College students in 2021 have become experts in the art of juggling expectations. We’re told to get good grades while hosting the best parties, discover our passions as long as they fit neatly onto a resume, and join every club under the sun while having a job. It’s nearly impossible — and I promise, I’ve tried. But the need to make money isn’t going away, and neither is homework, extracurriculars, social events, and, you know, the impending doom of finding a job after graduation. So what college students need right now are the quickest, easiest, and most honest ways to make money in college (don’t lie, you’ve thought about selling feet pictures, too. But let’s not go there. It hasn’t come to that.)
Making money as a college student has also totally transformed since our world was hit by a pandemic. Many colleges didn’t allow students to return during the fall 2020 semester and held strictly remote classes, causing some students to move home, lose on-campus jobs, and seek remote work. Young people were hit especially hard by the pandemic, with 1 in 10 16-to-25-year-olds losing their jobs since the pandemic began, making them twice as likely to use their jobs in comparison to older adults, according to research from the London School of Economics Centre for Economic Performance (CEP). This leaves students back on the job hunt, looking for any opportunities they can do remotely, in-person, or in their hometown.
Every student’s financial situation is different. For some, they’re relying on paying their own way through college, while others are receiving financial support scholarships, family, or some combination of the two. But no matter what each student’s financial status is, they are all full time students. For those who have to work to support themselves, they still have to tackle the same load of homework, attend classes, while somehow taking care of their mental health. Given this, full-time jobs with inflexible hours aren’t always feasible. That’s why, for college students in 2021, it’s all about the side hustle.
Side hustles aren’t just smart, time-efficient ways to make money while in college, they’re also trending. According to a Jobvite Report as relayed by Forbes, 46% of workers surveyed in April of 2020 said they intended to pursue a side hustle — or a second job and stream of income that people often hold “on the side.” Now, whether you’re scrolling through TikTok or chatting with a friend about their summer plans, it seems like every college student has hopped on the side hustle train.
If you’re wondering how to make money as a college student, join Loop as we give you some simple, student-friendly options.
1: For The Animal Lover
If you’re away at school missing your furry best friend at home, try dog walking. Wag! is a service that allows you to sign up as a dog walker, communicate directly with owners who’d like to work with you, and pay you directly through the app. This allows you to squeeze in quick walks in between classes or make bigger bucks by house-sitting pets overnight.
2. For the Organization Obsessed People
Another easy way to make money from your dorm room bed? Work as a virtual assistant! This is a great option for college students because it will not allow you to exercise career-building skills — like working with others, communicating professionally, and staying organized — but it also leaves some room to choose clients and work that apply to your professional interests. That could mean working as a virtual medical assistant, assisting with social, or for a client whom you hope to network with.
3. For the Friend Who's Always Writing Everyone Else’s Instagram Captions
If you’re an English major, a member of your college newspaper, or even just someone who loves to write, freelance writing is a completely viable way to earn extra cash while in college. Hey, look! I’m doing it right now! I found most of my own gigs by making LinkedIn my very best friend and keeping a close eye on any content writing positions. For a more complete guide on how to start freelance writing, check this out.
If your love of Instagram is less focused on the captions and more focused on social media as a whole, you may want to try your hand at social media management. While this may sound like a larger role to take on, most Gen Zers already have acquired many of the important skills related to this role, simply by just having a good social media game. Additionally, this is a relatively easy job to do on your own time and allows you to work independently, not conflicting with your college schedule.
4. For the Person Who Always Wants to Go for a Drive
If you have a car with you at school, making bank has never been easier. All you need is a killer playlist (see: Ultimate Driving Playlist) and a profile with any popular driving or delivery platform, like Uber, Uber Eats, Postmastes, or DoorDash. Work for 30 minute increments or long hours on the weekends — whatever best fit you, your needs, and your schedule.
5. For The Homework Whiz
Are you the person who’s always helping out your friends with their homework? Do you like explaining concepts to others and working with kids? Tutoring could be the perfect side hustle for you. SideHusl outlines many different platforms for people looking to tutor, demonstrating the wide variety of tutors people are seeking, from math, to art and music, to tutors specifically to work with clients whose second language is English. My personal favorite is TutorMe, which pays $16 an hour and is specifically intended for college students.
6. For the Person Who Can Sell Their New Quarantine Hobby
For many college students who found themselves back in their childhood bedroom or any other quarantined location, we were all forced to create new hobbies. Although my new hobbies aren’t bound to be too lucrative (unless you want to learn how to do a headstand or reorganize your room 20 times), I've seen many peers learn how to crochet, knit, graphic design, and so much more.
Turn your new hobby into a side hustle by taking your talents to Etsy, a site that allows any creatives to sell their handmade products. Whether you’re candle savvy or can knit up a storm, opening an Etsy shop is a simple way to make money while in college.
7. For Anyone Who Has No Clue Where to Start
Start here. Unbound is a site specifically designed for helping college students find remote and paid internships. This company was founded with the knowledge that as remote work becomes more prevalent, the roles college students take on can evolve. There’s more opportunities, more variety, and more access to positions when you can magically Zoom into the office.
Our professional climate is changing — there’s no denying that. But one thing that hasn’t changed? College students have a lot on their plate, and the need to make money is one responsibility that can’t be sacrificed. When investigating the quick, simple ways to make money while in college, there’s something out there for everyone.