College Advice Blog

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Nov 30, 2012

How to Choose a Winning Work Study



Work Study programs provide an excellent way for both undergraduate and graduate students to make money and earn job experience while they are in college. While not everyone will have a work study position related to their intended career paths, this is ideal, as it can boost your chances of landing the job you want after graduation. Work Study programs can be federal or non-federal in nature. Federal or government programs provide jobs and subsequent financial aid to those students who are deemed eligible based on their finances and their academic performance. Non-federal work study positions are not awarded based on need and can be harder to come by than federal positions. However, they are worth applying for if, for whatever reason, you do not qualify for federal work study.

All students who participate in work study programs will earn at least minimum wage. However, different positions will have different pay rates, often based on experience, relevance to your major, and certain other factors. Generally, if you stay with a work study position for several semesters or even through different academic years, you will receive pay raises on a regular basis.

Students who participate in work study will work on campus, which gives them increased flexibility and enables the job to work around their schedule. Many individuals work in campus stores or on other campus sites, like food services, the library, or even the main office. Others work directly with teachers, often as teaching assistants or as researchers. Some students, usually graduate students, will even be able to teach courses themselves, jobs which often pay the most.

The number of hours you will be expected to work will vary from position to position. It is important that you discuss hours and your schedule when you apply for the job. Remember to dress professionally for your work study interview, if one is required. Many students do not regard work study positions as being as serious as real jobs, though professors and other employers treat them as such. It would be a shame not to get a job just because you didn't dress the part at your interview.

If you think that work study may be for you, there are some helpful tips to keep in mind. First and foremost, start looking for positions early on! They tend to go very quickly, with many students applying during the summer or winter breaks. Sometimes, by the time classes start, all of the available positions are already filled up. And, just as you should dress professionally for work study interviews, craft a professional resume to submit when you apply for different positions. If you have a career center or its equivalent on campus, you can often receive help creating and properly formatting your resume. Your college advisor may also be able to offer assistance with your resume.

Make sure that you don't take on more than you can handle either. While everyone wants to make money, your school work and doing well academically should always be your first priority. If you start working and find that your grades or slipping or your job is too demanding, talk to your employer first. Most are understanding and will do whatever they can to help you work successfully and to do your very best academically as well.

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About the Author 
This article was composed by Ty Whitworth for the team at Santa Fe University; be sure to check out Sante Fe University, an increasingly respected and recognized educational institution among New Mexico colleges and universities.

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