On-Campus Jobs in USA: Everything You Need to Know About On-Campus Jobs in USA Universities

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Yocket Editorial Team

Updated on Oct 8, 2021

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International students studying in the United States are constantly looking for ways to supplement their finances and on-campus jobs come to the rescue. Many students won’t receive any Graduate Assistantship during admission, so it is important to find an on-campus job on reaching the campus. Since students can’t work outside the campus during the 1st year, an on-campus job is your only option if you want to pay your own bills.

Difference between Off-campus Jobs and On-campus Jobs in USA for International Students

Before we understand more about on campus jobs in USA, let us understand the difference between on-campus and off campus jobs.

On Campus Jobs

Off- Campus Jobs

Students are required to work on the university campus

The jobs’ location is outside the university campus

No separate authorization is needed

Students need authorization in the form of OPT and CPT or severe economic hardship.

Jobs are related to the support and operation of the university

Jobs can be related to any field depending on the kind of authorization.

These can be either voluntary or paid jobs.

They are mostly paid jobs or internships

Students can start on campus jobs, right from the first academic year.

Students can start the jobs after completing the first academic year.

Rules of On Campus Jobs for International Students in USA

For a student interested in how to get on campus job in USA, it is first important to understand the requirements for getting an on-campus job:

Here are the rules for on campus jobs in USA:

  • Students must maintain a valid F-1 Visa Status

  • Students must be enrolled full time during fall and winter semesters

  • Students can work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session during the academic year

  • During official university holidays and breaks, students can work full-time (more than 20 hours per week) on-campus

  • Students should not engage in on-campus employment after the program end date listed on their

  • The employment may not displace (take a job away from) a U.S. resident

Advantages of On-Campus Jobs for International Students in USA

On campus jobs in USA can be beneficial for international student in the following ways:

  • Students can earn some extra cash

  • The Work experience gained can add value to the Resume / CV

  • Students get the opportunity to interact with fellow students

  • Helps in developing multitasking, communication and interpersonal skills.

  • The Recommendation letters and personal references earned can help in future education or employment

How to get On-Campus Job in USA - 7 Tips for International Students

On campus jobs for international students in USA are a good way to earn money while you are studying. The work is not intensive and the pay is decent. If you are a little fortunate, you may even find an Assistantship on-campus that can pay for your full or half tuition fee along with a nice stipend. Here are some useful tips from my experience that can help you get an on-campus job:

  1. Don't limit your resume

Many jobs require certain skills like computer programming. Don’t think you are not qualified for the job just because you don’t know these skills right now. Most jobs don't require you to be an expert, but merely be knowledgeable enough to assist as an expert. So, don’t hesitate to learn new skills. I was an MBA student with an undergrad in Biotechnology, but I worked on-campus as a graduate assistant, designing websites. It paid for my full-tuition and gave me a decent stipend.

  1. Visit all the departments at the University

There is nothing more effective than good old leg work. Print out 20-30 copies of your resume and visit every department regardless of your major or interest. Many students find decent hourly jobs and even graduate assistantship in most unusual departments (Health, Career, Bursar, Athletic center, Graphics, etc.). I was an MBA student, but my graduate assistantship was in information technology at Health services. My previous hourly job ($12/hour) was in the social science department designing event posters.

  1. Take any type of job possible

Any job is better than no job at all. Jobs in university cafeterias or in on-campus Starbucks may not seem like a good opportunity if you are pursuing master’s or Ph.D., but it will help you pay the bill while you look for a better opportunity. You can easily switch jobs, it doesn’t require major paperwork and any on-campus experience will benefit you in getting your next big gig.

  1. Don’t give up once the semester starts

Most students enthusiastically look for a job at the beginning of the semester, but then stop looking once the classes start as they think that all positions are filled. That is not the case. Many new positions open after the start of classes due to various reasons. Keep visiting all departments even after the semester begins, there is no harm or embarrassment in going back asking again. This will also keep you on the top of the list if a position is available in the next semester. I also got my first job in the middle of the semester.

  1. Arrive on-campus as early as possible

Many departments at the university release job vacancies and graduate assistantships close to the start of term. U.S on-campus jobs are very competitive. You are already at a disadvantage as people with experience in the U.S. will be given preference. Arrive as early as possible to find an opportunity. Come before the “New student orientation” as after that you will have to compete with other international students. Coming a week early will not add anything significant to your budget but it can help you find a decent job for two full years.

  1. Network with Seniors

Find a way to communicate with international students who are already studying on campus. Start this as soon as you get your visa approved or when you receive admission. Seniors know the available job vacancies and can use their own contacts to help you in finding an on-campus job even before you arrive. Seniors are often asked by their employers to find their replacements before they graduate. Use Facebook pages to find those connections and talk to them about finding opportunities. Everyone will not be helpful, but some will be.

  1. Join Professional Societies and Clubs

Since most GA positions and jobs are not advertised on notice boards, networking can be an effective tool in finding out available jobs on-campus. Societies are a good way to network with students from different colleges and departments who may have such information. It will also allow you to expand your friend circle.

Having a monthly source of income in a foreign country will give you a good sense of security and satisfaction, so don’t underestimate the value of an on-campus job even if you can afford to pay for everything. Studying in the US can be a great experience and being able to fund it yourself can be something you take pride in for the rest of your life.

Have fun and enjoy the ride.

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