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14 Tips for College Students Taking Paid Surveys

Who wouldn’t want to take paid surveys for money? If you’re in college, this can be a great way to make extra money in your spare time and even save on expensive textbooks and other school supplies.

Why College Students Should Consider Paid Surveys

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Taking paid surveys is a great way to earn extra cash while studying at college. I’ve been taking surveys for a few years, and that extra cash helps pay for expensive textbooks and other school supplies.

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It’s also great to have some extra cash to spend on other things like entertainment and food. If you’re a member of several good-paying survey panels, it all adds up.

However, juggling your studies and survey-taking can sometimes be challenging. Having done this for a few years, I’ve learned some important tips and techniques and thought I would share those with you.

Tips for College Students Taking Surveys for Money

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Many of these tips can apply to anyone just taking surveys, not just college students. Still, they are especially relevant to students balancing their time between studies and surveys.

Create a “surveys-only” e-mail address.

First and foremost, to be more organized and prevent confusion, I HIGHLY recommend creating a separate e-mail address for only survey-related e-mails.

Before signing up with any panels, this should be done because you want to use only that e-mail address for those survey companies.

I recommend using a free e-mail service such as Gmail or Yahoo. I use Gmail and have not had any issues. I have four separate e-mail accounts (personal, college, surveys, and junk). It helps to keep you organized.

Sign up with as many survey panels as possible.

To get the most out of the survey-taking experience and find out which panels work best for you, sign up with as many survey panels as possible when you first start, especially the most popular ones.

It can be overwhelming initially, but it gives you the best results. They only list the legitimate survey panels on their website, so you know you won’t be in danger of getting scammed (there are many survey websites out there that are not safe and some that even require you to pay them to use their services, so you have to be careful when searching for survey panels to join through regular search engines).

Also, check out the top 10 lists on their blog to see which survey panels work best for people. The survey reviews and many blog articles are extremely helpful, especially when starting out.

Some survey panels may send several survey invites a week, while others only send out a few a month or even less. It depends on your demographic and what you qualify for.

You can always drop out of the panels that don’t seem profitable. The important point is to find the ones that work best for you and focus on those.

Some top panels I recommend to start with Survey Junkie, Opinion Outpost, and LifePoints.

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Always fill out your profile surveys and remember to update them.

Filling out profile surveys can be very time-consuming depending on the survey panel, but doing so is well worth it. It’s best to do it right after signing up with a survey panel to get it out of the way.

Filling out profiles increases the number of surveys you will receive because the panel will know more about you.

Also, remember to update your profiles at least once a year, especially if anything important changes regarding your household or what school you are attending. I try to update my profiles every six months or so.

Check your e-mail frequently, if you can.

With surveys, it’s always best to check your e-mail account as often as possible so you don’t miss any important opportunities. This can be difficult to do with a busy lifestyle, especially in college.

My strategy is to check my e-mail whenever I get a break during the day. If I spot a high-paying survey, I’ll take it if I have time. If not, I’ll wait until later in the evening and hope the quota isn’t full. Some surveys fill up faster than others, especially if they pay a good deal.

I find this especially true of survey panels like Opinion Outpost and PrizeRebel. I usually have several breaks during the day (especially during the computer lab since I’m a design major), so I check my e-mail often when I have the time.

Set aside time each day to concentrate on taking surveys.

To better organize your time, set up a convenient time and distraction-free to focus on taking surveys, especially if you usually can’t do surveys throughout the day.

An hour or two should be sufficient, depending on how long you will put into it. Since I’m in class most of the afternoon, I set aside a few hours in the evening to focus on surveys.

I also sometimes take surveys during my breaks during the day, especially if I know the quota will be more than likely full by the evening when I get home or if the survey pays more than others.

You can use these top survey apps to make money on the go.

Keep your browser bookmarks organized and use tabs for quick access.

I keep a folder labeled “Surveys” in my Firefox and Google Chrome bookmarks. I put a bookmark for every company I take surveys from. I list the companies I use the most to make things easier.

I also keep shortcuts to my most-used survey panels on the top of my browsers for easier access. I like to multitask a lot, so I use tabs to access several surveys at once in Google Chrome.

I have Google Chrome configured to load multiple “homepages,” the survey websites I use most, like Toluna and SurveyTime. It just makes things easier and faster for me when I want to access survey websites to find surveys quickly.

Always try to take surveys in Internet Explorer.

I’ve had more problems using Firefox and Safari for surveys, so I always make it a habit to use Google Chrome. I rarely have problems using this browser for surveys. I honestly prefer Firefox for everything else, but for surveys, I always use Google Chrome because it is the most highly-used browser, and videos tend to load a lot better in it.

I tend to have issues loading survey videos in Google Chrome and Safari. Unfortunately, at my college, we mostly use Macs, so using Google Chrome isn’t always the best option. In that case, I use Firefox and hope for the best.

Keep records of surveys, especially high-paying ones.

I keep records of most surveys I take in a Word document.

Since I take so many, I don’t keep a record of every single survey I take (I don’t have the time to record each one), but I do record the ones that pay the most money in case I’m never paid.

Keep a record of cash-outs.

I always keep a Word document of all my cash-outs with survey panels. I keep it simple and list the survey company, what I cashed out for, and the cash-out date.

I also keep my screenshots of the cash-out in a separate folder. This helps me stay organized and is especially helpful for monitoring how long it takes for a survey company to pay me.

Take screenshots to use as evidence in case you don’t get paid.

I always take screenshots if I encounter an error on a survey I’ve spent a long time on, so I have evidence to help me get credited for it. I also take screenshots of my cash-outs in case I never get paid. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

Have a separate folder for survey-related papers sent by mail.

I keep a folder labeled “Surveys” in my room to store survey papers I receive through the mail. Most of these relate to product tests I’ve received, but I also sometimes receive mailed surveys (mainly through MySurveyJobs). It helps me stay organized and keep my survey papers and college papers separate from each other.

Keep an eye out for focus groups.

Invokes (interactive online focus groups) are typically found by searching surveys on popular survey sites such as Toluna and SurveySpot. Therefore, they do not appear frequently and are hard to come across. However, these are worth much more money than typical surveys and usually pay $20-40 for an hour or two of your time.

Look for surveys that have “sweepstakes only” in the incentive field or that are short and offer only a few points or cents. That is sometimes a clue. Sometimes, you get lucky, and it’s a short survey to see if you qualify for an Invoke.

Invokes are scheduled for a specific date and time, so ensure you have time to participate. I usually get invited to at least once a month. You can also try to qualify for focus groups that may be offered in your area.

Many companies specialize in conducting focus groups, some in person and some online (discussion forums are especially popular nowadays). However, it can be discouraging because qualifying can be hard, and quotas fill up quickly. I’ve only qualified for a few in the few years I’ve been taking surveys.

It’s definitely worth trying, though, since these focus groups can pay anywhere from $50-300 or even more in some cases. I’ve noticed some target college students specifically, especially those with electronics and entertainment.

Keep a lookout for product tests or trials.

I love product tests. It’s one of my favorite parts of doing surveys and really helps to save money as a college student because I don’t have to go to the store so often to pick up more shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, or other household items if I like what I’ve been sent to try.

For product tests, I definitely recommend signing up with Honeygain (I get a chance to earn passive income with bitcoin just by using my computer) and keeping an eye out for product test surveys on Opinion Outpost, OpinionWorld, and Swagbucks.

It’s hard to know exactly when a survey will lead to a product test, but the more surveys you take, the more likely you’ll come across them.

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Check university websites for surveys.

For more academically oriented surveys, I frequently check university websites for studies. Many are related to psychology or business.

My favorite websites for this are the eLab at the Yale School of Management and the Stanford University Psych Paid Experiments website (there are a few online studies, but most are in person at Stanford).

The downside is that many of these studies are prize-drawing only; not many pay you directly.

Their prize drawings usually include an gift card of $10 or more, and the likelihood of winning the drawing depends on how many people they have participated in the study (usually 10 to 50 people, but sometimes more).

Since signing up over a year ago, I’ve won several drawings from the Yale eLab, and I usually take a few of their studies each week if I have some extra time. The studies are also pretty fun and interesting, so I recommend trying them out if you can.

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