School is back in session and that has millions of college students grappling with an age-old question. How can they earn a few bucks for books, beer, and other necessities without messing up their grades or their social lives? Side hustles for college students deliver spending money while still offering the flexibility that a full class schedule requires. Some can even help college students earn better grades

What are the best side hustles for college students?

Taking class notes

A unique side hustle for college students involves taking good notes in class and making them available for sale.

Three sites — StudySoup, NexusNotes and Stuvia — offer attractive pay for uploading and selling class notes to other students at your university. Each has a somewhat different pay formula. But you usually get a bonus whenever someone signs up to get access to your notes, plus a payment for each set of notes that sell. Students say they can make $250 to $500 per class, per semester. And, since this job requires taking great class notes, you’re likely to do better in school.

Notably, too, most universities hire students for the same job through the school’s Disability Services department. Schools typically pay per class, while note-selling websites typically pay per study-guide or upload.

Tutor

Many younger students have fallen behind this past year as they struggled with distance learning. That opens an opportunity for those who have mastered a subject, from high school algebra to Spanish, to teach that subject to others. A number of tutoring platforms allow you to sign up and tutor online or in person. Some of the best: Wyzant, Varsity Tutors, and, for those who want to teach music, LessonFace.

Take surveys

The hourly wages are nothing to crow about. But survey sites offer the ideal way to turn a few minutes between classes into an income-earning opportunity.

The best option in this category is a site called Prolific, which helps researchers find pre-screened survey participants. What makes this site better than most is that it has you answer qualifying questions — age, income, family status, etc. — up-front. Then, the site only sends you surveys that you’re qualified to take. You’re given an estimated amount of time it will require to take each survey and the pay. You decide whether it’s worth your time.

Other sites, such as Swagbucks and Survey Junkie, will also pay you to take surveys. However, with these sites, you “qualify” on a survey-by-survey basis. That means you may waste a lot of time answering the same “qualifying” questions with each survey, only to find out that you don’t qualify to get paid.

Charge scooters and electric bikes

Big campuses are often littered with electric scooters and bikes that can be unlocked and ridden around campus. Riders can drop the scooters just about anywhere. So scooter companies, such as Bird and Lime, enlist “chargers” and “juicers” to pick them up, charge them overnight, and then return them to a designated area early in the next morning.

If you have a late class, there are two benefits to signing up to charge. First, you earn between $5 and $20 for each scooter you return fully charged. You also get to ride the scooters home for free, which isn’t a bad way to get back to your dorm. 

Assemble furniture

If you have the skill to put together IKEA furniture, you can list your services on TaskRabbit and make a few bucks. At TaskRabbit, you determine what services you are willing to offer and what you charge. Taskers charge anywhere from $15 to $45 an hour for furniture assembly and light handyman services, such as hanging pictures and moving furniture.

Don’t deliver

Notably, one of the best-known side hustles for college students is to deliver food through sites such as GrubHub, DoorDash and UberEats. But SideHusl.com does not recommend these jobs in a college town. Why? You use your own car and gas to schlep food around town. But most delivery jobs only pay decently when people tip, and college students are notoriously bad tippers.