4 Tips for Making Work-Study Work for You

August 18, 2011 | posted by Tia Peterson.

work-studyWork-study is a type of federal financial aid that was created under The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 to allow schools to provide more financial aid to students while benefiting from work the student would do in exchange[1]. Much of the program’s guidelines have changed since it was instituted, but the goal is still the same: to provide more aid to students with financial need.

When I was in college, I participated in various forms of work-study and feel that it’s a great way to help pay for college as well as give yourself something productive to do.

Work-study jobs are real employment positions that are available in nearly every department on campus. Sometimes, the positions are not restricted to work-study students; they are actual paid jobs that are simply open to students in the work-study program. Under most circumstances, your financial aid package will include how much money in work-study you can earn, and then you are responsible for finding a position at your school that will qualify for work-study.

Work-study is a great opportunity to earn your way through college. Here are some tips for making the most of it!

1. Apply early for the best jobs.

When you find out that work-study is part of your financial aid award, get to work right away at finding a job on campus that qualifies. Work-study jobs are not assigned to you; you have to apply for them and sometimes interview for them just like you would a regular job.

Not all campus jobs are going to qualify for work-study, and the best jobs go fast. Usually, schools will have a job board, and sometimes the jobs are posted online. If a position you want is available, apply right away – even if it doesn’t begin until the following semester.

2. For resume-building experience, try to work in your preferred department.

You may be able to get a job that’s closer to what you want to do later in life if you search for it. Instead of waiting for a job to be posted, get in contact with your major’s department and ask what they have available in terms of work-study. If you are majoring in photography, for example, there may be a few administrative positions open that would qualify for the work-study program.

3. Find a work-study opportunity that’s fun.

If you can’t find something in your department, try working somewhere you think might be fun, such as the gym or even the cafeteria. Believe me when I say that some of the funniest moments in my college experience happened while joking around on the job when I was working in the cafeteria. It’s a great way to take a break from your studies, and it’s more fun than the library. :)

4. Get enough rest and schedule time to study.

Work-study programs are specifically designed to limit a student’s time spent working, so that there is enough time to study and attend class. Still, if you’re like me, you’ll be tired on the days when you have classes and work. Get plenty of rest.

Additionally, you might have to say no to certain activities so that you have enough time to study. When you’re in college, no one is going to be keeping you in line when it comes to sleep and studying, so you have to do that for yourself.

Fall semester is right around the corner and for some of you, it has already started. Good luck!

Source [1]: http://www.compact.org/earn-learn-and-serve-getting-the-most-from-community-service-federal-work-study/a-brief-history-of-the-federal-work-study-program/

Image: Renjith Krishnan