By: Kailee Traficante, EdM ’22
Editor’s Note: Whether you have recently been admitted, just submitted your application, or are at the beginning of your graduate school search process, you may have questions about student employment at HDS. In this article, we hope to provide some insight into the student employment opportunities, including tips from our graduate assistants who share their personal experiences on the job-searching process.
Graduate school can be a significant investment, and many students may be looking for part-time work to offset the cost of attendance. The good news is that there are many opportunities to find a student job across Harvard’s campus!
The Benefits of Having a Student Job
For many, the biggest benefit of having a student job is the income! Part-time employment can help ease any anxiety students might have about the financial burden that can come with being a full-time student and being away from the job market for a period of time. Student jobs can also help provide some flexible income that students might choose to use to start an emergency fund or save money for pursuing hobbies and exploring the Boston area with friends.
But the benefits of having a student job can also extend beyond finances. Part-time work can provide students with a way to get meaningfully involved in the Harvard community. It can also present opportunities for students to build skills that may be valuable in their post-HDS job search.
Fran’s Tip: I am a federal work-study student, so the main benefit of my job is having income to help me cover my tuition! However, my co-workers at the admissions office are all so kind and intelligent, spending time with them is also a perk. Plus, I am honing skills in communications and social media, which will be valuable when I am looking for other jobs in the future.
The Challenges of Having a Student Job
Admittedly, it can be challenging to be a full-time student and work part time – even working just 5-10 hours a week can take away from time you might have spent on your coursework or hobbies. For students who take on a student job while at HDS, it is important to balance your time each semester. Most on-campus positions expect students to work somewhere in the range of 10-15 hours per week, though it can vary. Luckily, most on-campus jobs are very flexible, especially around busy periods of the academic year, like finals!
Colin’s Tip: With a part-time job, know what your capacity is and don’t overstep your own boundaries when it comes to time, health, and school.
Types of Employment Opportunities
There are many different types of employment opportunities available across Harvard’s campus. Many graduate students complete Graduate Assistantships which can be found in many of the admissions, student services, or career services offices all over Harvard. Other students might pursue Research Assistantships, often working for a professor or a research center on campus. Still others might find work in a variety of other places – as a resident tutor/proctor in undergraduate housing, as a Teaching Fellow, or museum or library assistant.
Many students may be eligible for Federal Work Study (FWS), a federal aid program that provides students with subsidized employment earnings for the part-time work they do both on and off campus. To receive FWS, students must fill out financial aid forms and there are some additional regulations to be aware of, so be sure to check out the Financial Aid Office for more detailed information.
It is worth noting that MDiv students are required to complete two Field Education placements. Information about Field Education can be found on the Office of Ministry Studies website, but when looking for student employment, it might be helpful to keep in mind that this practice-oriented training may take up a significant portion of time; though, some students may receive financial compensation for their Field Education work.
Please note that international students should connect with the Harvard International Office regarding the visa requirements that may be required for on-campus employment.
Finally, there are also an abundance of opportunities available in the Greater Boston area, from paid internships to gig economy roles, like dog-walking or babysitting, that students can take advantage of, so be sure to explore!
Maggie’s Tip: There are over 70 libraries and special collections across Harvard’s campus! Many students I know have found part-time opportunities working at them!
Searching for Student Jobs
Student jobs often become available close to the start of each semester. HDS has its own Career Services Office that hosts events throughout the year and has lots of resources to help students find jobs. Many of the resources there are geared towards post-graduation employment, but students should keep on the lookout for on campus or internship opportunities.
The Student Employment Office at Harvard is also a popular place where students can search for on and off campus jobs, and, unlike Career Services, it is geared towards helping students find work on campus while they’re a student. Harvard students can register for the SEO’s jobs database and even sign up to receive job alerts for roles that fit their interest.
Student jobs can also be found in non-traditional places – Slack is a prominent means of communication across Harvard, and most degree programs have channels dedicated to sharing job opportunities. Lastly, tapping into the network of people at HDS can be a great way to find a student job! Professors, HDS Staff, and students are great sources of information about prospective employment opportunities.
Kailee’s Tip: All four of us GAs found our position at HDS Admissions through Slack! The role was posted on several of the Slack channels for new students over the summer, and we were able to connect with the team through that communication. Throughout the year, I’ve noticed that other students and professors have continued to share job opportunities through Slack. That being said, I would encourage students to stay on the lookout for opportunities in these unexpected places and tap into the network of resources at Harvard to find something that works for you!
Managing Your Time
Finally, working part time, especially while going to school full time, requires good time management skills. Here’s how we stay organized:
Maggie’s Tip: I map out my assignments a week in advance, so I can divide up my time and get everything done without getting overwhelmed.
Fran’s Tip: I try to keep my school and work times between 9 am and 5 pm. Though, admittedly, I will have more schoolwork sometimes – especially during finals or busy periods, this helps me maintain balance and have time for friends and extracurriculars.
Kailee’s Tip: I love lists! I write down everything I need to do, from getting groceries to writing papers. Getting my to-do’s out of my head and onto paper helps me ensure that I get things done.
Colin’s Tip: I use Google Calendar to keep track of my work and class times!
We hope that this post was helpful at explaining student employment at HDS. If you have additional questions feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.