Advice for Student Workers
Academics, Work, Life: Finding the Balance When You Need to Work
Managing your finances and income efficiently will help you avoid the need to sacrifice your academic and extracurricular goals. Given Yale Student Employment’s relatively high hourly wages, you may be tempted to work as many hours as you can (up to 19 hours/week). During high school, you may even have worked a job for up to twenty hours per week and been able to keep up with your schoolwork.
However, working the maximum number of hours at Yale will make it virtually impossible for you to keep up with your Yale academic workload. Most students find that the increased complexity and amount of college-level work significantly increases their time spent out of class on schoolwork as compared to high school.
As a result, working the maximum amount that you can will lead to imbalance and stress. It is critical to find a balance of school, work and life that helps you achieve financial stability without compromising your education.
Academic Work is the Top Priority
Your academic, extracurricular, and professional goals should be your primary focus during your time as a student at Yale. While the student income contribution may mean you’ll need to put in a certain number of hours of employed work per week, your school-work-life balance should include the time to commit to your personal objectives.
Finding stability between the right amount of paid work alongside the demands of coursework will bring you a more satisfying Yale experience. Your greater satisfaction will bring along with it a higher likelihood of success. Plan out your finances and time to learn what you need to do to create this stability for yourself.
Actively Manage Your Time
Your success in working a job and prioritizing academic success at Yale will come down to time management and a clear-as-possible understanding of what your goals are for the semester and academic year. There will be times during the year when you can put in more hours for your campus job, and other times when you will have to focus more energy on your academics. The key is to plan both your academic and paid work ahead of time. The Academic Strategies Program offers support for this planning through its Time Management and Pathways workshops, and through individual meetings with peer mentors.
Strategic Student Employment: Navigating On-Campus Jobs
Access the 2017 Student Jobs Handbook here.
To find possible on-campus jobs, visit the Yale Student Employment Site at www.yalestudentjobs.org. All open/available campus jobs are posted here under the Student Job Search, and you can create an advanced search according to several criteria. Start looking at the site a few weeks before school starts and through the first few weeks of class. If you see something you’re interested in, apply right away. The most attractive jobs will have many applicants, and you may have to apply to several different jobs before you are hired.
As you begin your job search, consider how many hours you can realistically expect to work every week. According to a 2010 American Association of University Professors report, working an on-campus job a moderate number of hours per week (10-15) can have a positive impact on students’ academic experiences. Working more than 15 hours per week, however, has been shown to have a negative impact on students’ academic work. At Yale, working up to 10 hours seems to offer the best balance for most students.
In your first year, it may be easier to work one job that gives you a steady schedule and may not be too taxing, even if it pays a slightly lower hourly rate. The consistency of the schedule and having a job that allows you to work at a lower level of intensity can be helpful as you get used to the very intensive academic, extracurricular, and social pace of undergraduate life at Yale. In your later years, you may want to take on higher paid work that may have some relation to your academic or career interests. Often these jobs are more intensive and may offer fewer hours, so you may have multiple jobs which require more intensive time management on your part.
Many students find out about good campus jobs through other students. Ask your formal and informal peer mentors for suggestions for jobs you might apply for. FroCos, Pre-Orientation trip mentors, Peer Liaisons, FSY Counselors, OIS Counselors, and upper-level students in your college and your extracurriculars can be good sources of information about different jobs, their expectations, and time commitment. FGLI students seeking employment opportunities are encouraged to join the Facebook group to stay updated with announcements from peers.
For more information about finding and applying for jobs, visit the Yale Student Employment website: https://www.yalestudentjobs.org
Earning Money During the Summer
In 2017-2018, the expected Student Summer Income Contribution was $2600 for upper-level students (and only $1700 for high-need upper-level students). This expectation can easily be met if you are able to live rent-free at home and work a full-time hourly job during the summer.
However, many Yale students use their summers to study abroad, pursue summer research, or work low-paying and unpaid internships. Most students pay for these opportunities through their International Summer Award (ISA), Domestic Summer Award (DSA), and fellowships, which can cover the cost of travel and living expenses for the study abroad, research and internship programs they are engaged in. See our page on Opportunities of Interest for FGLI Students to learn more about available opportunities.
Many students find that working just a few additional hours each week during the year can cover much of the expected Student Summer Income Contribution. Students might also work extra hours for Yale Spring Salvage, graduation, or other special events to help make up the difference.
Outside scholarships can also help; Yale Financial Aid suggests these scholarship resources. Keep in mind that relevant scholarships will appear throughout the school year, and you may want to spend some time during October break to prepare materials so you can be ready when a scholarship is announced. Also, it’s better to apply for scholarships well before their deadlines, as some scholarships are awarded on a rolling basis.
Finally, some students may decide to take out a small student loan when it is extremely difficult to earn income over the summer and term-time earnings can’t quite cover the shortfall.