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Werk It: How to Work-Study and Internship


Workin’ it

Remember when you were touring Columbia and the junior leading the tour talked about students could easily take six classes, do a work-study job to make some money, and get a prestigious internship—all in the same semester?

Have you actually thought about doing any of that since starting classes? Never fear: Bwog has a quick and easy guide to work-studying and interning.


So it’s a new school year, and along with new classes (and new friends?) you might have received a different financial aid package. And by different we mean worse. And by worse we mean work-study.

Work-study is a required job where students work all semester long to pay off a tiny portion of the debt they’ve accumulated. The bright side of this particular hell is that Columbia makes it very easy for students to find and acquire a job.

Columbia’s Student Financial Services website is surprisingly helpful, with multiple links explaining how to find a job, what forms are required, and other necessary information.

In case you only trust Momma Bwog, here are the basics:

1. Visit Columbia’s Federal Work Study website to look for jobs.

LionSHARE also has some work-study jobs, but they are not separated from non-work-study positions.

2. Upload a resume on the Federal Work Study site for the Student Financial Services. If you are not sure on how to make a resume/if this is your first time/jobhuntingvirgin, visit the Center for Career Education in person, or their website. They have some information on resume building that may or may not be useful. Make an attempt to tailor it for the particular job.

3. Apply to your job through the same website that you’ve been doing alllllll of this searching.

4. Wait.

5. Pray. If they have given you contact information, contact them to confirm that they have received your information. Otherwise, pray some more.

Woo! You got that job. You nailed that interview. You have a work-study position! Don’t forget to fill out the required forms!

Now, go work in Kent while all of your friends are enjoying the nice weather.


Want to take advantage of Columbia’s excellent location in New York? Go to LionSHARE, find an internship, and apply through the site.

Just be warned: most internships—especially those that want liberal arts students—don’t pay. Instead of money, they’ll offer “academic credit.” Many companies, in fact, will only accept you as an intern if you’re eligible to receive “academic credit” because they think this makes the internship legal. (They’re wrong, but try telling them that.)

So how do you get academic credit? At Columbia, this credit, called “R credit,” is basically meaningless. It’ll go on your transcript, but it won’t count toward your degree. All you have to do is print this form, fill it out, and give it your academic advisor.

But what if you actually want to paid for your unpaid internship? That’s where Columbia’s Work Exemption Program comes in. (Barnard has a similar program.) It’s basically a scholarship for students who are doing unpaid internships or volunteering. So you could volunteer at a community center, AND get paid. (Don’t call it volunteering though. You’re making bank).

Just apply through the CCE website and hope you get chosen. This application is due by next Wednesday, though, so get on it. Jump on it. Whatever.

werk werk werk via Shutterstock

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  • at my work study job says:

    @at my work study job In what way is work study “required”? Obviously you don’t get the money if you don’t take it, but it’s not like anyone is forcing you to get a job or even to work enough hours to run out your allotment. Article also seems to imply that work study wages go straight towards paying off your bill, which is wrong – it goes into your bank account.

    Don’t knock it ’til you’ve tried it.

  • Someone who actually work-studies says:

    @Someone who actually work-studies A lot of this information is wrong or misguided. There’s nothing about the W4 or I9 forms, and you don’t mention that the library and public safety jobs have totally separate applications.

    If you’re not looking for one of the above two jobs, you’re probably best off ignoring the work-study website altogether and going to the payroll office in Butler in person to fill out a paper app. You just tell them what job you want and they match you within a day.

    Also, if you actually go to CCE, they’ll tell you that you’re really unlikely to get a WEP grant if you’re just “volunteering at a community center.” They get a ton of applications and will vet yours based on how well it ties into your academic and career goals, so if you’re an econ major, it wouldn’t make sense to do something education-related. The main exception is volunteering at a hospital as a premed.

  • Work Study Student says:

    @Work Study Student THE LIBRARY JOB FAIR IS TOMORROW! Come to Butler with your resume and class schedule.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous What about jobs for students whose work study was taken away by an outside scholarship? What are some casual jobs you can do on campus?

    1. Someone who actually work-studies says:

      @Someone who actually work-studies Do the calling center if you have a thick skin (and no self-dignity). Other jobs will hire you as work-study and let you do casual employment

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Pretty sure whoever wrote this article does not work-study

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