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Most college students need a side income to cover all the expenses of tuition and living away from home.
Unfortunately, many traditional part-time jobs tend to be far more time-demanding and less flexible than a college schedule can allow. However, there are lots of opportunities for online jobs that can allow you to earn some extra cash without compromising your grades. Whether you’re looking for a little spending more or an extra $1,000 per month, there are plenty of possibilities.
Here we’ll explore 15 of the best options that may be just what you’ve been looking for.
→ Related reading: 30+ of the Best Weekend Jobs
Online Jobs for College Students
1. Social Media Manager
Most of us spend our free time on social media, so why not get paid at the same time? Most modern businesses use social media for marketing and brand purposes, but in-house management can be costly, and employee time is often better utilized elsewhere. This is where an independently contracted social media manager can step in.
A social media manager can help to build business brand awareness by building relationships with potential clients or customers, curating content, and encouraging new leads. You will act as the online voice for the company.
You can get started working as a social media manager by approaching a local business you are interested in and telling them about your services. Start with businesses you already use such as coffee shops, restaurants, and yoga studios. Concentrate your efforts on the social media platforms that you feel most comfortable with and highlight how it can be used to grow a business and reach new customers.
2. Freelance Writer
This can seem a little intimidating, but you really don’t need to worry about your credentials for getting started. With a desire to write and good grammar, you can create a freelance writing career.
Freelance writing is not only lucrative, but it is also flexible and can easily work around your college schedule. It can even add an interesting line or two to your resume. There are a number of platforms that can connect you with writing clients, and once you have a portfolio of work, you can start to pick up higher-paying clients. You may even be able to add “Published in the New York Times” to your resume, which will look fantastic if you want to apply for programs or post-grad studies.
To learn more, please read How to Become a Freelance Writer.
College is the ideal time to start a blog. You can gain a creative outlet and make some money. The key to success for making money as a blogger is providing content of value to readers. No one is particularly interested in your last family vacation, but tips and tricks for traveling or things you should know before you travel to a specific country is helpful and engaging.
Before you start a blog, you need to think of a topic that you would enjoy writing about. Try to be specific as you will be able to speak to a target audience rather than just being a single voice whispering in a crowd. When considering topics, write down a minimum of 20 ideas for blog posts to check that you will be able to consistently produce great content. Get started writing your first half dozen posts to test whether you enjoy writing them.
When you are ready to start a blog, you will need to choose a website host provider. This will bring a small cost, but there are some basic plans (like those offered by Bluehost) that allow you to host one or more sites for a minimal amount of money. Although it can take time to start to see the results of your blog, consistent posting will pay off in the long run.
For more, please read How to Start a Blog.
4. Virtual Assistant
Virtual assistant duties range from customer service and data entry to email marketing and copywriting. The amount you can earn as a virtual assistant will depend on your experience and skillset. If you specialize in certain skills such as email marketing or copywriting you can command a premium rate.
Generally, businesses will hire a virtual assistant to outsource any tasks that cannot or need not be done in-house. In many cases, these tasks are not cost-efficient, and by handing them over to a virtual assistant, their team can focus on more core business.
For example, a cafe may make great food, and the team needs to serve customers and keep the kitchen and dining areas clean. However, they may not be great at social media marketing and management. A virtual assistant can not only provide expertise in this area, but they can avoid paying employee taxes.
o start work as a virtual assistant, you will need to think about what services you’re able to offer. Then choose platforms to create profiles and attract clients. There is also plenty of virtual assistant training available if you need some help getting started.
To learn more, please read How to Become a Virtual Assistant.
If you're interested in making money from home, be sure to check out this free workshop from Kayla Sloan. She shows how to use the skills you already have to start making money as a VA.
5. Graphic Designer
You don’t need to be a graphic design major to make money as a graphic designer. You just need an eye for detail and the right tools. Small businesses need great graphics for everything from logos and business cards to social media images.
If you don’t feel confident in your graphic design skills, but want to branch out into being a graphic designer, sign up for free courses on Skillshare. Once you’ve got a grasp on the basics, you can progress to more detailed courses.
When you have the skills you need, start reaching out to small businesses in your local area. Discuss the services you can offer such as flyer design, branding, and business cards and how this can increase brand awareness. You can also approach your favorite bloggers who may need graphics for Pinterest pin creation and images for other social media platforms.
Teaching online has allowed many people to quit their unfulfilling full-time jobs and work flexible hours from home. This makes it an ideal option for college students who need the flexibility to manage their class schedule and earning potential.
The most attractive part of tutoring is that you can reinforce what you have already learned. So, consider tutoring the subjects in your major, and you’ll be getting paid to study. However, if you need to step away from your class workload, you’re not restricted to academic subjects. There are other areas of expertise that you can be used for your tutoring, such as sports or an instrument.
There are lots of places to offer tutoring services online, but look for a platform that allows you to set your rate and meets your particular circumstances. For example, VIPKID only allows graduate students, since you need to hold a bachelor’s degree.
To learn more, please read this article about the best online tutoring jobs.
If you find yourself spotting spelling and grammar mistakes when you’re reading social media posts or articles, then you’re perfect for being a proofreader. This is one of the best online job opportunities for college students, since you are already using your proofreading skills constantly.
Bear in mind that proofreading and editing are two very different roles. While editing involves deleting, adding, and restructuring content, proofreading is simply checking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation errors. This is the final stage before content is published. So, if you’re forever thinking that it is “your” not “you’re” or “its” not “it’s,” then proofreading could provide a great side gig around your class schedule.
You can start getting proofreading jobs by setting up an online freelancer profile and earning almost immediately.
To learn how to start a successful proofreading business, please see Proofread Anywhere.
8. Blog Editor
As we’ve touched on above, editing can also provide a great income stream for college students. You will need to be a confident writer and have strong grammar skills. You will be expected to correct any issues by deleting and adding content and even restructuring the article. However, most blogs tend to prefer a conversational style, which is easier to edit than more academic content, such as white papers.
A good editor has a feel for the flow of an article and can appreciate the format of beginning, middle, and end to create informative and interesting content. You’re likely to have read online articles that seem to spend most of the article rambling on about something insignificant before rushing through the point they were supposed to be discussing. These articles highlight the need for an editor.
There are lots of freelancing platforms that provide opportunities for editors, so you can quickly get started by creating a profile and bidding for projects.
9. Search Engine Evaluator
While Google may appear to be all-knowing, the technology of the major search engines isn’t always totally perfect. For this reason, the search engines rely on feedback from real people to ensure the usefulness and relevance of the results. This role is ideal for a college student, as it usually requires between 10 and 30 hours a week, which can be worked around a busy schedule.
You will need to have access to a high-speed internet connection, anti-virus software, a basic knowledge of how the search engine works and be over the age of 18. However, the biggest barrier to entry is usually an exam or series of skills tests. Most of the search engines require applicants to complete tests that are related to the search engine evaluations. However, if you are driven, you should be able to quickly pass the tests and start applying for projects.
To learn more, please see our list of the best search engine evaluator jobs.
10. Website Tester
Most businesses strive to provide a great user experience for their website visitors. A website that isn’t easy to navigate and lacks an attractive design can easily have visitors click away, so their marketing dollars have been wasted. This is where a website tester can help.
Website testing involves evaluating websites to find any mistakes and check usability. You will be checking for how easy the site is to navigate, how appealing the design is, and whether the software, app, or website is user-friendly. This will help the company to fix any errors before the website is launched to the public.
There are a number of companies such as UserTesting and Userfeel that pay for website testers. You don’t need to be a tech genius, just an average user. You need to have a basic understanding of how a website works and be able to speak fluent English to understand all the text.
Most website testing platforms require answering a questionnaire to confirm your skills, and you may need to download some software, but you will be paid per test, which can add up to some serious part-time earnings.
To learn more, please read How to Get Paid to Test Websites.
Being a transcriptionist is a great way to make money online with flexible hours and a good rate of pay. You will need to like working alone and have good self-discipline, so it is well suited to people who enjoy working quietly alone.
Many transcription companies suggest a minimum typing speed of 70 words per minute, but there are others that have lower requirements. Remember that your typing skills will improve with repetition and practice. However, quality transcripts require more than being able to type. You need to have great grammar and punctuation skills, and be comfortable with the word processing software.
There is a great deal of variance in the pay you can expect, depending on the turnaround time, audio quality, and number of speakers. Additionally, certain industries require more specialist transcription services. However, as a newbie, you can expect to earn approximately $15 an hour with the best transcription jobs, with the rate increasing as you become faster and more accurate.
To learn more, please read How to Become a Transcriptionist.
12. Web Designer/ Developer
Being a web developer is a great side business for college students. If you’ve learned to code, you can quickly build up an impressive income stream. New web developers can start with smaller projects, such as editing an existing site, but you can branch out into building new websites.
You need to be familiar with the most popular coding languages, and you can start bidding on projects on freelance sites. Remember that there is always a demand for a great web designer or developer.
To learn more, please read How to Make Money as a Web Designer.
13. Survey Taker or Tasker
While surveys are not the most interesting of side gigs, they are the simplest and most flexible. Survey sites collect data that companies can use to improve products. This increases their profits, so they are eager for ordinary people to give their opinion. With just a few minutes a day, you can establish a decent side income.
Survey taking also pairs well with being a tasker. This is another online opportunity that allows you to complete small tasks quickly. While the pay doesn’t appear impressive, when you figure that you can earn a dollar or two here and there for just a couple of minutes work, it actually adds up to a decent part-time income. The best thing is that the tasks tend to be so small that if you find you have a paper due, you don’t need to worry about planning time for a large project, you can simply work for five minutes at a time.
To learn more, please read 11 of the Best Websites for Paid Online Surveys.
If you’re great with figures, you could earn a nice income as a part-time bookkeeper. You don’t need to have finished your college education and offers excellent income potential. Bookkeepers don’t have education or certification requirements; in many cases, you only need to have a high school diploma. However, some companies do have specific requirements, such as relevant work experience. Freelance bookkeepers can work from home independently, and you can find clients by setting up a website or bidding for work on freelance sites and job boards.
To learn more, please read How to Become a Bookkeeper.
15. eBay Seller
You’re likely to have used eBay to sell unwanted items or even buy a bargain or two, but you may not have considered becoming an eBay seller as a part-time role. However, it is actually a great way to make some extra money without impacting your college workload.
There are some different approaches you can take to become an eBay seller. You can be a general seller or specialize. General sellers sell just about anything, while specialists focus on a particular niche to brand themselves as a business.
eBay allows you to sell practically anything, but there are some exceptions. It is a good idea to focus on smaller items that can be sold at an attractive price point and generate a decent revenue, but you will need to spend some time sourcing items to sell. These items can be found at yard sales, thrift stores, and flea markets. However, you can also find items on craigslist; there are people giving boxes of things away as they don’t have the time or inclination to list them on eBay (please see 40+ of the Easiest Things to Flip for Profit).
You will need to have an initial investment to buy some stock and plan for where you will keep your inventory as you wait for them to sell. In a dorm room, you may find that you need to stick to small items, but you may be surprised at what you can sell. So, if you have a passion for collectibles, you can put this knowledge to good use and make some serious cash.
To learn more, please read How to Sell on eBay for Beginners.
Managing a class schedule and active social life along with a part-time job can be a challenge for most college students, but this doesn’t mean that you can’t earn some serious cash. With these online job opportunities, you can enjoy flexible hours and great earning potential without needing to compromise on your class schedule. So, think about your skills and interests, and you may be surprised at how you can transform these into a great part-time income.