One topic that comes up often in my practice is whether or not to accept Federal Work-Study awards, or FWS. First, let me tell you what an FWS is not. An FWS is not a guaranteed job on campus. Therefore, if your kid receives an FWS, and your son or daughter arrives on campus expecting to go their first day on the job, forget about it. An FWS is merely an opportunity for your child to get a federally subsidized job on campus.
Once your child arrives on campus he or she is going to have to interview with managers on-campus (or in some cases off-campus) for the available work-study jobs. Colleges have different ways of advertising these jobs. Sometimes they are computerized and sometimes there are merely pinned to a bulletin board on the financial aid office wall.
It’s important to inquire with the financial aid office about exactly how to secure a work-study job, and how most students at a given college obtain their jobs. Don’t be surprised if some of your classmates actually secure jobs before they even arrive on campus, although in my case all the work-study jobs I ever received were found once I arrived on campus (I did FWS all four years of college).
Just one more thing: avoid any work-study jobs that involve food service. They are tough jobs, they will not allow you time to study, and frankly they are the “leftover” jobs (no pun intended) once everyone else has found easier jobs on campus.