Student competitions: make money while at university

If there’s one thing that all students can agree on, it’s that making a little bit of extra cash at university can only be a good thing. With the rising cost of accommodation and many students getting by on a shoestring budget, a few extra pennies every now and again go a long way. What if we told you that student competitions can be a great way to make some extra money whilst you study? And, not only that, but they can be a great way to enhance your CV and potentially impress future employers? Would you believe us? Well, you should.

Believe it or not, competitions specifically aimed at students are ever on the rise, as more and more companies begin to realise the immeasurable value of engaging students. Some students even turn entering competitions into their professional hustle. In fact, one student earned £14k in 5 months just by entering competitions and is already paying off her loans. Who could say no to that? From money prizes, to scholarships, to everyday essential wins, there is an abundance of freebies out there to get your hands on. And, as they say, you have to be in it to win it.

In this post, we’re detailing exactly how you, as a university student, can make a little bit of extra money every month by simply entering student competitions. We’re talking through how it’s done, where to find the competitions, and a few things you should be wary of along the way.

How do I do it?

If you’ve ever entered a competition before, you know how easy it is. Oftentimes, you’ll stumble across competitions that simply require you to enter your email address for the chance to win a free giveaway. Though, if you’re hoping for a bigger win and perhaps to earn a little bit of extra cash, depending on the type of competition, you’ll likely be required to make a little more effort.

First and foremost, you’ll want to keep a record of all of the competitions you’re entering and the potential prizes you could win, whether it be cash prizes or products. Make a spreadsheet or write it all out coherently in a notebook – that way, you’ll easily stay on top of everything.

Depending on the type of competitions you enter, they can potentially take up quite a bit of your time. Sure, entering your email address for the chance to win a prize draw might take you less than two minutes, but if you’re going to enter a Hackathon, for example – well, it’s certainly going to take up a bit more of your time. So, if you’re going to take it seriously, be realistic about how many competitions you can enter in your spare time. Pick and choose which ones will actually be worth your precious time (because remember, you still need to study!) in order to see return. But remember, entering competitions relies heavily on luck and often won’t be a stable income.

Another top tip is to set up a separate email address, with a different provider to your personal email account. This way, you won’t have to constantly log in and out of accounts. As well, you won’t clog your personal inbox with the sheer amount of spam emails you’ll inevitably receive.

Where do I find student competitions?

The next step is to seek out the competitions, and actually, it’s a lot easier than what you might think. In fact, there are so many different types of competitions out there that narrowing down the ones you want to enter might be tough. Though, once again, keep in mind that they could potentially take up a lot of your time, and so be sure to stick to the ones you really want to win.


We get it – newsletters can be annoying, and boy, they can clog up your inbox. But hear us out. Signing up to newsletters from your favourite brands and keeping a close eye on them could be the key to finding out about exclusive giveaways and great competitions with even better prizes.

Social Media

Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and even Pinterest can be a haven for competitions, as many people and brands tend to use them as a way to build their following, and also to give back to their existing following. Twitter in particular makes it super easy for you to search through hashtags to find the latest, try #competition or #giveaway. And, oftentimes, entering the competition could be as simple as retweeting the original tweet. So, why not try your luck? You’ve got nothing to lose. Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest could prove to be a little more difficult, but it’s still possible to hunt out the latest competitions. A few pieces of advice would be – utilize the platform’s search feature, keep an eye on your ‘other’ or ‘requests’ inboxes and perhaps consider making separate accounts just for entering competitions, just so that you don’t annoy your family, friends and followers with an abundance of promotional posts.

Companies and Organisations

There are a number of companies and professional organisations that routinely run a variation of competitions to harness a students’ creativity, or to encourage students to widen their skillset and come up with innovating ideas. Unsurprisingly, these types of competitions are often the toughest and require the most effort, but the prizes can be wholly worth it. What’s more, even just simply taking part will greatly enhance your CV and impress any future employer. You can find competitions specifically targeted at engineers, designers, artists, writers – to name but a few. StudentCompetitions is one of the best websites you can use to browse these competitions.

What should I be wary of?

As with anything, there are a few things you should be wary of when it comes to trying to make a few extra pennies from entering competitions. Every now and again you’ll come across something that isn’t quite as legitimate as it seems, and you should heed any and all red flags.

First and foremost, you should invest in some anti-virus software (if your device requires it) just to take some extra precaution as you browse different sites on a daily basis. Many of the sites will be ones that you have never heard of before – so it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

As well, it really goes without saying, but there is a staggering amount of spam competitions out there that you will absolutely want to stay well clear of. The individuals who run these have no other intentions but to get their hands on your personal information, so if something seems off, you are best to avoid it. Never give out confidential information such as bank details, especially via email. If you’re unsure, stick to the brands and companies you know you can trust.

Find additional funding

Filter, find and apply for scholarships, grants or bursaries 
via the Funding Hub on Blackbullion.

Sign up now