Thanks for stopping by to check out my StudySoup review. One of the toughest times you'll have financially is when you're in school. I remember what's it like being a broke student like it was yesterday 😀
You need a few extra bucks and the best way to get paid, is for doing something you're already doing… like taking notes in class. Of course, it’s not quite that simple but if a little more money is what you want, let's see if we can find a way to make it. In this review we’ll look at the details of what StudySoup is and how it works.
You may have also read that StudySoup is a scam, and there are a couple reasons for that. I’ll go over those and explain why StudySoup is not a scam.
Please note, I am not a member or an affiliate for StudySoup. This review has been researched with information and/or testimonials that are available online in the public domain. Any recommendations and/or conclusions are strictly opinions and may not to apply to, or agree with, all persons or situations. See full disclaimer for more info
What Is StudySoup?
Based out of San Francisco California, StudySoup is like Napster for College students. A peer to peer exchange for study materials…
Founded by 2 college students as a solution to their own note-taking challenges, it’s a unique... and in hindsight, an obvious use of the web which offers real value (not just cat pictures).
It’s also more than a simple exchange. It provides students the ability to earn money while in school (making parents everywhere happy).
Being a student is anything but easy . You've got pressure coming at you from every direction, the last thing you need are money worries.
The great thing about being a student today though, is the internet. Sure, it helps you connect with friends but knowing how to use it to make money is what you want.
And since you're up to your eyeballs in schoolwork, a simple way to make money is what you need to get what you want.
Is StudySoup a Scam?
One of the first comments I read when looking into StudySoup, was that it was a scam. There’s certainly a lot of people trying to rip us off out there (especially online), but I was confident that StudySoup was legit.
So, what’s going on here?
If you go to the Better Business Bureau website you will find some customer billing complaints. For a company that is now serving over a million students, a few billing complaints doesn't make them a scam.
Having said that... pay attention to the small print if you’re buying a StudySoup subscription. You can buy an $11 per month membership… but you will be billed annually (your credit card will be charged $133).
Normally, it won't an issue... but some might overlook this detail, see a bigger than expected charge on their card, and jump to conclusions.
A rare occurrence maybe, but I must admit… I’ve paid for things online at 1 and 2 am in the morning, tired, eyes half shut... and not paying attention.
You may have also run into scam comments like this,
There are others, also calling it a scam and complaining about not getting paid.
But what about those who are getting paid?
I suspect that StudySoup doesn't pick favorites when then decide who gets paid, and who doesn't.
Those who are getting paid have obviously met the minimum requirements (I’ll get more into those details below, but in general… you must be consistent with your notes throughout the semester, making them available to your classmates… and, there is a minimum payout threshold).
You also won’t get paid if you haven’t properly set up your payment details (Paypal, direct deposit information, etc.)
So, what's the issue with those who are NOT getting paid? We can speculate, but chances are there's something they are forgetting, or just not telling us in their review.
It leads me to think there is a communication breakdown somewhere (between StudySoup and it's members)... but that also does not make StudySoup a scam.
Can You Get In Trouble For Posting Your Notes?
Other areas where the scam issue comes up, are regarding legal challenges and cheating.
StudySoup is not a platform that encourages cheating (you’re not posting copies of your exams for example…).
It is simply a learning tool.
Then there are issues of school policy and plagiarism. What happens in the classroom, stays in the classroom.
Unless your teacher, or your school owns the exclusive rights to knowledge, it’s pretty hard to break any rules here. We are not talking about sharing creative works, proprietary information, or copies of school materials.
Also... your exams are not testing you on concepts and facts that are the sole property of your teacher.
Put another way...
A great deal of what you're learning will eventually be used (and shared) in your career. Some of you may even go on to teach the same material.
Should you be worried about sharing what you learned in College for the rest of your life... because someone might take legal action, or reprimand you for breaking school policy?
While some might consider this entire concept a scam... until the day a school or teacher OWNS the square root of twenty-five, or the laws of thermodynamics… you should be fine.
Of course… you must use good judgement here. There will be moments when teachers share original content, or the school provides copyrighted materials which you can't post (aka sell) word-for-word... but that is not what StudySoup is asking you to upload.
How Does It Work? Becoming an Elite Notetaker...
The requirements to getting started are that you are preparing for a grad school entrance exam, or enrolled in an undergrad or grad course with 50 or more students.
There are options for fewer than 50 students, but they come with reduced pay and each exception is dealt with on a case by case basis.
The application process is free, which is followed by a training session. You will then be given the contact information to your Regional Lead who can help you along further. Success Coaches are also available.
If none of this sounds appealing to you, then making money doing surveys on sites like surveyjunkie.com may be a better option. You can also make money watching videos, searching the web and visiting websites with Swagbucks.
Another option, if you're ready to take on the world 😀 ... is to start an online business.
StudySoup Pay Structure
A brief disclaimer here…
StudySoup may make changes to their payment schedule at any time, so please be aware that the following information is not set in stone.
Also… most of this information is from various sources. Most of which have inconsistencies.
Requirements To Getting Paid
Before we talk about the way you get paid, and how much… there are some requirements you need to be aware of.
The basic requirements are,
- You must upload your notes on a weekly basis (at least 8 weeks of notes within a 12-13 week semester, or roughly 70%).
- Create a study guide for each exam and upload it at least 4 days prior to the exam.
- Share your link (to your uploaded materials) with your classmates through your messaging tool.
You can do this for a maximum of three classes per semester, but StudySoup only recommends two. Obviously, you only have so much spare time, and taking on more than you can handle will result in low quality and rushed uploads.
For more details, as well as some Q&A, you can watch this StudySoup training video…
How Much Will I Be Paid?
This is where things get muddy, and it’s definitely one of the issues I have with StudySoup. They are asking students to make time for registering, training and ultimately working for them... but they’re not providing a black & white payment schedule for which they can be held accountable.
Students should have a well-defined objective.
In my opinion, a complete payment outline should be provided on their website or in a pdf file that students can download and use as reference... but for whatever reason, it’s not.
Even when listening to some of the Regional Leads, it’s seems they don’t fully understand the payments structure either (or it’s too confusing or complex to be written out and published).
Anyway… there are 4 ways you can get paid.
- Uploading Your Notes
- Creating Study Guides
Pay for study materials is broken down into base pay, commissions, and bonuses.
- Base Pay – Base pay is only paid on study guides (your weekly notes are not eligible for base pay). Again, I could not find a specific rate for creating and uploading study guides, but reported pay from some members is somewhere between $25 - $60 per study guide (and per course) depending on things like class size.
- Commisson – Commissions are paid on all uploaded materials and based on the number of people who purchase/download them. The rate is as high as 50% (the other 50% going to StudySoup) but here again, the specifics get complicated.
The actual amount of your commission will depend on the subscription plan your “customer” has purchased which ranges from $11 – $32 per month depending on whether they pay annually, bi-annually, or monthly.
- Bonuses - Bonuses are based on providing consistent uploads all season.
When everything is said and done… StudySoup claims that the average pay ranges between $300 and $500 per class, with top earners taking home a total (based on a max of 3 classes) of $2000+ per semester.
There are also advancement opportunities. From an Elite Notetaker you can progress to becoming a Campus Mentor, and then a Regional Lead.
Finally… you can also earn money for referring your friends. You are paid $5 for each referral who joins, completes training and uploads their materials.
What I Like
- You are getting paid for doing something you should be doing anyway… taking notes and learning.
- The real benefit is getting a much deeper learning experience when you create for others. Compiling your notes and building study guides stimulates your brain in ways that simply buying and reading them cannot.
- Helping others.
- Valuable experience you can add to your resume.
What I Don’t Like
- Vague (and mixed) information.
- Multiple reports of payment issues (from both customers and notetakers). The issue here is not the payments… but the poor customer service and communication which moved those people to write those complaints and negative reviews in the first place.
- Commissions. As someone who spent 10 years in outside sales, working for commissions is bitter sweet and often stressful (students have enough stress). The earning potential can far exceed your base pay… but you can’t count on it.
Putting in the time and effort required to become a sales person is not what your focus should be on. StudySoup is meant to help, not hinder your studies.
If you’re in school to learn (not kill time and socialize), there’s little downside in joining StudySoup.
Yes, there is a chance you won’t earn a ton a money… but the real benefit is that StudySoup turns your study time into a goal oriented mission. Not only are you learning on a deeper level, but you’re doing it for the added incentive of getting paid.
Of course… it’s not for everyone, but there are other ways you can make money online because who wants to be a broke student?
As if you need more in your life to worry about?
Now, money won't solve all of your problems, but it helps. You can only serve so many tables or stand behind a counter so long. Supplementing your income online is what you want.
Of course, as a student you're also in a time crunch, so finding the most simple strategies is what you need in order to get what you want.
For a more substantial income you also have the option of starting an online business.
But StudySoup is also a great opportunity and if it sounds like your thing, you can get started here.
I hope this StudySoup review was helpful and if you have an comments or questions, please share in the comments section below.