College Side Hustles: 6 Ways to Earn Money From Your Dorm Room

College students are often known for “being broke,” and there’s a good reason for that: When you’ve got a full course load, a full-time job isn’t usually practical. You don’t want to hurt your grades, blow your GPA, or have to spend extra money repeating classes because you took on too much. Luckily, there are numerous ways to boost your cash flow by drumming up a side hustle in your spare time. Here are six awesome ways you can earn money from your dorm room (or apartment).

1. Teach or tutor

Use your specialized knowledge or skills to teach others. If you’re a math major, you can teach the basic fundamentals to fellow students who struggle in this area. If you have specialized knowledge — maybe you’re fluent in a second language or have mad computer graphics skills — you can give lessons to teach both students and non-students how to master these.

If you’re planning on working one-on-one with students, you can probably do this at a local coffee shop, the library, or common room; but if you’re looking to teach a group, you might have to seek permission or get a little creative in finding space.

2. Sell services online

Offer any of your skills as a service online. Use your laptop to make money as a virtual assistant, social media manager, copywriter, photography, web designer, search engine tester, or app builder. You could even design social media banners or avatars for gamers. (You might be surprised at how many gamers and YouTubers seek out these kinds of services because they want a cool, personalized, or unique identity!)

Today’s work environment is shifting to a gig economy, making it ever easier and more accessible for people to offer and take advantage of all kinds of services. This flexibility benefits college student workers, allowing them to choose when they want to work, and fit their work schedules around their class schedules.

3. Take surveys and opinion polls

Joining a few online survey panels is a spare-time endeavor that can add up. Companies are looking to target specific audiences to help them in their marketing endeavors. If you don’t mind giving up a bit of personal information when you sign up, you can earn cash or gift cards that can help with groceries, entertainment, or other things you need. Some services actually pay fairly well if you’re willing to spend time taking surveys, watching videos, or searching the web.

Just be sure to do careful research beforehand to weed out any sketchy or scam survey sites. Read disclaimers before signing up for any surveys, especially if you’re referred from another website; many of these sites make money on referrals, and you’ll want to be sure these are actually legit recommendations.

4. Use cash-back apps

An easy way to earn some extra money is to sign up for cash-back services and make a little cash every time you spend some. Popular apps include:

  • Ebates
  • Ibotta
  • Swagbucks
  • Dosh
  • Shoptracker
  • BeFrugal
  • … and many more.

Some apps focus on specific niche purchases or types of retailers, while others are broader in nature. And as always, before downloading any app, check out its online reviews and be sure it’s not promoting a scam.

5. Sell your stuff

Got any old but still relevant textbooks? How about clothes that no longer fit, or ones you aren’t interested in wearing anymore? Maybe you got a new game console for Christmas and can now sell your old one.

The tried-and-true option of selling textbooks and other belongings is easier and more lucrative than ever now, thanks to online resale sites and apps. Check out some top websites and apps to find interested buyers; many are designed to target local audiences.

6. Pet or house sit

Pet sitting or house sitting are cool side hustles because they’re both easy money-making opportunities that also get you out of your dorm or cramped apartment for a short period of time. While you’re busy earning cash, you can enjoy nicer accommodations and furry companions for a while. (If you’re not comfortable being alone in someone else’s home, you can always pursue dog walking and get your furry fix.) Just make sure you’re dependable and have the time to devote to keeping an eye on someone else’s precious things.

Forget using your spare time at college for partying, which comes with no lasting benefit. Instead, generating a side hustle from your dorm comes with significant advantages. Not only can you earn some money, but you also can use these gigs to start building your professional resume.

If none of these ideas strike your fancy, see what else is out there. Don’t be afraid to think innovatively or showcase skills that no one else is selling. You never know: You just might come up with the next hot idea, seed a business, and end up as a college student entrepreneur. What are you waiting for? Start hustling and earning some extra cash today!

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