls run on a lot of different people in different positions.
From stocking the shelves, running registers, or making food, there may be quite a few job opportunities within this popular area of your campus.
31. Writing center
Most colleges have tutors that are specific to writing because it is a skill that colleges want all of their graduates to conquer.
Working at the writing center could involve helping students set up their resumes, structuring an essay, or working on grammar.
Most writing centers also allow students to work their own hours after class, which might fit the flexibility aspect of a job while going to school.
32. Campus transportation
Regardless of the size of your college, there will always be a need for someone or something to be transported within your campus.
This could be the president of a college on a golf cart or busses to move kids around campus, but transportation is a large part of any campus.
There are specific requirements for a job like this; however, there are students whose qualifications make them eligible for them.
Many departments will have dedicated tutors to aid other students in content areas they are well versed in.
You’ve probably seen postings on boards within your buildings expressing tutor availability for math or science.
Ask around to see what classes are in need of tutors, and if it happens to be a subject you excel in, you should give tutoring a shot, even if it’s outside the school setting.
34. Dorm front desk
Larger universities that have dorms for students to live in will all have a front desk.
This is where students living in that dorm receive their mail, report issues with their rooms, and will almost always have someone working all hours in case any student gets locked out of their dorm hall.
It does require long periods of time of sitting with seemingly nothing to do, but as long as you remain vigilant and alert, you might be able to multitask doing your homework while getting paid to work a front desk.
Things will constantly be breaking or getting dirty in a place as busy as a college, which is where all the behind the scene jobs like maintenance and custodial workers are.
Qualifications for jobs like these are usually pretty low, with many opportunities to advance and learn.
Best night jobs for college students
You might be the kind of person who just always needs to be working and stimulating your life with activity.
If working from home or running your own business does not seem your speed, there are also a lot of available jobs outside those criteria.
While they might not all be “night jobs,” we are simply referring to part-time jobs that you can work whenever you are not in class.
It’s not a coincidence that most college towns have their fair share of bars, so bartending is one of the most popular part-time college jobs around.
Bartending will put you in a great scenario to work on your social skills while learning conflict resolution and customer service.
Most students flock to this kind of work because it is primarily available at night when most students have finished with their classwork for the day. Just be prepared for some long nights and cash tips.
Here is a great example of additional jobs you can apply for while in college that aren’t necessarily at night, although I am sure you can find an internship that is later in the day.
Just make sure when surfing the online ads, you are looking for a paid internship because there will be many offers that are just simply about the experience (which is great but also, you want to get paid).
38. Temp work
Odds are there is an office complex near you if you are going to school, and they will probably be looking to hire temporary workers.
This could be over the holidays when stores are their busiest or even positions that are explicitly over the summer. The point is, there is temp work anywhere and everywhere.
Reach out to your local temp agencies to see what kind of job listings they have available now.
39. Cleaning services
Do you just love doing chores? What about if you got paid to do them?
Also, especially around colleges, there will be companies that rent out spaces for events.
Breather is one of those services that hire people to clean those spaces before events, so sign up with them if this is how you want to earn your extra income.
Working at a local fast food joint should not be your only option when it comes to making money in college. Hopefully, this list has given you plenty of options to make some side hustle money.