How to earn money as a student (while studying in college)

How can you earn money as a student, even while studying in college?

Earn money as a student by finding part time work or easy side hustles that don’t require a lot of time commitment. Examples of part-time work include bartending, pizza delivery, or working for the college. Side businesses can be as easy as cashing in recyclables, freelancing, donating plasma, or starting a t-shirt business.

Imagine, earning enough money to pay for college so you can leave debt free. Some college students have even turned their side hustles into their full-time job after graduating.

Being a student can actually work to your advantage when it comes to making money.

Luckily for you, I’m going to show you some of the best part time jobs as a college student. I will even show you some of the best side hustles if you’re feeling adventurous. With enough dedication, you can make a good amount of money as a student.

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How to earn money as a student in college?

As a college student, the best way to earn money is to find a job or side hustle that doesn’t require a lot of time. Ideally, your part-time job has the ability to earn tips to increase your income. Alternatively, some side hustles can be done in your free time so as to not interfere with your class schedule.

The majority of college students will want to find part-time work. Part time work provides a reliable means of making money to support yourself in college.

However, College can also be one of the best times to start a side hustle. College can be a hectic time, but some people have too much time on their hands. Using your time wisely by starting a side hustle can turn into a full-time income before you even graduate.

At the end of the day, you need to determine the best course of making money for your situation.

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Find Part-Time Work

Finding part-time work is the most common way college students make money. Ideally, you are choosing a part-time job that allows you to earn tips. Some of the best part time jobs for college students include bartending, pizza delivery, working for the college, and being a server.

Bartending is probably one of the best jobs you can do as a college student. You can make a lot of tip money should you be willing to give up your Fridays and Saturday nights.The main benefit of tips is they can make up a good portion of your income in addition to base salary.

Right behind bartending, pizza delivery and being a server are the next best jobs for college students. Both positions can make good money when it comes to tips. 

However, you shouldn’t rule out other potential work because the job doesn’t pay tips. Other choices, like internships or working for the college, can be beneficial as well.

Working for your college or finding an internship can make you a more desirable candidate upon graduation. Employers love to find college work or internships on your resume and are seen as more real-world experience type work. 

Cash in Recyclables

As a college student, I’m sure you’ll be able to find plenty of recyclable cans around. Some states are willing to pay your money if you recycle your cans. Therefore, you can make a lot of money by collecting these cans and turning them into your nearest recyclery.

When I was in college, there was a guy that made a living on recycling cans. Every Saturday and Sunday morning he would make the rounds to every dumpster and collect cans.

Every time he saw a college student with cans, he would ask them to place the cans next to the dumpster. The guy only had to work two days a week but was able to support himself. 

Start a T-Shirt Business

College students are always throwing events or parties. Most of these events require t-shirts to be made, which is where you come in.

Don’t have the equipment to make t-shirts? No worries! There are plenty of online stores where you upload the shirt design and they will print it for you.

Once you’ve decided on a method of making t-shirts, it’s time to get business. The best place to start is with fraternities and sororities.

Both fraternities and sororities are constantly throwing events. You can even get more business if you can print their house letters on different items. Examples of products you can sell include water bottles, bags, phone cases, sweatshirts, and more.

Search Craigslist for odd jobs

Craigslist is always a good place to find work on demand. Odd jobs allow you to find work that fits into your schedule. Odd jobs are always random, so you never know what you’ll find!


Freelancing is one of the best side gigs for college students. You can freelance on your own time and freelancing has the potential for a full-time income. In most cases, you can get started freelancing with a laptop and an internet connection.

As a freelancer, you have the ability to negotiate turnaround time for projects. You can negotiate a turnaround time of a week if that fits into your schedule. Most clients understand freelancers have a life outside of freelancing and can be flexible on deliverables.

The best part about freelancing is the potential for building a full-time income. You can make just as much money, if not more, freelancing as you would in a 9-5 job.

For example, let’s assume you want to make $50k per year as a freelance writer working 5 days per week. At $0.10 per word, you would have to write 500k words in a year or 1,923 words per day.

Writing 2,000 words per day is very feasible. You just need to find enough clients to keep you busy. By the time you graduate college, you might not have to find employment!


Tutoring is another job you can do in college, but it won’t provide a substantial income. Your income is limited to the number of students you can tutor. Most tutors meet with students once per week.

For example, you might meet weekly with four students as a group tutoring session. Each student is paying $30 per tutoring session, so you’re making $120 per week.

Sell Plasma

Selling plasma is an easy way to make $300 per month as a student. Simply show up to the plasma donation center, watch a movie, and get paid for donating plasma. In most cases, you’ll get paid on a prepaid visa card.

Drive for Uber or Lyft

You can make money with your car by driving for Uber or Lyft. Depending on your campus size, you could make a lot of money on Friday or Saturday nights. One Uber driver reportedly makes $19 per hour.

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Summary: How to earn money as a student in college

As you can see, there are many ways to earn money as a student in college. You can either find a part-time job or start a side-hustle. Part-time jobs are good for immediate cash, but side-hustles can grow to a full-time income.

Different ways to make money include finding part-time work, recycling cans, selling t-shirts, odd jobs, freelancing, tutoring, selling plasma, and driving for rideshare.


John is the founder of TightFist Finance and an expert in the field of personal finance. John has studied personal finance for over 10 years and has used his knowledge to pay down debt, grow his investment portfolio, and launch a financial based business. He is committed to sharing content related to personal finance based on his experience in his career, investing, and path towards reaching financial independence.