How to Make Money at College Without a Job (17 Best Options)

by Erin Schollaert

Updated

Money is the key to a lot of experiences in college that you can’t get anywhere else!

From fun pizza parties with your dorm roommate to getting to travel with your language immersion class: students must know how to make money at college without a job.

Over 80% of college students are already overwhelmed, and working a 9-5 isn’t in the cards. However, these are the top ways to make money at college without a job, so you still have money to spend.

17. Sell Plasma

Average Monthly Income: $400 (Clark.com)

Selling plasma is one of the most common ways to try and earn some extra money.

It only takes a couple of hours a week, and in return, you can make around $400 a month! This type of donation filters the plasma out of your blood to go to the life-saving treatment of others.

Then, the remaining blood and saline are returned to your body, and you get paid.

If you need to move out with no money, this can be a quick way to get some cash.

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The best way to get more money out of this source of income is to refer other people!

Many awesome plasma clinics have perks for those that have other people come in to sell, meaning you can make far more a month.

16. Sell Your Study Materials

reselling-books

Average Monthly Income: $400 (Scribbr)

Have you ever been told that you were incredible at taking notes? Are your journals and notebooks well organized and easy to follow?

If so, consider selling your summaries and notes to help other students! Study materials are some of the best items to sell online.

You’ll have to digitize these, so they’re easier for customers to consume, but this is a fantastic way to make some money while getting to pay more attention while you’re studying.

To connect with buyers, you can advertise locally to help students directly in your classes or school.

There are dozens of sites like Stuvia or Classful that offer the chance to sell these study materials anywhere there are customers.

15. Sell Designs on T-Shirts and Prints

ways-to-sell-shirts-trends

Average Monthly Income: $464 (LymanCreativeGroup)

If you have a keen eye for design or can easily think of some fun catchphrases and words that people would want on things they own: this could be a great source of income for you.

Starting your printing press can cost thousands and isn’t a great option for most, but you can sell t-shirts and prints through sites that are ‘made on demand’ styled!

Sites like Redbubble, StoreEnvy, and a few others give you the chance to design unique pieces and then upload them so that they can be sold on everything from canvas prints to leggings.

It’s vital that you only sell shirts online that are original ideas so that you don’t have to fear getting sued, but once you decide on your niche, it’s far easier to make an income.

14. Edit or Proofread Others’ Work

Average Monthly Income: $500 (MoneyTamer)

In some classes, poor grammar can cost you entire letter grades.

Naturally, this terrifies students, and many are desperate for a good proofreader who knows how to edit a paper thoroughly.

Although this role will vary throughout the year, with the end of each semester being the heaviest work period, this isn’t a gig you’ll have trouble finding work with.

When editing, it’s a good idea to pass the papers through software that can check for plagiarism so that students who don’t cite correctly will be alerted of the risk they’re taking.

13. Write and Publish eBooks

Average Monthly Income: $833 (Wise Bread)

You don’t have to pay anything upfront to publish your books and sell them through sites like Amazon Kindle!

Of course, you’ll have to pay a fee for each sale, but getting to post them for free makes this a fantastic option for students who don’t have a ton of disposable income.

Your genre doesn’t matter: what matters is that you find a niche in it that makes you stand out. For instance, if you decide to go with cookbooks, try to think of what would make you stand out most of all.

Do you want to sell cookbooks based on West African food you grew up eating? Or would you rather sell how-tos on the correct form and style to cut food?

Creating a niche within a genre helps generate more sales because it gives customers something specific instead of general.

12. Flip Items From Secondhand Shops

Average Monthly Income: $1,500 (Fitnancials)

If you’ve been on Instagram or Tiktok in the last couple of years, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen at least one Poshmark haul.

A popular trend for many college students is to buy items at second-hand stores and flea markets and flip them to resell as vintage.

shipping-books

Sometimes these items need cleaning and repairs, but often you can sell the items as-is.

This gig requires good knowledge of current trends and brands, and you can sell better if you create a unique vibe for your shop so that people know what to expect.

11. Take Up Knife Sharpening

Average Monthly Income: $2,000 (ChefsVisionKnives)

Since the 2020 quarantine, 71% of people have said they’ll stick to cooking from home more often than they did before.

This means there’s a great market out there for anyone who wants to sell their skills as a knife sharpener.

You can buy a kit for professional knife sharpening for less than fifty dollars and spend a couple of days practicing and perfecting the tools.

Although many change their prices by the knife, the average knife block is charged at around $50 to sharpen the entire thing. If you work ten hours in a weekend, you can easily score $2,000 in a month.

10. Become a Brand Ambassador

ulta

Average Monthly Income: $2,078 (Comparably)

Being a brand ambassador sounds like far more pressure than it is.

Many companies want to sell to college students and need someone to make their products seem cool.

You have to be good at talking to other people; you must be personable, have a good sense of humor, and have little to no social anxiety.

There are tons of these jobs, especially if your college is a larger one, or you live in a town that’s labeled as a ‘college town.’

9. Walk People’s Pets

Average Monthly Income: $2,493 (ZipRecruiter)

If you’re more interested in the classics: being a pet walker is always an awesome way to make some money.

As a pet walker, you get to meet lots of cute animals, get some physical activity in, and avoid having to spend time around customers.

You can work through a pet sitting service or work directly with customers, depending on how trustworthy you think your local clients are.

8. Take Up Driving Gigs

look-vehicle-over

Average Monthly Income: $2,604 (GoBankingRates)

There are dozens of driving gig services, from UberEats to Favor, and of course Postmates: so there’s no end to the number of jobs available to you if you have a car that’s in good condition.

There are a lot delivery apps out there now, so make sure you are driving for the best food delivery services, so you make top dollar.

In addition, becoming a gig driver means that you can clock in when you want to and work as long as you want to, without having to stick to the same rules of a 9 to 5 job.

7. Tutor Other Students

Average Monthly Income: $2,616 (Zippia)

Student tutoring, whether you’re helping other students in your school or tutoring high schoolers or younger: is a great way to make money.

Not only does this give you a good source of income, but it also gives you the chance to review the information and continue to memorize and sharpen your skills at it.

There are multiple online-only tutoring companies where you can help students worldwide, but some of these require schedules, so it might not work for all college students.

6. Become a Mobile Notary

Average Monthly Income: $2,893 (ZipRecruiter)

It costs less than a hundred dollars on average to become a notary, and you need to be able to complete training and an exam.

The turnaround until you’ll be able to make money from it is usually four to nine weeks depending on your state’s laws.

Notaries help people officiate paperwork and ensure that everything they do is legally binding.

Being a traveling notary means you’ll go to your customers, which is an awesome way to get out and see your city a little better.

The best part about this role is that you can set your own office hours, and decide when you want to work.

So if you have to take a week off to focus on exams, you can, and there won’t be any consequences. It’s a fantastic gig to take on for a student of any course load.

5. Sell Stock Photos

Average Monthly Income: $3,082 (ZipRecruiter)

Phone cameras are becoming increasingly impressive, which makes now the best time to consider getting into work as a stock photographer!

Working with stock photography, you’ll take pictures of items, people, or scenarios and list them for licensing.

Artists, companies, and schools can then pay to use these images, which you don’t even have to deliver on your own since they can be delivered digitally automatically.

There are countless images online, so you must be able to set your pictures apart!

This could mean using a unique color scheme, including interesting items in your shots, or making unique scenarios for the people in your images.

4. Monetize A Craft

art-stickers-online

Average Monthly Income: $3,331 (Talent.com)

Do you have any secret crafts or skills? Are you exceptionally good at growing plants? Do you love making your own candles?

Although most students don’t have the time to make their own small business, if you get to make money while enjoying your craft, you’ll be able to make a lot of products without burnout.

Ensure that anything you make or sell is well done, and is safe for whoever is using it. If you’re not sure, research!

Many forget to research, and it can land you serious medical issues. This is most obvious in resin arts, but many crafting hobbies can be dangerous if not well-approached.

3. Become a Professional Organizer

Average Monthly Income: $3,933 (Salary.com)

Becoming a professional organizer allows you to help people rid their lives of clutter.

This could mean creating an organizational layout for a closet or breaking down a home office and building it into a truly productive space.

Your customer base can range from students who need more than their dorm room offers to empty nesters deciding what to do with all of their extra room.

The great thing about this job is that it’s most commonly done on weekends, which means you can devote your weekdays to class.

2. Be A Social Media Manager

twitter-profile-trends

Average Monthly Income: $4,208 (Money.com)

All companies need a social media manager in modern times.

Not only is this role vital for customer relations, but it also helps build brand recognition and gives the company a personality.

Contact local companies, or even your college itself, and ask if they want to grow their influence online.

Ensure that you have at least one social media account with over 20,000 followers before you attempt this so that they can trust that you know how to grow an audience.

1. Life Coach Other Students

Average Monthly Income: $4,753 (NaturalHealers)

This role may sound simple, but it takes a lot of responsibility, people skills, and organizational skills to pull it off.

Many college students admit to being unsure about where their future lies and don’t know how to take the next steps forward.

As a life coach to other students, you can help them work through their destructive behaviors and create healthy ones in their wake.

This could mean teaching students how to develop unique study routines, helping them fix their sleep schedule, or helping them tackle weight loss over a semester.

Of course, you must make sure you’re educated in what you’re helping other people with: so don’t be afraid to study and research if you’re stumped.

Wrapping Up

How people view jobs and careers is changing rapidly!

Gone are the days when you needed a full-time job to be able to support yourself: instead, make money in a way that fits your college schedule and lifestyle.

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About the Author

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Erin is a business teacher and mother of three. When she’s not in the classroom or fulfilling her obligations as an A+ hockey and lacrosse mom, she’s working on her latest article.