Best Side Hustles for College Students
Finding time to work while you’re in college can be a challenge if you’re taking a full course load. Good news – there are some awesome side hustles for college students that give you a good work/school balance. This means you can start saving money, start paying down those pesky student loans, or just have some extra cash for spending.
Side hustles are a great way to make extra money because they naturally fit in with any kind of schedule. The idea is that you are in control of when you work.
With these side hustles for college students, you can scale back when you have a busy week – midterms, finals, huge paper due, etc. It’s all about making this work with your already chaotic schedule.
So, if you’re ready to make some cash while you’re still in school, here are 25 side hustles for college students:
You can find tutoring jobs both on and off campus, tutoring in the field you’re studying or something else entirely. For on campus tutoring jobs, contact your university’s career or student center. For off campus tutoring, you can contact local high schools or elementary schools. You could hang flyers up at a library or list your services on Craigslist.
Tutors can make around $20-$30 an hour depending on your level of experience.
2. Become a mystery shopper
Mystery shopping encompasses several different types of “shops,” like:
- Trying out services
- Pretending like you’re going to buy something from a store
- Calling to test a store’s customer service
- Dining out
- Shopping for specific items
Depending on the shop, you can be paid in cash, being reimbursed for the product, or both.
It’s a great side hustle for college students because you can sign up to do shops over breaks, during the day, on the weekends, or just any time you aren’t in class. And if you’re really smart about it, you can mystery shop for products and services you would be paying for anyway.
The only thing about mystery shopping is to watch out for scams:
- Don’t try out any money wiring services – this is a common scam!
- You shouldn’t need a certification to be a mystery shopper, especially if you have to pony up cash for it.
- Don’t pay for access to mystery shopping sites. There are a bunch of legit ones, including Bestmark, Market Force, IntelliShop, Sinclair Customer Metrics, and Secret Shopper.
3. Run Facebook ads for local businesses
Despite what it sounds like, you don’t need a degree in marketing or advertising for this side hustle. And, it’s actually our all time favorite side hustle because…
- It’s flexible – takes around three hours a week to onboard a client and run the ads. It’s pretty much autopilot after you find which ads work.
- It pays really well – think $1,000+ per client/per month.
- It’s in high demand – small business owners are realizing they need this service to compete with the big advertisers.
For college students, this is a great side hustle because you have something that not all potential Facebook marketers will have… your age is on your side. As a digital native, you know how to navigate social media and know its value.
You can learn more about this side hustle and how to do it in the Facebook Side Hustle Course.
4. Sell your stuff online
Being that you’re in college, you probably don’t have a house full of stuff to go through, but I bet you still have some stuff you can get rid of. This could be gently worn clothes, shoes, accessories, sports equipment, books, etc.
There are a number of apps to sell your stuff online, and some of the best ones are:
Besides selling stuff you already have, with a good eye, you could scour local thrift stores and garage sales and find even more stuff to sell.
5. Review apps and websites
Through a company like UserTesting, you can make anywhere from $10-$60 per website you test. Here’s how it works:
- Sign up for a free account
- Be assigned a website or app to test
- Complete several tasks on the website
- Record your thoughts on the user experience
- Get paid via PayPal
You are assigned websites based on demographics and the quality of the ratings you receive for previous tests.
6. Take surveys
Alright, you’re not going to get rich here. But, this is an awesome side hustle for college students because it’s super mindless and requires very little commitment…
Waiting for an Uber? Take a survey.
Have a few minutes before class starts? Take a survey.
Waiting on a friend? Take a survey.
Despite what some survey sites claim you’ll make, the average user makes around $1-$2/hour. That’s not much, but you can make some cash in times when you’d be swiping through Instastories.
Interested in this side hustles? Here are some of the top rated survey websites:
7. Work as a nanny or babysitter
If you enjoy spending time with kids (a must here), you can earn around $10-$15/hour as a nanny or babysitter. Websites like SitterCity and Care.com are good places to list your services. You could even put the word out to faculty members, if there are ones you have a good relationship with.
8. Become a Pinterest virtual assistant
For college students, this is another online side hustle that makes sense because your age means you’ve got some necessary skills already baked in. This job is increasingly in demand with online business owners and bloggers because Pinterest can be a huge source of traffic with the right pinning strategy.
Pinterest virtual assistants do things like:
- Creating pins
- Researching keywords
- Optimizing images
- Creating a pinning schedule
To learn how to start on this side hustle and get a little help finding your first client, check out the Pinterest VA Course by Gina Horkey and Kristin Larsen. You can read a review of the course here.
9. Do odd jobs for others
If you know you need to keep your side hustle interesting, doing odd jobs for people might be a really good option. TaskRabbit makes that incredibly easy, listing tasks for things like:
- Planting flowers
- Assembling IKEA furniture
- Cleaning a bathroom
- Moving boxes
Your pay depends on the task and location, and you can find a range of pay for different types of tasks on TaskRabbit’s website.
10. Deliver food
From groceries to meals, food delivery drivers are in high demand – you may have even used a service like Postmates yourself.
Here are some of the most popular food delivery sites and the average per hour pay for each:
11. Become a rideshare driver
If you’re at least 21, then side hustling as a rideshare driver is another option. The average per ride fare (not per hour) is $15.97 with Uber and $11.48 with Lyft. Both companies take around 25% of each fare according to Forbes.
12. Look after other people’s pets
Does hanging out with a good doggo feed your soul? Then petsitting or dog walking is a great side hustle if you’re in college. Seriously, sometimes there is nothing better than sitting with a big fat cat on your lap or playing fetch with a pup.
You can find gigs through sites like Rover or by listing your services around town. Depending on where you’re located, you can make around $35 a day for petsitting and around $15+ for dog walking.
13. Help people move
Have you ever seen that company College Hunks Hauling Junk? Objectification aside, moving furniture and heavy lifting is a great side hustle for college students. You can set your own hours and get in a workout, but you will need a truck.
14. Do lawn care
Helping people maintain their garden and/or lawn is another side hustle that gives you a little bit of a workout… never a bad thing when you spend a huge amount of your time sitting in class and writing papers. And, it’s something you might be able to do without much equipment of your own.
To find jobs from raking, planting, mowing lawns, weeding, watering yards, edging, trimming bushes and shrubs, etc., here’s where to look:
- TaskRabbit (again, it’s just a great site to find gig type jobs)
- Find landscape designers in your area and see if they need any part-time labor
15. Become a freelance writer
If you love writing but need a break from Chaucer or citing academic articles with JSTOR, freelance writing might be a good outlet for you. Pay definitely depends on your experience, and you can work as a freelance writer for a variety of clients, like:
- Content mills
- Marketing agencies
- Writing emails
- Writing for blogs
- Copywriting for websites
16. Start a blog
Having a blog is a really fun way to tell stories, teach people things, share your experiences learning something new, or just documenting your life. And while you aren’t going to make fast cash blogging, with some time, energy, and the right monetization method blogging can be a pretty lucrative side hustle.
To learn the steps to getting started, read more at How to Start a Blog – Everything You Need to Know to be Successful.
When you’re ready to set your blog up, Launch That Blog is a free service that sets up a professional looking website for you, including:
- Installation and setup of a WordPress blog
- Teaches you how to use your blog
- Ensures that you have all of the essential tools from the beginning.
The service itself is free, but it’s for Bluehost sites only. Laptop Empires has exclusive pricing of only $2.95/month when you click on that Bluehost link up there.
17. Rent space in your apartment
If you’re not living on campus, renting out a room, a bed, or your entire place on Airbnb can earn you some decent cash. College towns are often in higher demand for tourism – usually having hip downtown districts or visiting families.
18. Become a tour guide
Even if you didn’t grow up where you’re going to college, you’ve likely gotten to know the area pretty well. At the very least, you probably know a few good places to grab a drink or maybe even where the best hiking spots are.
19. Edit papers for your peers
Here’s the reality… not everyone in college is great at spelling, knows how to punctuate sentences, or even writes very well. If you do, then you can get paid to help your classmates.
If you’re interested in this side hustle, put fliers up around campus, advertise in online forums, etc.
20. Write cover letters, resumes, and CVs
Similar to the last one, not everyone has the skills it takes to write compelling cover letters and resumes. And, these are incredibly important things while you’re in college or about to graduate.
21. Housesit for extra cash
Next to running Facebook ads, this is legit one of our favorite side hustles for college students. Why you ask? Well… in college, you spend a whole lot of time around other people, and it’s often in crowded dorms, gross party houses, etc. That means housesitting is almost like a vacation.
Now, you will have to be responsible – this is other people’s stuff. But, the pay isn’t too bad ($25-$45/day) considering that you’re essentially hanging around someone else’s place for a few days.
22. Clean houses
No one loves cleaning toilets, but before you knock this one, consider how much you can make cleaning houses… $25-$50/hour, but that’s if you work for yourself and not a maid service.
23. Side hustle as a bike messenger
If you go to school in a big city, working as a bike messenger for a company like Caviar can earn you up to $25/hour.
24. Help people get fit as a personal trainer
While personal trainers do require a certification process, this is a good side hustle for college students who are maybe working on a degree in health or fitness or are already gym rats. The same goes for anyone who is deep into things like yoga or barre classes.
You may be able to find jobs at a local gym, working in private gyms, etc. Pay depends on your level of certification and experience, so you’ll probably start on the low end. That can be around $15/hour.
25. Work as a translator
If you are fluent in more than one language, working as a translator can be a nice way to make some cash while flexing your skills. You may need to pass a fluency test for certain projects and companies.
You can find translating jobs through sites like:
If you’re in your school’s foreign language program, you can also check with your department for job listings.
Final word on side hustles for college students
At the very beginning of this article, we talked about how side hustles can be a great way to help you start paying off some of your student loans. But, you will need to keep track of what you’re making. That’s because what you’re paid can affect how much financial aid you receive.
For the 2019-2020 school year, dependent students can make $6,660 a year before it affects financial aid status.
If you’re close to that amount should you cut back on your hours or quit your side hustle? Not necessarily. You should consult someone in your school’s financial aid office to find out more.