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3 Tips for Parents Helping Their College Student Find a Work Study Job

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Working in a computer lab is one option for work study students.

Working in a computer lab is one option for work study students.

Will your student be looking for a work study job on campus? As a parent, you can advise your child on what to look for to find a good fit. I have a few tips based on my own experience helping my daughter find a work study job.

We used a three-step approach to decide what positions she should apply for:

1. Explore the Options

My daughter was not eligible for federal work study, but her school offers campus work study to anyone who is interested in an on-campus job. First, she needed to find general information on her school's campus work study program. We found all the details on the school website.

Next, she needed to find out what jobs were available. The school used a variety of means to communicate this information. Open jobs were posted on the school website starting the prior semester. During freshman orientation, there was a student services fair where she could pick up job applications from various campus departments and talk to department representatives about the types of positions available. Finally, there was a part-time job fair held the first week of school to recruit applicants for remaining openings.

2. Determine What's Most Important

Before my daughter applied for anything, I asked her what was most important for her in a job. For her freshman year, the most important thing was flexible hours to work around classes, athletics, and organizations she wanted to join. Beyond that, she said she ideally wanted something where she could sit at a desk, help people when they needed something, and do homework when it was slow.

Those criteria helped to narrow down the options considerably. Disqualified positions included food service, working as an official for intramural sports, and tutoring. Potential positions included residence hall desk attendant, library student assistant, and student union desk attendant.

3. Calculate the Number of Hours

Once she had it narrowed down to jobs she thought would meet her needs, my daughter still needed to determine how many hours a week she had available for work. I helped her determine this by first looking at the number of credits she was taking and then adding to that two hours of study time per week for every credit hour.

Then we looked at the number of hours she would put in for her sports practices and any standing meetings for other organizations she was involved with, eight hours of sleep a night, and a certain amount of fun time every week.

After talking through it, she was comfortable with the idea of working 10 hours a week. Then she just needed to make sure that fit in with the jobs she had identified.

In the end, my daughter found a great position as a library assistant, working later at night when the library is quieter. This provides an opportunity to read assignments when nobody needs help. It was a good choice to meet what she wanted in a job. Coaching your student through these steps can help ensure that he or she also finds the right fit to gain work experience, learn time management and contribute toward the cost of his or her education.

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