According to Student Loan Hero, 69% of college students in the class of 2019 took out student loans. The average debt for these students when graduating was $29,900.
If you’re a college student wanting to make a student loan payment — or make enough money working that you don’t need to take on debt at all — then you’re probably looking for a job that you can start right away.
However, because so many classes are being taught online in 2020 and beyond, traditional work experiences like working the register at your school’s co-op are off the table. Now is the time to be turning to the sharing economy and online workforce. Even if you have little to no experience, online work opportunities are waiting for you.
In this article, we’ll cover the best online jobs for college students with no experience. Not only will we detail what these jobs are, but we’ll also go over where to find them and answer some other frequently asked questions. (Note: If you are a college student with a bit of experience under your belt, you may be better off checking out our other guide to online jobs for college students).
- The Perks of Working an Online Job
- The 6 Best Online Jobs for College Students With No Experience
- Frequently Asked Questions
The Perks of Working an Online Job
If you are new to the world of online jobs, you may be wondering what makes them so great. Below are the reasons why you should consider working an online job, even if you do not have any prior experience.
Perhaps the biggest perk of online jobs, especially for college students, is the extra money. Whether you need the money for books for the semester or a night out with friends, the extra cash will always come in handy.
As we detail below, you set your own schedule and rates as an independent contractor. You can work as much or as little as you’d like, leaving your earning potential entirely up to you.
Set Your Own Schedule
Online jobs are perfect for college students because they often offer flexible schedules. Although scheduling varies from job to job, most are flexible so long as you meet deadlines. Whether you’re someone who enjoys late night work sessions with Red Bull or someone who knocks out work on the campus quad during the middle of the day, you can work whenever is most convenient for you.
Work at Home
Remote jobs are useful because you can work from anywhere. Not only can you work at home, but you can also work in your dorm room or at your campus library — anywhere you have a stable internet connection. Even if you travel home for the holidays, you can continue working and make a good amount of money in the process.
The 6 Best Online Jobs for College Students With No Experience
Ready to jump into a freelance job, but not sure where to start? Below are the best online jobs for college students with no experience.
1. Data Entry
Online data entry jobs are straightforward and in high demand. Companies are constantly hiring for data entry positions, which could require you to enter information into spreadsheets or organize email databases. The Gigworker Marketplace and popular gig marketplace Fiverr constantly post entry-level data entry jobs.
Want to put your high school English class to good use? Consider blogging or working as a freelance writer. Since many companies outsource their blog posts to writers, there are many freelance writing positions available.
There are also a handful of freelance writing companies (like The Content Panel) who find clients and then find writers who are a good fit for the role. Writing jobs can pay by the word or by article, but regardless of how they pay, they are a great way to earn extra income if you enjoy writing.
If you have an appreciation for the English language and are wondering how to make money without having to write, you could consider becoming a proofreader.
Many companies outsource their proofreading and editing services, meaning that there is an abundance of online editing jobs for you to choose from. A great place to look for editing and proofreading gigs is in the Business Services category on the Gigworker Job Board.
4. Online Surveys
The Best survey sites are another way for you to make easy money working from home.
Sites like Survey Junkie, SurveyClub, and Swagbucks don’t necessarily pay in cash, so they are often seen as scams. But they pay in gift cards, which you can put toward food and books. However, you can turn these into cash at a later date by selling them to online gift card brokers that will purchase them at a discount from you.
This may not be a six-figure work-from-home job, but it’s an easy way to earn supplemental income in your downtime. It also doesn’t require any communication or leadership skills, as you are merely answering questions on your computer.
If you’re a fast typer, you can get into transcribing by taking advantage of the remote transcription jobs available in the gig economy. Companies may send you a video and ask you to transcribe it for their YouTube channel. You are often paid by how much you complete so the faster you can type, the more successful you’ll be.
There are multiple transcription companies currently offering work, including our favorites, Transcribe Anywhere and Babbletype. Just as they sound, as long as you have a reliable internet connection and a decent computer, you can make money transcribing.
6. Social Media and Search Engine Evaluator
Similar to how product testing gigs work, these companies will pay for you to test how a company’s user experience is, acting almost like a “virtual judge”. The company that hired Lionbride and uTest then receive feedback that they can take to improve their websites and products, which in turn leads to a better user experience for the customer.
The tasks that you complete will vary. For instance, if you are an English speaker, you may be required to record yourself saying a few phrases. Or, you may visit a website and give feedback after user testing.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are some of the questions commonly asked by those getting started in an online role.
1. Do I receive a W-2 from my employer?
It depends on how you set up your online job with your employer. If you are working a full-time role, you are more likely to be hired as an employee. When you are an employee, you receive a W-2 at the end of the year for tax purposes. Your W-2 reflects your gross earnings, net earnings, and taxes paid.
The other alternative is to set yourself up as an independent contractor. In this role, you would receive an IRS Form 1099 at the end of the year from your customer, so long as your earnings exceed $600.
If you are an independent contractor, the paying client does not withhold any taxes. If you bill a client $100 for an article, the client should pay the full $100.
2. If taxes aren’t withheld as an independent contractor, do I still need to pay them?
Unfortunately, yes. You need to pay what’s known as a “Self-Employment Tax.” When you are a W-2 employee, your employer withholds your Social Security and Medicare taxes from your paychecks. The amount withheld is 7.65% of your pay. The employer then matches this amount.
As an independent contractor though, you are responsible for paying the entirety of the 15.3% tax burden. You will need to do so by making quarterly estimated payments to the IRS.
So, let’s say that you complete work as an independent contractor. You earn $1,000 between January and March. At the end of the quarter, you will need to pay 15.3%, or $153, in Social Security and Medicare taxes. You will also need to pay federal and state income taxes as well.
However, this should not deter you from taking on a side hustle. Freelancers and independent contractors have higher gross earnings than waged employees, as customers know that the contractor is solely responsible for paying taxes.
3. I’m looking to develop my skills. Where can I go?
If you have found how you would like to make money online but don’t have any prior experience, you may want to develop your skills. Taking courses, achieving certifications, and gaining experience can all help you with your job search.
Start by looking at the courses that your school offers. For instance, if you are interested in web design, perhaps there is a graphic design course that your college offers as an elective.
If this doesn’t work, you can look online for free courses. Sites like Coursera, Udemy, and edX are all excellent options to help develop freelancing skills. You can set your own schedule when taking these courses, so long as you meet the deadlines. You can develop your new skill while also taking college coursework and working another part-time job.
Find Your Online Job Today
No matter if you are looking to pay off student loans or would like to have a bit of extra spending money in your pocket, there’s no better time to get started in the gig economy. The gig economy has grown 15% in the past decade and will continue to do so in the coming years.
As a student, you may have a bit of free time on your hands. Using this time to work an entry-level remote job will not only boost your skills, but it will also put some extra cash in your pocket as well.
If you’re looking for more information to get you started, be sure to check out our guides to gig economy jobs and our advice for starting out in gig work.