Many colleges and universities have recently slashed the number of work study positions they offer for qualified students because of decreased annual budgets. Fewer jobs mean higher competition. With so many students vying for so few positions, how can you be sure to get one? Taking the right steps before, during and after applying can mean the difference between employment and unemployment for college students this semester.
The first thing for all students interested in working on campus should do is fill out their financial aid information early. Completing and turning in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is an essential component to receiving work study positions, which are typically awarded to students that show financial need. Also, visit the financial aid office for advice and tips on completing the application properly and quickly. The earlier a student can complete this application, the greater their chances of work study employment are. For example, one college reported that they received over two thousand applications for only 72 work study positions for the upcoming fall semester. They were so bombarded that they stopped accepting applications April 1.
Another helpful tip for students is to be politely persistent. If you have applied for a position and do not receive it, ask the career office or financial aid office about a waiting list. Also, contact those offices periodically throughout the semester to inquire about new positions. Some positions can become available during the middle of the year if a previously hired student quits. It is also very important for students to appear professional during all stages of the application process. With so much competition, hiring managers can afford to be increasingly picky with their choices. This means students should dress professionally, submit appropriate-looking resumes and references and take the interview process seriously. Students that show up late, do not look professionally dressed or act nonchalant, can lose the opportunity of receive a work study position.
If a student has addressed each of these tips and is still unable to find a work study job, it might be time to consider expanding the search. Many colleges are hiring students as part time employees to replace the regular staff members that were laid off due to budget cuts. Also, many college communities offer off campus jobs that can fit within students' class schedules as well.