Series: A Graduate Student’s Guide (On-Campus Jobs)

by Rashmi Jeswani, Information Sciences and Technologies MS student

I thought of starting a series called ‘A Graduate Student’s Guide’ that will include individual blogs about finding on-campus jobs, looking for a co-op, and several more! The first one in the series is ‘A Graduate Student’s Guide to finding on-campus jobs’!

After I paid my $300 deposit last summer and decided that RIT was the perfect place for me, I began to explore the numerous resources and opportunities that the university had to offer. After some research, I stumbled upon ‘Handshake’: the online job portal for the university that lists details about the various on-campus jobs as well as internships and co-op listings. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a listing called the ‘Graduate Liaison’ at the Graduate Enrollment Office offering a great working environment and decent pay; I immediately applied for the job knowing that it was only a few months that I arrive at the university and had an interview scheduled for as soon as I came to the country. All this prior research helped me in landing one of the best on-campus jobs which have massively helped me take care of my personal expense whilst pursuing my masters.

A lot of people ask me about the best ways a student can find and land good on-campus jobs; this blog talks about the different ways one can look for jobs on campus and the several jobs available on campus that best suits their interests and helps take care of financial liabilities as an international student.

Research on Handshake 

Handshake is RIT’s online job portal. Almost 90% of the employers on campus post job listings on the portal where the students have to upload their resume as well as other requested documents. These students are then shortlisted by employers and contacted for further interviews. Employers actively post job listings on the portal hence if one has to look for the best jobs on campus, Handshake is your go-to portal.

It is a simple but powerful search tool and alert system that helps students find the best fit for jobs (on as well as off campus) and internships posted by 300,000 companies, non-profits, and government organizations.

Visit this link to access Handshake. (Please note that the portal is only accessible to students after they have paid their $300)

Dining Services 

RIT Catering manages tons of events both on and off-campus and they are always looking for people who are friendly, punctual, and ready to help bring food and drinks to some of the most exclusive RIT events! Lots of the events that RIT Catering handles take place on campus for art gallery openings, club and organization meetings, and even the annual president’s ball which gives you an awesome chance to meet new people ranging from faculty in some of RIT’s academic colleges all the way up to RIT’s current president! Catering also is responsible for lots of the food at the RIT hockey games so chances are that landing a job here means you will get to watch lots of games for free! Dining Services offers the most number of jobs on campus and they are relatively easier to land. Students can look for postings on Handshake or simply visit a dining facility and ask for open positions.

Note Taking

Because RIT shares a campus with NTID (the National Technical Institute for the Deaf), many classes will require a designated Note Taker for some of our deaf or hard of hearing students. People need to be very reliable for this position because you are not allowed to miss any classes. This person, normally a student, clocks in before their classes, takes notes on the lecture, submits the notes, and then clocks out. Because note takers work during their class time, you end up feeling like you are being paid to go to class and if you already take good notes then this might be the perfect job for you!

Teaching/Research/Graduate Assistants

After their first semesters at the university, a majority of graduate students end up finding graduate/teaching/research assistantships under their professors that provide them exposure working with experienced people in the industry or gives them an opportunity to research in their field of interest. These jobs offer a fixed stipend or tuition waiver opportunities and are one of the favorite on-campus jobs for students that look impressive on the resume as well.

Each department offers a certain number of graduate assistantships to the students at the start of the fall semester. Teaching and Research Assistantships are offered by particular professors and they are to be approached directly.

I ended up finding a Lab Assistant opening at the Information Sciences and Technologies department through a friend who was graduating that semester. Through his recommendation, I was able to bag an interview with the Head Systems Administrator for the department and ended up getting the job. Recommendations work wonders when finding any kind of job (whether on campus or off campus) and one should always be on the lookout for such opportunities through friends, colleagues or mentors.

Peer Advisor Leaders/Student Government/Global Union Ambassador

Several students organization at RIT like the International Student Services, Global Union and the Student Government offer several part-time opportunities to the students interested in being a part of such organizations. The ISS offers the positions of graduate assistants and Peer Advisor Leaders (PALS) that offer their services during the orientation period and help incoming students with a smooth transition into the university and the life in the US. Global union ambassadors perform similar duties year-long on campus. Student government offers certain positions as well (eg. the graduate senator) to students interested in holding a certain amount of power and responsibility among the student body. Listings for these jobs are sent out through emails and special postings on-campus groups or handshake.

On-campus vs Off-campus Housing at RIT

by Ami Patel, Computer Science MS student

This is an important debate for new students and especially those who aren’t from the Rochester area. There are so many factors and facilities that play a role while finalizing the housing. As someone who has lived both on and off campus here, I feel my perspective can help you out a little. So here are key factors and comparisons of how the options defer.

First thing, what do I describe as on-campus? Any housing communities owned by RIT, whether on campus (Riverknoll, Colony Manor, Perkins Green, Greek Housing, Residence Halls) or situated few miles away from RIT (there are two in this case which is The Racquet Club and RIT Inn). Also, there are two other privately owned communities on the RIT campus. The rest of the housing options I mention in this blog are off-campus accommodations.

Now that we have outlined the terminology, let’s jump to different factors. It always starts with the cost. Rent for the on-campus resident halls and apartments range from $500-$1000/month per person. You can check the rates for individual options here. It’s difficult to draw a line for off-campus options, but I will say you will generally find this between $300-$700/month per person.

Next thing that follows is the privacy – shared or private bedroom. You will find both options at both the places but off-campus tends to be cheaper for both the options. You will also need to consider the cost of transportation. For some cases, with transportation costs, it might cost same as on-campus.

So that brings us to the commute factor. All the on-campus options have access to the RIT Shuttle services, which run from 7ish am till 1:30ish am. Some of the off-campus options are connected to RIT through the city bus transport or by their own private bus to RIT. If you have our own car, off-campus options get much better. Public city bus transport costs $1 for each trip regardless of the distance.

Furnished vs unfurnished – Of course, furnished ones will be on the pricer side. It will be cheaper to furnish on your own than paying that extra money every month for a furnished option. If it’s off-campus, unfurnished is more idea and cheaper.

Well, the last one is quite abstract – amenities. If you are living on-campus all the RIT resources are accessible all the time. Off-campus apartment communities will have some kind of amenities, but, if it’s a private house, there won’t be any. For more resources, you will have to come to the campus.

From my experiences, I feel off-campus is cheaper and a good option if you have your own car or if you are okay with the commute time. On-campus is more convenient for people who prefer better & quicker access to the campus, not plan on having a car or aren’t used to the type of weather Rochester has.

Also, I would like to add how to go house hunting. For on-campus options, you can check here. For off-campus options, it will be best to join RIT Housing group on Facebook. Once you have shortlisted options based on your preferences, you can proceed with the application. In some cases, you will need to find your own roommates, which, you can find on the Facebook group mentioned here. The best time to finalize housing is June & July for Fall semester and November-December for Spring semester.

Thank you for reading through this and I hope this article provided a better outlook on the dilemma. You can leave a message here if you have more questions.