How To Make Money in College: 10 Ways in 2021

Male college student concentrates while using a laptop while sitting on the steps of an education building waiting for class to start.
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An off-campus job might be the quickest way to earn extra cash, but good luck finding one that pays above minimum wage and accommodates your classes and activities — and still leaves down time for fun. 

So, how can you make money as a college student without risking your grades or your social life? One option is to go freelance and pick up gigs you can do according to your own schedule. Gigs let you work when you want, as much or as little as you want. At worst, you can earn enough to cover books and personal expenses. At best, you’ll turn your gig into a bona fide business by the time you graduate.

Good To Know

Some of the money-making opportunities you see online sound too good to be true because they are — investment opportunities and gambling enticements, for example, are more likely to cost you money than make you money. Also steer clear of surveys, crowdsourced tasks and points-based tasks that won’t earn you more than a small fraction of minimum wage, except, perhaps, as something to do while you watch TV.

More From Your Money

10 Gigs for College Students

The following ideas are all legitimate ways to start earning decent money right away, doing work that doesn’t require more experience than a college student is likely to have.

1. Rideshare Driver

If you’ve got a car on campus, you can make good money driving for Uber, Lyft or another ridesharing platform. You’ll have to meet the minimum requirements — Uber, for example, requires that drives under age 23 have at least three years of driving experience, and in some states you’ll have to get your car inspected every year — but once you’re up and running on the app, you can drive whenever it’s most convenient. Some drivers are on more than one app.

2. Delivery Driver

Sign up to deliver everything from mail order packages to groceries and restaurant meals in the local area around your school. Popular delivery driver apps include Amazon Flex, Postmates, Uber Eats, DoorDash, GrubHub, Caviar, Deliv and Instacart. You might earn less making deliveries than you would as a rideshare driver, but you can combine the two to minimize downtime and maximize your earnings.

3. Virtual Assistant

Virtual assistants perform administrative work for busy professionals. The work might involve managing email, maintaining records and managing social media. You’ll find VA gigs on a variety of freelance platforms, but often, you’ll face stiff competition. An alternative is to work with a platform like Time etc., which pays a flat fee and lets you work as much or as little as you want, with no bidding.

4. Babysit

Babysitting wages are no joke, averaging around $15 an hour. Not bad considering you’ll likely have at least part of the evening free to study after the children are in bed. Platforms, where parents list sitter positions, include Sittercity, Uloop, College Natties & Sitters and Care.com.

5. Pet Sit/House Sit

If you don’t mind staying in strangers’ homes — while they’re away, of course — pet sitting and house sitting could be easy ways to make extra cash. In addition to walking and caring for the pets, you’d be responsible for keeping up the home and yard. HouseSitter.com and House Sitters American are two platforms where you can register to get jobs.

More From Your Money

An alternative to overnight sitting is pet walking/feeding — short and sweet. You can find those gigs on the Rover app.

6. Sell Unneeded Belongings Online

There could be a market for your old textbooks, electronics, clothes and accessories, sports equipment and even childhood toys. While some e-commerce platforms specialize in specific types of items —  Poshmark for fashion and Amazon Trade-In for electronics, for example — you can always go the easy route and list large items on Facebook Marketplace or OfferUp and easy-to-ship items on eBay.

7. Take Tasks and Jobs on Demand

Apps like TaskRabbit, UpShift, Agent Anything and FancyHands match gig workers with people and companies hiring out tasks. Whereas some gigs are quick, one-time tasks, others might get you a few hours, or even a whole day’s work for a local business — all on demand.

8. Sell Your Study Materials

Let your class notes, flash cards and other study material you’ve created help other students while they earn you money. Eligibility requirements vary by platform, but if you’re accepted and your notes pass muster, you’ll earn a portion of the proceeds for each sale. Course Hero and Study Soup are two platforms you can try.

9. Capitalize on Your Talent

Whether your skills lean toward the creative or the technical, there might be a market for your talent, and you don’t need your own website to tap into it. Skills that do well on Fiverr include programming, graphic design and business copy writing. Graphic designers and other artists and makers can list their handmade items on Etsy, Saatchi Art, Fine Art America or even Amazon Handmade.

10. Sell Your Old Video Games and Gaming Accounts or Assets

Why not make some money off games and accounts you’re no longer using? Gamers’ sites like OwnedCore have marketplaces where you can sell accounts, power leveling, boosting services and other assets. If it’s just old games or consoles you want to cash in, try ebay or a specialty site like Swappa that lets you create your own listings.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

About the Author

Daria Uhlig is a personal finance, real estate and travel writer and editor with over 25 years of editorial experience. Her work has been featured on The Motley Fool, MSN, AOL, Yahoo! Finance, CNBC and USA Today. Daria studied journalism at the County College of Morris and earned a degree in communications at Centenary University, both in New Jersey.

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