Unusual Ways to Earn Extra Cash in College

For most of us, we make some of the best memories in life while in college. They are the years when you grapple with transforming from adolescent to adult.

One thing though, college is also that place where you can go  broke if you run out of your allowance.

Luckily, the flexibility of the college curricula means that students have enough time to put their skills and wit to good use. You may want to earn some money on the side, because, let’s face it, college life is not cheap!

For this reason, it’s common for students to come up with a work-study arrangement to offset some of the costs.

Now, there are tons of popular ways to make money in college, like freelancing, tutoring, working part-time in a mall, or waiting tables. 

In this post, however, we’re going to show you some unusual ways to earn extra cash in college. These ideas are not widespread, which means you won’t be competing with your college friends for opportunities.

1. Dog Walking

Do you love dogs and have been around them from time to time?

Congrats! You just qualified to be a dog walker. And yeah, it doesn’t require any qualifications or certifications. So long as you have experience handling dogs, you can get hired to walk people’s dogs.

In case you didn’t know, dog walking is one of the least tapped-into side hustles. In fact, only a small percentage of college students get involved with dog walking. This means the chances of landing clients within your college neighborhood are high.

Besides, as a dog walker, you work depending on your schedule. If you can’t find clients on your own, you can sign up on apps like Rover and Wag! These apps connect dog walkers and sitters to clients.

Also, you don’t have to restrict yourself to dogs only.

People have tons of pets, and they always have errands to run. Establish yourself as a local pet sitter and watch people’s pets in your spare time.

2. Babysitting

You heard that right; babysitting is still a thing long after middle school. And this time, it comes with some good side money.

Babysitting while in college is not unknown, but it’s a rarely used side income opportunity.

Plus, it’s not even hard to get into. There are always families that could use a babysitter for a few hours within your college locale. 

Besides, being a college student in and of itself gives you some credibility with strangers. 

There isn’t much qualification when it comes to babysitting. But if you’re serious about taking it on, you should probably get a letter of recommendation from one of your faculty deans to solidify your chances.

3. Clinical Trials

There are horror stories about this one, so no wonder most people steer clear. But participating in clinical trials can be a lucrative way to make money in college.

Therefore, if you’re up for one of the weirdest ways of making extra cash in college, here we go.

What exactly are clinical trials?

Simply put, clinical trials are research experiments that investigate participants’ medical or behavioral responses.

If you’re wondering whether you’ll be, essentially, a guinea pig, well, that’s kind of the whole point.

It’s worth keeping in mind that these research studies carry potential risks to your health. It’s the reason they are compensating you. The hazards include exposure to unapproved treatments or concepts.

However, not all clinical trials are risky. And some are more fun behavioral surveys than laboratory experiments.

Joining research studies may not be easy, though. Not because you won’t find them, but because they tend to be strict with their criteria.

One more thing, you may want to use sites like antidote.me to help narrow down your search and find trials that you may qualify for.

4. Profit Flipping

Flipping items for profit is an oft-ignored venture in college that can be super profitable. 

Let’s say you bought something from the cafeteria and sold it to your exam-stressed roommate at a profit. That’s profit flipping.

It’s all about buying and reselling, and if you have a knack for picking fast-moving items, you could make good money.

To kick start your profit flipping side hustle, try buying items from yard sales and flea markets. Then resell them to other students or interested customers in your area at a higher price.

However, a better approach would be to resell your items online on eBay. It’s a lot easier to find buyers this way, plus you stand to make more in profits.

As a college student with limited time on your hands, take advantage of this opportunity. It can be the quickest way to make money.

5. Donate Plasma

Ready for some blood money?

Here’s one of the weirdest ways of making a quick buck, and college students can definitely make money out of it.

If you’re not sure how plasma donation works, it’s no different from whole blood donation. The difference is they only take the plasma component of your blood. 

The gig, also known as “plassing,” can earn you around $50 per donation. And according to the FDA, you can donate twice a week.

However, the amount of money you make is based on your weight. The system classifies you by weight, which means the more you weigh, the more you can donate.


It’s not uncommon to end up penniless in college, even if you’re pretty disciplined about your allowances.

Still, you may need extra cash to cater to your expenses. When that happens, remember that it’s possible to make money even when you’re juggling classes and more.

Open yourself to opportunities, look out for the unusual avenues that others are not taking advantage of, and give them a try.

For best chances of success, stick to money-making ideas that can fit into your schedule.

Author bio:

Adam Marshall is a freelance writer who specializes in all things apartment organization, real estate, and college advice. He currently works with Grove at Cheney to help them with their online marketing.