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10 Excellent Side Hustles For College Students to Earn in Their Free Time

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By Preethi Jathanna

Senior Writer for HR and Remote Work

10 Excellent Side Hustles For College Students to Earn in Their Free Time

The academic workload of college is almost never easy to get through. However, if you have financial constraints, the going can get significantly tougher. Thankfully, there are several side hustles for college students to help you make some money on the side. However, deciding which side hustle to try can be quite overwhelming considering the numerous options. Besides, there’s also the question of which side jobs pay well. Not to worry, we’ll point you in the right direction.

This article gives you the lowdown of some of the more lucrative side hustles for college students. You’ll also find tips on choosing the right side gig for you and where to look.

1. What is a Side Hustle?

 What is a Side Hustle?

A side hustle generally refers to a part-time or secondary job (or business) that a person engages in alongside their primary job or occupation. In this case, your primary occupation will be your college deduction. Ideally, a side hustle is pursued outside working hours. This means working when you’re not in class or engaged in related academic obligations.

More often than not, the motivation for working a side hustle is to generate additional income. However, for college students, the goal is usually to create a stream of income to help you through your higher learning.

2. Tips to Consider While Choosing Side Hustles for College Students

2.1. Check the credibility of platforms

The first thing you need to do is carry out in-depth research to confirm the credibility and reputation of websites or platforms that offer side hustles. An excellent place to start is to look out for reviews and feedback from other people who have used said platforms. This way, you can ensure they are legitimate and trustworthy.

2.2. Choose you niche

Next, you want to decide on a specific niche for your side hustle. Generally, it is usually best to choose a side hustle that aligns with your skills or interests so that you have a strong lead-in. Of course, you also want to choose a niche where you can provide unique value.

2.3. Consider the availability of time

College schedules can be quite demanding. Therefore, it is also a good idea to assess your schedule beforehand so you can determine how much time you can commit to your side hustle. You want to choose job opportunities that let you maintain a healthy school-work balance.

2.4. Understand safety and legal formalities

Next, you want to consider any legal issues that surround your preferred side hustle. If you’re on a student visa, does your visa allow you to work? Also, is there a time limitation on how long you can work? In addition, you also need to get familiar with the local laws surrounding the industry of your chosen side hustle.

2.5. Credibility of the opportunity

Finally, you want to give the side hustle opportunity a final scrutiny before you launch. Better still, you can look for testimonials or references from fellow students who have tried similar opportunities. Either way, the goal is to avoid potential scams or sham jobs.

3. 10 Best Side Hustles for College Students

Best Side Hustles for College Students

3.1. Tutoring

As a college student, you probably have some knowledge and expertise across a diverse range of subjects. Better still, you likely have some specialized knowledge too. Either way, this provides you with an opportunity to leverage your proficiency by offering tutoring services to those who need them. From math and science to arts and language, you can get paid to help students do better academically.

There are several options to land tutoring gigs. You can choose to advertise your services personally through college bulletin boards and word of mouth. Another option is to sign up on third-party platforms that connect you with your potential clients. Better still, you likely have some specialized knowledge too. For example, if you have cracked the law school admissions test, you can help students with LSAT tutoring services.

Potential pay: $18 per hour, depending on demand and expertise

3.2. Blogging

If you have a knack for writing or you enjoy expressing yourself through written words, you can consider starting a blog. Blogging can be a rewarding side hustle as it allows you to create content on subjects that interest you while making money from it.

From tech to fashion and health wellness, the options of blogging topics are endless and most topics have an existing audience. However, there’s usually a bit of a learning curve and time needed for your blog to gain traction. But if you keep pushing out quality content consistently, you can gain a decent following and start earning from affiliate marketing and sponsored posts.

3.3. Freelance Writing

freelance writing

If you’re good at writing but don’t want to start or run a blog, freelance writing is another lucrative side hustle for you. Many businesses, organizations, and even individuals are constantly in need of writers to create content for their blogs and marketing materials. This opens up excellent side hustles for college students. You can sign up on freelance platforms, like Upwork and Fiverr, to connect with potential clients and sell your services.

With freelance writing, you can work remotely, choose topics or niches that interest you and typically determine your schedule. So that’s a plus.

Potential pay: $30 per hour, depending on expertise

3.4. Complete Online Surveys

Providing data can be a convenient source of income for you. Many market research organizations and survey platforms pay respondents in exchange to provide feedback on services, products, or consumer trends.

However, you should note that the income from completing online surveys is usually not substantial. Nevertheless, it provides college students with an opportunity to earn relatively easily and with flexibility. You can even complete a survey or two while waiting for the next class!

3.5. Social Media Influencer

A few years ago, many people would not have considered this as one of the more lucrative side hustles for college students. However, time has changed and there’s a lot of money to be made through social media platforms, like Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.But, there’s a catch. You have to have a strong online presence on at least one of this social media platform.

If you check that box, you can collaborate with brands and businesses to create and post engaging content that helps these brands to sell their products or services. Who knows? You may have some fun along the way, too.

Potential pay: $35 per hour, depending on reach and expertise

3.6. Delivery Services

According to statistics, at least 268 million Americans shopped online in 2022. This number is projected to hit 285 million by 2025. This provides you an opportunity to make some money on the side by providing delivery services.

If you enjoy driving (or don’t mind it), you can work as a delivery driver and earn some cash. You’ll typically enjoy flexible working hours and will get to explore your neighborhood or city while interacting with different people. Some popular delivery service platforms you can try to get a job at include UberEats, DoorDash, and Postmates.

Potential pay: $19 per hour, depending on client size and time of day

3.7. Sales Representative

Another way to make some money on the side as a college student is to work as a sales representation. Whether you’re selling products or services in person or you’re working as an online salesperson, you can earn through commissions on the sales you close. 

You can even gain valuable experience and develop your communications skills while earning some income. And if you’re really good at your job, bonuses are an icing on the cake in the sales rep industry.

Personal trainer:  $32 per hour, depending on expertise

3.8. Personal Trainer

Unfortunately, not everyone can do this as you need to generally know your way around a gym and  have knowledge on fitness routines. However, if you’re passionate about keeping fit and you have a good understanding of exercise routines and required nutrition, then you can consider being a personal trainer.

As a personal trainer, you get paid to share your expertise and help people hit their fitness goals. You may choose to do this as one-on-one training sessions or host group classes to help more people. Either way, being a personal trainer can be rewarding to your body and your wallet.

Personal trainer: $14 per hour, depending on services and expertise

3.9. Shop/Store Keepers

Working part-time as a shop or storekeeper in a local establishment can be a convenient side hustle for college students. This role typically involves assisting customers, managing inventory, handling sales transactions, and maintaining the store's appearance. In addition, it can also help you develop your customer service skills and gain some work experience. Of course, you’d also be making some money on the side!

However, you have to be careful here to find a store with operating hours that do not interfere with your college schedule.

Potential pay: $20 per hour, depending on client size

3.10. Restaurant Waiters

Working as a waiter or waitress is another one of the more popular side hustles for college students. As a restaurant waiter, you’ll typically have to take orders from customers, serve their food and drinks, and generally ensure they have a pleasant experience while in the shop.

Aside from providing you with a source of income, working as a waiter or waitress can also help  you develop communication and multitasking skills.

Potential pay: $14 per hour, depending on client size

Fun fact? Most restaurants will let you accept and keep tips from customers!

Want more? Read our article on 10 high paying remote jobs for insights into lucrative career opportunities that can be pursued from anywhere in the world.

4. FAQs

4.1. How can a college student earn side income?

There are several ways college students can earn side income while managing their academic commitments. Popular options include getting part-time jobs or freelancing across various industries.

4.2. What are side hustles for those under 16?

Traditional job opportunities may be limited for people under 16 due to legal restrictions. However, there are still several side hustles that younger individuals can explore, including babysitting, dog walking, tutoring, and yard work.

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