Discover Studying Abroad

How to find on-campus jobs as an international student

Career services offices normally host job fairs twice a year in the fall and spring to help international students find on-campus work.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   02-02-2018
International student Ayushi Patel was the Student Employee of the Year nominee at Rochester University
International student Ayushi Patel was the Student Employee of the Year nominee at Rochester University.

Are you looking to earn some pocket money to help pay for school? International students who want to pick up part-time work while studying at US universities have the option of finding great on-campus employment.

“It’s really convenient to work at the Columbia University Bookstore as my classes are close to Lerner Hall. In addition to putting money in my pocket, the job gives me a 25% discount on general merchandise and a 10% discount on textbooks,” said English Literature major Anjali Patel.

Typical positions for international students are as a front-line employee in department offices where students answer phones, schedule appointments, direct students and visitors. International students may also serve as student librarians or work in the science lab as assistants, and they do not have to work in their field of study.

Most US universities have a website that lists all the available jobs on campus and describe the minimum requirements that students have to satisfy in order to be eligible.

However, be aware of stringent requirements that you must fulfill to work on campus.

  • Rule #1
    International students on F-1 visas are allowed to take on jobs on college campuses, but are not allowed to work off-campus, like a typical US student can, during their first year of school.
  • Rule #2
    Once international students are offered employment, they are required by the US Social Security Administration to obtain a Social Security number.
  • Rule #3
    Under US immigration laws, internationals in F-1 and J-1 student status categories are allowed to work on campus during regular enrolled semesters up to, but not more than, 20 hours per week.
  • Rule #4
    During annual vacation periods when students are not in class, they may work full time on campus.
  • Rule#5
    International student and career services offices normally hold job fairs twice a year in the fall and spring to help students find on-campus work.

Undoubtedly, the most prized job on campus is working as a research assistant for a professor. As an added bonus, the pay is typically above minimum wage, and allows a student to earn at least $15 an hour.

"You need a little seniority to be taken on as a research assistant. Research is generally a good opportunity to make some money. It also gives some heft to your resume,” says Gautam Pandey, a senior majoring in Economics at Rutgers University.

If you have the bandwidth for it you can also become a resident assistant, commonly shortened to RA, who supervises those living in a residence hall or dorm. They're the people you go to when something breaks in your dorm room, just as much as they're the people you go to when there's an emergency. Being an RA means you will have plenty of responsibilities, but you'll get paid for your pains. Some schools give RAs a pick of the best rooms, at no cost.

“I've encountered people who become an RA solely because of the money it saves by covering housing and food. It's a lot of work, so if you're literally only there to reap the benefits of it and you don't have any kind of passion for it, you will be miserable when you have to give up your free time to deal with residents,” Tatiana, an RA at a university in New York, told Cosmopolitan.

RAs also have the challenging task of enforcing a school’s policies on discipline, drugs and underage drinking. If you ignore the fact that your dorm residents are breaking the school rules, you risk getting in trouble if your supervisor finds out.



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