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.
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
You’ll have to meet the minimum requirements — Uber, for example, requires that drivers under age 25 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 — which includes Caviar — GrubHub and Instacart.
You might earn less making deliveries than you would as a rideshare driver, but delivery gigs have no minimum standards for your vehicle — some even allow you to deliver via bicycle or scooter. If you do have an eligible vehicle, you can combine ridesharing with delivery driving 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 Belay, which hires fully remote contractors to work 10-40+ hours per week — or Time etc., which pays a flat fee and lets you work as much or as little as you want — with no bidding.
Babysitting wages are no joke, averaging $20 an hour, according to Sittercity. 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, Jovie 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 America are two platforms where you can register to get jobs.
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 unwanted belongings, be they old textbooks, electronics, clothes and accessories, sports equipment or 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. Sell Your Study Materials
Let 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. Study Soup and Studypool are two platforms you can try.
8. 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.
9. Take Tasks and Jobs on Demand
Apps like TaskRabbit, UpShift and Fancy Hands 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.
10. 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, Society6, Fine Art America and Amazon Handmade. Better yet, open your own shop with a pre-designed website from Shopify, Wix ECommerce or Squarespace.
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.
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- FlexJobs. 2021. "How To Become a Virtual Assistant."
- CNET. 2021. "Best Places To Sell Your Used Electronics for 2021."
- FreshBooks. "9 Sites to Sell Your Artwork Online."
- Sittercity. 2023. "How Much Should You Pay Your Babysitter or Nanny?"