College students are always looking for part-time work to help them make ends meet. There’s a lot to pay for— room and board, food, tuition, and books—and sometimes things get tight. But one of the significant challenges is finding a side-gig that’s flexible. If you’re a full-time student (or even just taking a few classes), you know it can be hard to juggle employment and coursework. That’s doubly true when you’ve got midterms, finals, or a big project going on.

Sure, financial aid can help with some of the bills, but it won’t pay for expenses like gas in the car, a cup of coffee, or catching a movie. For those little extras, you need some spare cash.

In this article, we will discuss how college students can easily get paid to take surveys. Paid surveys are well-suited for those who are pursuing their education because they are highly flexible. You can squeeze in work between classes, late at night, or anytime you have a few spare minutes. Plus, as long as you have an internet connection and your smartphone, this is an online job you can do anywhere! 

Working While in College

Most students need to have some source of income when they are in college. Whether the money comes from scholarships, a part-time job, or some other side-gig, there are things you’ll need on top of your regular college expenses. For example, you might need some new socks, a bottle of pain reliever, or something for your dorm room. 

Surveys are a fantastic way to acquire the money for some of those little extra things. In previous articles, we’ve talked about some other ways college students can make money, including:

Of course, our favorite way for college students to make money is through paid online surveys. That’s because it’s the most flexible out of all the ideas above. For example, if you have plans for the weekend and don’t have time to work on surveys, you don’t have to. You can take as much time off as you like, knowing that taking surveys for cash will be right there when you’re ready to return.

What Are Paid Surveys?

With paid surveys, users answer questions online in exchange for cash or gift cards. Contrary to what you may have heard, surveys are not a scam, and they aren’t some kind of shady gig. Market researchers need to gather data from different types of customers of all ages and backgrounds to understand their target audience better.

Why Is This Data Necessary? 

Great question! There are some significant benefits market research companies get from offering surveys for money, including:

  • It helps establish the most effective way stakeholders should communicate with their potential customers.
  • It helps brands identify many new opportunities in the marketplace.
  • It minimizes the risks involved with new product and service launches.
  • It helps companies plan for growth.
  • It provides insights into future trends.
  • It helps identify the best way to advertise.
  • It reveals what consumers think about new flavors, colors, packaging, and more.

How To Make Money From Surveys

So, why (and how) do companies offer cash rewards for surveys? Because it’s easier to gather all the information they need by providing an incentive of some type. Most people don’t have the time or the desire to take surveys for nothing. But when they are compensated, it’s much more likely they will set aside a few minutes to fill out an online form. 

This brings us to the point of this article—how college students can make money by taking paid online surveys.

Getting started with surveys for cash is easy. There are only a few quick steps involved:

  • Find a survey site you can trust.
  • Register and confirm your email.
  • Log in and start completing surveys.
  • Get paid.

Yes, it’s that simple! In fact, the most complicated step in the process is finding a legit survey site. So, let’s talk about that next. 

How To Find a Legit Paid Survey Site

You would be correct if you guessed that not all survey sites are on the level. And that’s why the paid survey industry has gotten a bad rap—there are a lot of bad players involved. In most cases, the scammers are out to steal your personal information or your identity. In some instances, they will even steal your money. So you have to be very discriminating about which survey site you join. “But how can you tell the difference?” you might ask. 

How To Spot a Scam Survey Site:

Scam Survey Sites Almost Always Make Claims That Are Too Good To Be True

If you come across a site offering $20, $50, or more for filling out easy forms, you’re dealing with a fake survey company. There is simply no sustainability in this plan. If it were possible to get paid $50 per survey, everyone would be doing it. So put the idea of getting rich from paid surveys out of your head. Instead, you can make a little extra money to pay for necessities or treats for yourself. 

Fake Survey Sites Make Themselves Appear Exclusive

Have you ever gotten a flattering email inviting you to join an exclusive club or organization because you’re unique or “elite?” Within a few minutes of reading the message, you probably found out that there’s nothing exclusive about it. Instead, the sender is only trying to scam you and many others by charging a membership fee. The same happens with fake survey sites. So don’t fall for it.

Scam Survey Sites Have Few Positive Reviews Online

With most legit survey sites, you can get a good idea of their reputation by looking for reviews. Does the company have “iffy” reviews—or worse—no reviews at all? You’re most likely dealing with a dishonest company. Legit survey sites are few and far between, so when people find a great one, they typically want to share it with others. For example, Branded Surveys has over 46,000 real user reviews on Trustpilot, a sure sign of a reputable survey company. 

Scam Sites Fail To Pay Out Consistently

Obviously, a fake site will not pay you for your efforts, which is the primary red flag of a scam site. But beware—some sites will make the first payment without incident just to lure you in. Then, once they have all your personal information, you’ll never hear from them again. So even if a site seems legit at first, go back to red flag number three: Look for reviews.

Why Are Paid Surveys the Best Option for Students?People Wearing Backpacks

We’ve mentioned it a few times in this article, but it’s worth repeating: Paid surveys offer a high degree of flexibility. No matter what time of the day or night it is, you can work on surveys 24/7, whenever it’s convenient for you. There is no set schedule, no quotas, and no boss looking over your shoulder. Have an important exam coming up and need to study more than usual? No problem. You can come back to your favorite paid survey site whenever you like, and it will be there waiting for you.

The second reason online surveys for cash is a good option for college students to make money is it’s not location-dependent. You can take surveys from anywhere in the world as long as you have a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or computer and an internet connection.

Since surveys only take a few minutes each, you can quickly work on them during in-between times. So whether you’re waiting for your next class to start, you need a break from studying, or you’re bored with the same old thing, you can take a survey and make money. 

Finally, online surveys are fun! It’s exciting to know that participating in them can help influence what products hit the market next and that your answers could help company executives with “make-or-break” decisions. 

Making the Most of Paid Surveys

Naturally, if you’re going to take surveys for cash, it makes sense to maximize your earnings with some best practices. After all, you want your surveys to be approved so you can cash out your earnings as quickly as possible. Here are some tips:

Stick With One Great Survey Site

There are many great survey companies, but in some cases, several may be offering the same survey. You could unknowingly be flagged as a fraudulent user if you do the same survey at two different survey sites. That’s because unless expressly stated, it’s against the rules to do the same survey multiple times. 

Answer Honestly and Carefully

Survey companies have a set of checks and balances in place to weed out real users from bots or people who just want to rush through and get paid. It will be evident if you don’t give thoughtful and genuine answers and charge full speed ahead. Take your time and really think about the answers for each paid survey so so the site can fully credit you for your hard work.

Take Advantage of Bonuses and Rewards

Most good survey sites offer rewards and bonuses for volume, so the more surveys you take, the more you can earn. Many users aren’t even aware of these special bonuses on top of regular earnings, so be sure to check for them at your favorite survey site. With Branded Surveys, this program is called “Branded Elite,” and users can reach higher levels (and a larger percentage of earnings) the more surveys they complete.

Invite Your Friends

Finally, most legit sites offer a referral program where users can earn free points just for inviting new participants to join. College students are usually surrounded by others on campus who are in the same boat. Therefore, a referral bonus can be an excellent way to boost survey income.