Side Hustles For College Students To Pay Student Loans – Forbes
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Published: Sep 22, 2021, 5:37am
When you’re in college, it can be difficult to keep up with your student loan debt, especially if you have little time outside of classes to generate income.
But starting the student loan repayment process early is one of the best ways to make your life a little easier after graduation. The sooner you pay off your student loans, the sooner you’ll be able to focus on other financial goals, such as buying a home or starting a business.
Even if you don’t have much time outside of classes and studying, there are side jobs and hustles you can take on to earn more and pay off your loans faster. Here’s a list of some of the top gigs for college students, from remote work to in-person opportunities.
If you prefer to work from home or wherever your location might be, there are many remote jobs available, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic caused many companies to go fully remote. Here are just a few at-home jobs to consider.
Website testing is a fairly simple but popular way for college students to make some extra cash. Sites like UserTesting pay $4 for a five-minute test, $10 for a 20-minute test, and between $30 and $120 for a live interview. All you need is a laptop or desktop computer with a webcam and microphone.
Payments are made seven days after the test is complete, and users are paid via PayPal.
If you’re creative, consider making digital designs and uploading them to print-on-demand sites such as RedBubble, Society6 and CafePress. All you have to do is create the design and choose the items you want to print the design on. Common options include travel mugs, T-shirts or phone cases.
Every time someone buys an item with your design, you get a percentage of the sales. You’ll have to market your store to find customers, but you can create multiple designs and work on your own schedule. Plus, you can use the designs as part of your portfolio to land a graphic design internship.
Freelance writing, graphic design and web development are all great options for those interested in a side hustle that they can do anywhere. Sites like Fiverr and Upwork are good resources to get started, but you can also ask your professors if they have any suggestions or know of anyone looking for a freelancer.
There are now more legit ways to sell your class notes on sites like Nexus Notes and StudySoup to make extra money. Some college disability services departments will also pay students directly for their notes. Contact your college to see if this is an option.
If you’re the kind of person who likes getting out and meeting people, then working on-site at a job might be the better option. Here are six in-person side gigs to consider.
College psychology departments often run research studies requiring hundreds or even thousands of respondents, and they usually pay college students to participate—often between $10 and $20 an hour.
To find these gigs, visit your psychology department’s website and see if they list any opportunities. If you don’t find anything, contact the department directly and ask where you need to go. Some universities may only post about these studies on a physical bulletin board that you’ll have to visit regularly to find new gigs.
If you love teaching or have knowledge in a specific subject, being a tutor could be a great side hustle. Platforms like Chegg, Rosetta Stone and Varsity Tutors let you sign up to tutor students remotely. You can also promote your tutoring services online and ask for referrals to avoid paying platform fees.
Don’t forget about tutoring high school students whose parents are willing to pay for higher grades and test scores. If you’re a Spanish major, you can tutor high school Spanish students. If you received a high score on the SATs, you could tutor students for that exam.
If you have extra items or furniture laying around, selling them online on sites such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, OfferUp and eBay are a good way to make some extra cash. Maybe your family has items they don’t use but they also don’t have time to post it online? Take it off their hands and resell it.
At the end of each semester, you can also resell your textbooks to students on campus or at your on-campus bookstore.
To save money, ask friends to donate extra boxes and packaging so you don’t have to purchase those materials.
Sites like BestMark let you sign up for mystery shopping opportunities, where you can visit and review restaurants, stores, movie theaters and more. You’ll sign up for a mystery shopping job, then provide notes, pictures or a video review of your experience.
If you love taking care of kids, babysitting can be a lucrative and consistent side hustle. Start by finding families you know in the area, like your professor’s kids. Sign up for a site like Care.com, where families can book you directly. If you have experience in a particular subject, offer to tutor kids while you’re babysitting.
Dog walking and pet sitting are great options for college students because you can book jobs to your preferred schedule and have fun doing it, if you like pets.
Promote yourself on your social media and tell any pet owners you know that you’re available to pet sit. Find your local neighborhood Facebook or NextDoor group and advertise your services.
You can also create a profile on Rover.com and WagWalking.com. Charge lower prices when you first start out, then gradually increase your rates as you get more reviews and recurring clients.
Earning extra income through side hustles can reduce how much you need to borrow in student loans. Every dollar you don’t need to borrow is a dollar you don’t have to pay interest on.
If you have enough money to cover living expenses, you could even start making student loan payments while you’re still in school. Contact your loan servicer and ask how to start doing this.
If you have a side hustle, you can use the proceeds to pay for expenses such as studying abroad, buying a car or anything else you might enjoy doing but couldn’t afford before. If you want to backpack through Europe after graduation, starting a side hustle can cover the airfare, hostels and meals.
The best side hustle is one that will pay off both now and in the future. Try to find a gig where you can build skills relevant to your future job. For example, if you want to be a web developer, offer website building services.
Whatever you choose to take on as a side gig, this is a chance for you to look far and wide for many different opportunities before you graduate and get locked down into a particular career.
Ask professors if they’ve heard of any campus gigs or fellow students if they need help with something for cash. Seek out one-time instant jobs on sites like TaskRabbit where you can get paid for any need, such as installing a TV or being a virtual assistant. There are many online sites, including LinkedIn, Indeed and Facebook Marketplace, that will post side jobs you can pick up as well.
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Zina Kumok is a freelance personal finance writer based in Indianapolis. She paid off her own student loans in three years. She also offers one-on-one financial coaching sessions at ConsciousCoins.com.
Rachel Witkowski is an assigning editor of mortgages and loans for Forbes Advisor US. Rachel, located in Washington, DC, has more than a decade of experience covering financial news at outlets including American Banker, The Wall Street Journal and Bankrate. She has won several national and state awards for uncovering employee discrimination at a government agency, and how the 2008 financial crisis impacted Florida banking and immigration.