Money was a problem while in college. Lacking experience and a background in a specific field and having to go to lectures can make it difficult to acquire gainful employment.
Luckily, there are ways to make money as a college student online. Some of these are niche and a great choice for those who are working towards a specific major. Others are a bit more generic and suitable for just about everyone.
To make money as a college student, you can rely on the following ideas. Most of them have been tested personally and they provide legitimate opportunities.
How to Make Money as a College Student Online: Choosing Legitimate Opportunities
While some of the online money making options depend entirely on your efforts (for example – blogging or starting your own YouTube channel), in other instances you’ll have to join certain programs.
When learning how to make money as a college student online, you’ll need to understand one very important thing.
Opportunities that appear too good to be true usually are.
If you’re active on Facebook or other social media, you’ve probably come across dozens of ads that promise quick cash and large returns for virtually no effort on your behalf.
Most of these are either spam or scam postings. Refrain from joining such programs or sharing personal/financial details with their creators.
You should also avoid programs that charge a sign-up fee. It’s true that you’ll sometimes have to invest a bit in order to start monetizing. In such instances, however, it’s much better to pay for a domain and hosting that will be needed for the launch of your own blog. The investment is minimal and the return is guaranteed if you’re willing to work hard enough.
You shouldn’t be charged for know-how, access to student job ads or forum participation that will enable communication with potential clients. There are legitimate platforms out there for the purpose that do not charge money for the purpose.
Keeping this information in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best ways to make money as a college student.
1. Start a Blog
Your own blog is relatively easy to monetize if you choose the right niche and you’re consistently creating high quality content.
The right blog niche is the first essential to consider. It will determine the traffic and thus – the monetization potential of the endeavor.
Next, focus on content creation and growing your audience. This is crucial before you undertake monetization efforts. Whether you plan to attract advertisers or join an affiliate marketing network, you will need a solid audience in order to be accepted.
Blogs can be monetized in several ways. For best results, you should consider several of those. Featuring ads and selling your own products (like ebooks) while also writing promotional content can all generate a steady income stream.
With time, this project can turn into a serious business. It really depends on your commitment level, your knowledge of the respective niche and your ability to create content that a large number of people would want to read.
2. Write for Websites That Pay for Articles
If you like writing articles on different topics, you can make money as a college student by submitting those to various platforms.
Multiple websites pay 50 dollars or even more per accepted submission.
It’s up to you to choose the digital magazine or website you like the most. The trick here is to select a topic that you’re knowledgeable about. Having original content ideas will also matter in order to get your submission approved.
Always go through the website before crafting your pitch. Familiarize yourself with the style, the tone and the topics that have already been addressed. A convincing pitch is personalized and it takes in consideration the style requirements.
If you’re just getting started with this online money making opportunity, choose websites that approve pitches before assigning the writing task itself (some of the websites may ask you to submit written texts). Having your pitch approved before you move on to the writing itself will reduce the amount of work you do for no payment.
3. Do Affiliate Marketing on Social Media
You can do affiliate marketing even if you don’t have your own website or blog.
Many companies accept promotion via social media channels for their products.
For the purpose, you need to have a large following on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
Affiliates advertise products and services. Whenever your referral contributes to a purchase, you’ll receive a commission percentage.
4. Get Paid for Participating in Surveys
Survey websites accept people over the age of 16 or 18 (please check the specific terms and conditions) and they pay for each survey you complete after meeting the qualification criteria.
This is one of the easiest ways to make money as a college student. The reason is simple – no qualifications are required. You simply have to belong to the right demographic in order to get a sufficient number of surveys that you qualify for.
Multiple paid survey websites exist but some of them offer much better conditions than others.
Survey Junkie is one of the biggest players on the market. The website accepts members aged 13 or older from the US, Canada and Australia. Each survey completed results in a certain number of points being earned. These points can be turned into cash and withdrawn via PayPal.
Inbox Dollars is another great choice and you’ll receive a five-dollar bonus just for signing up. You can earn money through paid surveys, watching videos, playing games, shopping and even reading emails.
Finally, SwagBucks also offers legitimate money making opportunities to college students from numerous countries. The website also provides a five-dollar sign-up bonus and monetization can be achieved in multiple ways apart from doing paid surveys.
5. Develop Apps
Computer science students and other people who have good coding skills can earn money by making their own apps.
An app is a wonderful choice because it can be monetized in a number of ways and it can result in passive income generation month after month.
To make money as a college student through app development, you’ll once again need to do your research.
If you have an idea, check the app store to find out whether someone has already created a similar app. When an established competitor already exists, you’ll need to fine-tune your concept and offer something different.
It’s also important to find out whether the market has a particular need for an app similar to the one you intend to create. An idea that’s too niche will appeal to a very small group of people and it will have a limited monetization potential.
Finally, you’ll have to decide how to monetize. Will it be a paid app? Will you offer in-app purchases? Will your app be free but featuring ads?
For a first-time app creator, starting with a free development that has in-app purchases or featured ads is a better choice. People will get to download the app, decide if they like it and eventually pay for a premium version in the event of being satisfied with what the free one has to offer.
6. Become a Social Media Manager
This is a great choice for marketing and digital communication students.
Are you wondering how to make money as a college student online through social media management? The answer is simple – you can look for clients online via freelancing platforms and accept responsibility for their social media presence.
Social media managers can work from any location. In addition, posts can be scheduled in advance so that you don’t have to deal with the task on a daily basis. Social media marketers and managers can earn anywhere between 14.8 and 17.5 dollars per hour.
Depending on the number of hours you work, you can score a pretty decent wage this way while you’re still in college.
You can discover social media management gigs on professional social media like LinkedIn and on platforms like Upwork.
7. Get Paid to Test Websites and Apps
Many companies enable college students to make money as app and website testers.
App and website testers examine new developments for bugs and functionality issues. Thus, anyone who is web-savvy can do the job. It allows for a lot of flexibility – it’s up to you to decide how many gigs you want to do on a weekly or monthly basis.
8. Work as a Graphic Designer, Proofreader, Virtual Assistant
Depending on your major and your interests, you can discover various ways to make money as a college student online.
If you go through Upwork or other freelance websites like Guru or People per Hour, you will discover various projects and gigs. Some clients are looking for entry-level professionals and will be willing to hire you for the job, even if you don’t have an awful lot of experience.
These gigs are beneficial in two ways.
For a start, you will get to generate some much-needed cash. In addition, you will also build your professional portfolio for the eventual launch of a solid freelance career upon graduation.
9. Sell Items You Don’t Need
If you have items that you no longer need, you can use them to earn some extra money.
Practically anything can be sold on websites like eBay. Clothes, accessories, electronics, books, collections, tech, even furniture and cars can find a new owner.
Websites like Decluttr are another good choice.
Decluttr works in a very simple and efficient way, which makes it great for the people in need of an instant cash injection.
The platform can be used to sell old books, CDs, DVDs, phones and other types of tech. They accept many brands, just check the terms and conditions to find out a bit more about what you could sell.
You get a free instant valuation of the item you intend to sell. The item is shipped to Decluttr free of charge. If the condition is good enough, you’ll get paid the amount that was quoted originally. The payment happens on the next day and it occurs via PayPal, direct deposit or a check.
To get started with Decluttr, you’ll simply need to sign up with a seller account.
10. Sell Your Photos and Drawings Online
If you’re wondering how to make money as a college student online and you’re keen on photography, you can monetize your passion.
Stock photo platforms accept new contributors all the time. You will get paid each time someone downloads your photos, art or vector work.
There are many platforms you can check out for the purpose. The terms and commission vary from one website to another.
11. Become a YouTuber
As a young person who’s tech-savvy and familiar with what’s hot on YouTube, you can attempt to launch and monetize your own channel.
YouTube content creators monetize their online presence through ads displayed on their videos. Thus, you need to build a niche channel that has a large number of subscribers and visits. The more your videos are viewed, the more money you’re going to make.
Like in the case of blogging, the niche you choose will be determining for the monetization potential of the endeavor. Make sure you have something original and specific to offer. You should also work to create content that other YouTubers don’t feature on their channels.
Apart from launching a YouTube channel, you can also set up a Patreon account for exclusive content. There, you will get supporters paying to view a specific video or signing up to offer financial support on a monthly basis.
12. Sell Your Crafts on Etsy
If you like to make jewelry, knit, create your own clothes or specific types of artwork, you can start your own Etsy shop while still in college.
The beauty of Etsy is that you don’t need to set up your own online store in order to make money. You set your prices, you benefit from secure transactions and various other tools available at your disposal.
Etsy does charge fees but you benefit from transparency right from the start. There’s a 0.20 USD listing fee, a five percent transaction fee and a payment processing fee. Thus, you can calculate the price of the items you sell to account for these and to generate sufficient revenue.
To make the most of your Etsy store, it’s a good idea to build your social media marketing presence in order to do some cost-efficient and targeted marketing.
13. Write Ebooks
College students who major in literature or creative writing can make money online by writing and selling ebooks.
Ebook writing allows for a lot of flexibility and once you build a larger portfolio of books, you’ll start seeing returns. This is another form of passive income generation that will continue making you money long after the book is done and uploaded.
For distribution, I suggest using Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) and Draft2Digital.
I use both of those and while Draft2Digital does charge you for distribution and management, you get access to a wide array of online stores like Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Apple Books, Scribd, Playster, OverDrive, Bibliotheca and others.
14. Bonus Tip: Benefit from Discount and Cashback Apps
There are also indirect ways to make money as a college student by getting cashback on the purchases you make, coupons and special deals.
Ebates features a large list of cashback deals. This makes sense for essentials you need to purchase. You’ll be getting the items that you do need and you’ll also be receiving some cash back.
The Ebates partner network is extensive and each retailer offers a great cashback percentage. Currently, Ebates features offers like three percent in-store cashback for Bed, Bath & Beyond, five percent cashback in Walmart, 15 percent Dell cashback, up to 30 percent cashback on Clarins products, and six percent GAP cashback. Special limited time discounts are also announced via the platform for additional savings.
Shopkick is another great app in the field.
You can earn reward points or free gift cards by doing shopping or scanning items in shops. Points can be earned both in-store and online, depending on your shopping and product browsing preferences. The retailer network of Shopkick is extensive, giving you numerous opportunities to increase the balance in your account and receive rewards.
These are just some of the ways to make money as a college student online. You will come across dozens of other simple and profitable opportunities. Remember to exercise a bit of critical thinking when choosing such. It’s best to depend on yourself and to launch a web-based business rather than to join dubious programs. Residual income opportunities are also a good choice because they will result in long-term monetization.