Attending graduate school is a massive accomplishment and it can be one of the best investments you can make.
However, it does come with a cost. The average cost of attending graduate school is around $66,340 which is a large investment in your future.
Having student loans can make managing your finances much more difficult and that's where starting a side hustle can help.
A side hustle can provide some much-needed financial relief and help you stay on top of your studies.In this post, I'll explore some of the best side hustles for grad students, how much money you can make, and much more. Let's get started!
Best Side Hustles for Grad Students
1. Deliver Food with Doordash
One of the best side hustles for college and grad students is food delivery with apps like Doordash.
With this side hustle, you can work the hours you want – which can be especially helpful for busy students.
And the pay can be better than you think. You can earn $25 an hour delivering food in most areas but sometimes even more. Plus, you get to keep 100% of your tips!
This person worked an entire week with Doordash and made over $1,500! Not bad!
Food delivery is a great side hustle if you live in a college town because there are so many students looking for food – meaning you can make money.
To get started, simply sign up below and start taking orders in your area. You can also learn how to make $500 a week with Doordash here!
2. Earn Money with Instacart
Instacart is another solid option if you want to use apps that pay you to drive. With this side hustle, you can pick up groceries for customers and deliver them to their doorstep. It's very similar to food delivery except instead of food, it's groceries.
The amount of money you can make will depend on your area but it's possible to earn over $25 per hour in some locations.
I've found that you can make more money with food delivery because of the amount of tips you can get, but grocery delivery is still worth it if you want a flexible schedule where you can work your own hours.
Be sure to check out these Instacart hacks to make more money before getting started!
3. Tutor Students
Looking for a hihger paying side hustle?
Tutoring is an excellent way to make extra cash while attending graduate school.
Not only will you be able to make some extra money, but you'll also be able to learn more about a subject yourself.
The amount of money you can make tutoring will depend on the subject you're teaching and your level of expertise.
Some tutors can make over $60 an hour for their time which is a great income for any grad student!
To find work, try posting your services on social media or browse online marketplaces like Craigslist.
If you're looking for a side hustle you can start with no money, this is for you!
4. Work as a Virtual Assistant
Working as a virtual assistant is a great side hustle for many people in school because of the flexibility it provides.
For many VAs, you can work nights or weekends which is perfect if you have a busy school schedule.
What exactly is a virtual assistant?
In simplest terms, a virtual assistant is someone who can work to complete tasks for a person or business. This could include things like posting on social media, updating website content, or sending and responding to emails.
VAs are typically hired by online business owners or entrepreneurs who need assistance with the day-to-day tasks of running their business.
The pay will depend on your skills and qualifications, but some virtual assistants can make over $25 per hour for their time. For example, take a look at these VAs I found on Upwork.
To find work, you can browse freelance sites and Facebook groups or connect directly with online business owners or bloggers to see if they need help.
If you're interested in getting started as a VA, I highly recommend Carrie's Virtual Assistant Accelerator course to learn how to become a VA and land your first clients!
5. Take Online Surveys
Taking online surveys is a great way to make money online for graduate students because you can do it whenever you have free time, like between classes or during your commute.
Taking surveys isn't going to make you rich by any means, but it's a good way to earn a few bucks for your time.
As a bonus, many of these apps will give your free money just for creating a new account.
Some of my favorite survey sites that pay cash include:
6. Pet Sit with Rover
Looking for an easy side hustle?
Dog sitting is a simple and easy way to make money from the comfort of your own home. Some people would consider this a passive side hustle because you don't really need to do much work at all to earn money.
By using a platform like Rover you can easily find pet sitting jobs in your area to start making money.
The amount of money you can make will depend on your city and the number of animals you're watching but it's possible to make $50 a day or more.
Create your free account below to get started!
7. Become a Freelance Writer
Freelance writing is one of my favorite side hustles for just about anyone. There are tons of benefits and the pay can be lucrative making it a great choice for those in grad school.
Working as a freelance writer will allow you to work on your own time and complete assignments when it's convenient for you, making it a great option for students.
As far as pay is concerned, you can earn a great living freelance writing. I know many writers who have made it their full-time job!
Depending on your work, it's possible to earn over $100 an hour for your writing.
Some jobs will opt to pay you per word written. In these cases, I've found that it's possible to earn up to $.50 per word or more. And for beginners, you can charge $.10 per word.
To find work, you can use freelance sites like Upwork and Fiverr or you can try connecting directly with business owners who might need your services.
Another hack I've found to find clients is networking with other freelance writers. If they don't have time to accept new clients, they will often send work your way!
If you're looking for a flexible and high paying side hustle – you can't go wrong with freelance writing.
Here's a great guide on how to get started.
8. Work as a Research Assistant
As a graduate student, you likely have a lot of knowledge and research experience in your field of study.
This knowledge can be valuable to other researchers who might need help with their own projects.
Working as a research assistant is a great way to use your skills and knowledge to earn money on the side.
According to Glassdoor, you can earn around $41,000 as a grad school research assistant with little experience.
9. Work as a TA
Teaching assistantships are a great way for graduate students to earn money while also getting some experience in the classroom.
TA positions are usually available through your school's department of education so you can check with your department or search online for open TA positions.
The pay for TA positions will vary depending on the school and the position, but you can expect to earn at least $15 per hour for your time, if not a little more.
Here's one opportunity I found in my area.
10. Teach English Online
If you don't want to tutor a certain subject but you love helping other students, teaching English can be a good way to make extra cash on the side.
Whether you're a PhD student or you're getting a Masters degree, you can teach English online whenever you have a few hours on week nights or weekends.
The amount of money you can make will depend on the company you work for, but most companies will pay between $10 and $25 per hour.
11. Start a Blog
Blogging is a fun and lucrative way to make money online for anyone in grad school. With this digital side hustle, you'll get to explore your passions and share them with the web while making some money along the way.
Starting a blog doesn't cost much and in many cases can cost less than $100 a year, making it perfect for graduate students.
You can then monetize your blog through display advertising, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, and more.
For example, one of my blogs earned over $5,000 a month last month just from display ads alone!
Now, building a successful blog takes a ton of time and work, so don't expect to make a fortune overnight.
In many cases, it could be a few months before you make your very first dollar so if you need money desperately – you might want to choose another side hustle.
That said, if you want to make passive income online – blogging is a tremendous option that I would highly recommend.
12. Become a Podcaster
Just like with blogging, podcasting can be a fun way to earn money while working on your graduate degree.
When it comes to podcasting, you'll need to do some work upfront to get started but you can make enough money with this side hustle to justify the effort.
To get started, you'll need some basic equipment like a microphone, audio editing software, and a computer. While you don't technically need these items, I believe if you're serious about your podcast you should invest a little bit of money off the bat.
Next, you'll want to determine the format of your show. Will you have guests? Or will your show be produced solely by yourself?
Either way, it's important to find what works for you.
Next, it's time to hit record and start taping your episodes before uploading them to podcasting platforms for the world to find.
Once your podcast is live, it's all about promoting your show to gain listeners. While this can be difficult, it's also an essential step to becoming profitable.
Once your show has a certain number of listeners, you can monetize it by offering show sponsorships and using affiliate marketing.
Check out the video below for more help!
13. Build Websites
Looking for a side hustle that pays well and you can do from anywhere?
Making money building websites can be a lucrative side hustle option for many PhD students looking to work on their own hours.
With this side hustle, you'll need to be familiar with basic web development and some graphic design elements but you can find a number of online courses that can teach you the basics you'll need. Alternatively, if you're attending school for software engineering – this side hustle should be at the top of your list.
The amount of money you can make building websites can be lucrative. For example, most basic websites will cost over $1,000 to build and might take you less than a day to complete. More complex websites can cost over $10,000 and take a week or two to build.
If you want to make even more money, consider offering digital marketing services like scheduling social media posts, running Facebook ads, or conducting SEO audits so you can offer the full suite of marketing tasks.
14. Sell Your Old Notes
If you're in a PhD program or obtaining your Masters degree, there's a good chance your class notes can be very valuable for some future students.
If you want to make some cash on the side, start selling your notes online!
There are a number of websites that allow you to sell your notes, including Stuvia and Studynote.
The amount of money you'll make will depend on how popular your notes are as well as the price you set. Some people can make a few hundred dollars each year with this side hustle!
Here's some data from Stuvia on how much most people make!
15. Pick Up a Part Time Job
Part time jobs can be some of the quickest ways for graduate students to make extra cash.
While it's not the most fun way to make money, it can be a great option to pay the bills.
There are plenty of part time jobs available if you spend some time searching. If you live in a college town, many employers can offer flexible schedules built around your classes.
The amount of money you can make will vary but there are many jobs that pay $30 an hour or more.
16. House Sitting
House sitting is just like pet sitting with the lack of one thing: animals!
With house sitting, homeowners will pay you to watch over their house while they are away vacationing or traveling for work.
Most homeowners will want someone they can trust so this side hustle may require some references.
But once you get started, house sitting can be a great way to make money while getting free rent!
The amount of money you can make will depend on your city but it's possible to earn a few hundred dollars each week with this side hustle.
17. Complete Odd Jobs
There are plenty of odd jobs you can do to make money while attending college or university.
Between yard work, cleaning houses, and helping people move, there are plenty of opportunities to make some extra cash.
You can browse an app like Neighbor to find odd jobs in your area. The amount of money you can make will depend on the job but most tasks will pay $10-25 an hour.
18. Sell an Online Course
Selling online courses can be a great passive income source to make money while you sleep.
With this side hustle, you'll create a course on a topic you're passionate about and sell it to others online.
It can take some time to create a quality course but once it's live, you can make money each time someone buys it.
The amount of money you can make will depend on the price of your course and how many sales you can generate but some course creators are capable of making 6-figures from their business.
For example, this online course sells for $139 and has made a fortune.
Passive Income for Grad Students
Invest in Real Estate with Arrived
Investing in real estate is a great method to earn passive income for any grad student.
By using a platform like Arrived, you can take the hassle out of investing so you can get started quickly with just $100.
Arrived allows you to invest in individual rental properties and split a portion of the profits with other investors. This makes it the perfect way to start investing without needing a fortune.
Invest in the Stock Market with Acorns.
Investing in the stock market is another excellent option to make passive income and grow your money.
If you want to reach financial freedom, using the stock market is a simple way to build your compound interest so you can live life on your own terms.
With Acorns you can invest in a variety of stock market assets like index funds, dividend stocks, ETFs, mutual funds, and more.
As a bonus, they're giving new customers $20 completely free so create your account below to get started!
Not sure which investments to make? Check out these investments to make money daily!
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Why Students Need a Side Hustle
Starting a side hustle can be advantageous for many reasons, especially as a student.
With student loan debt increasing at an unprecedented rate, it's essential to tackle these debts as soon as possible when starting your career.
Starting a side hustle can allow you to do this by providing some extra income each month.
In addition, a side hustle can help you develop important skills and network with professionals in your field.
This can be extremely beneficial when it comes time to look for a job after graduation.
Final Thoughts on Making Money While in Grad School
There are plenty of side hustles for grad students to make a little extra cash in their free time.
Between managing social media accounts and other freelance work or starting a blog, the options are out there to grow your income.
Attending grad school can be very difficult and you should certainly focus on your studies, but if you want to make some extra income to cover your living expenses, starting a side hustle is a great option. So what are you waiting for?? Find your side hustle and get started!
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