Side Hustle Scholarship: Win $2,500 for an Essay on Your Gig

College ain’t cheap.

Robert Farrington, aka The College Investor, knows this. That’s why he’s adding a way for current and prospective students to manage the ever-growing costs of higher education with a “Side Hustlin’ Student Scholarship,” which awards $2,500 to one winner and $1,000 to one runner-up.

Applicants should write a gripping 1,000-plus word essay about their side hustle. All finalists will have their essays published on his website.

“This scholarship is designed to help you save. But you have to show us what you’re doing to earn more,” Farrington wrote in the announcement of the 2020 scholarship. “[Essay] topics can include anything from how you started a business, to why you decided to get a job, to how your parents encouraged you to work.”

A “side hustle” may include a part-time job or two, but based on previous submissions, the gig should be creative – something with a bit more pizazz than working at the campus bookstore. 

For example, Farrington references his past endeavors slinging candy bars in middle school, then hawking stuff on eBay in high school before landing on a “real job.” The purpose of your essay is to weave your hustle into your personal story and larger career aspirations.

These days, getting a job to pay for college is the norm. But we found several employers who take that literally and offer programs to pay for their employees’ entire college tuition. Part-timers too.

“We want to hear about the creative and passionate ways that individuals are working towards their dreams – both literally and figuratively,“ he wrote.

Submissions are open to current college students and high school students with concrete plans to further their education at a community, technical or four-year college.

You have until March 31 to pen the essay that should be in a web-article format with appropriate subheadings. To submit your application, email Robert Farrington directly at robert@thecollegeinvestor.com. Be sure to include the keyword “scholarship” in the subject line of your email. In the body, include your name, address, phone number and a headshot to be published with your essay if you are selected.

Essays should be submitted in a word document, not in the body of the email. According to Farrington, “about 75% of all entries are disqualified because they don’t follow the basic instructions.”

After March 31, Farrington sifts through the submissions and publishes the top essays. (Last year, he published them on May 31.) On July 31, he will choose and announce a $2,500 winner and a $1,000 runner-up based on page views and social media engagement.

During that two-month period, finalists are free to generate as much buzz for their articles as they can.

“It doesn’t matter if your side hustle is earning $100 or $100,000,” Farrington wrote. “What matters is your effort, thought process, and goals. We want to know your story.”

Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He covers the gig economy, entrepreneurship and unique ways to make money. Read his ​latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.