An Ode to the Work-Study Program

As the summer unwinds, we get closer and closer to that time of year! No, I'm not talking about course selection, or frosh week or even Ribfest (although I should be, I mean have you tried those ribs?!). As the end of the summer draws closer, it means it's time for...WORK-STUDY POSTINGS! Do you want to have a cool, fun job, where you can pretend to 'adult' (whatever that means), while still getting the most out of university? Then fear not my friends, for you have come to the right place!
Nothing quite says 'adult' like taking selfies at your desk during work
A quick background on the work-study program: The work-study program is offered to help students develop their professional skills through various jobs on campus. The jobs run for the majority of the term (either summer or fall/winter). To be eligible, you need to be taking a minimum of a 40% course load. The best part is that you only have to work a maximum of 12 hours per week, so you have plenty of time to study, participate in student groups, or pursue other things you love! In my first two years here, I didn't think I would really benefit from a work-study position, since I already had a part time job. I finally decided to apply during my summer school term. and trust me, it was no easy task, but definitely worth it. The first day the positions opened on the Career Learning Network (CLN), there were over 500 postings. Thankfully, the CLN has some pretty nifty filters that you can use to find jobs that suit you. Cover letters and tailored resumes tend to feel like the bane of my existence, so I ended up using some of the online resources from the CLN and U of T's career centre website. Tucked away in Koffler Student Services Centre is the Career Centre, where you can even get one-on-one help with a career educator!
Actual early version of my cover letter.
After polishing up my resume and cover letter, and applying to about 12 different positions, I landed a few interviews. Finally, I got an amazing research assistant position at the the Institute for Health Policy, Management and Evalution (AKA my dream job as an undergraduate in health studies). This is why I love the work-study program so much, and I regret not applying to it earlier. You get the same experience without the time commitment of a full-time job. Although some people take to balancing school, work and life really well, for me, it's not the easiest thing to accomplish. The work-study allows you to have more time. I used my time this summer for another job, summer courses and some relaxing!
Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 2.47.55 PM
#TBT to that time I relaxed a little too much
So mark your calendars, U of T! Postings go up on Monday, July 28th. Don't miss out! If you have and questions or concerns about how to apply or how it works, let me know in the comments, or on Twitter at @Api_UofT!

3 comments on “An Ode to the Work-Study Program

  1. Hi, I want to ask how you handled having multiple interviews. What did you do if multiple places hired you? Do you have to accept on the spot / do they make you accept on the spot? Or can you think about it because you have pending interviews to attend.

    1. Hey Carla!

      Basically, when I got multiple interviews, I just went to all of them. It never hurts to explore your options, just be careful not to double schedule! Also, I didn’t have to accept on the spot, because they told me they would get back to me! To my knowledge, they don’t make you accept on the spot, but that does depend on the job posting. Don’t hesitate to ask the poster about when you may hear from them!

      You might not be able to hold off on giving a response to the employers for too long, but if you do get an offer for a job you really like, then definitely seize the opportunity! Just remember that you can not accept more than one work-study position at at time!

      Hope that helped! 🙂

  2. Hi Api!

    Just like you, i never thought of applying for a work-study position in first year since I already have a part-time job. But now I’m really considering doing so for next year and I really appreciate this blog post! (although im one year late in reading this haha)

    First off, what tips would you give to someone who also needs some resume and cover letter polishing?
    Also, do you think it’s rare for a second year student to be accepted into a Research assistant position especially without experience (other than the bio and chem labs..)?

    Thank you so much!

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