Student Aide Job Description

College students looking for ways to pay for their education or simply put some cash in their pockets often become student aides. Numerous on-campus departments employ these helpers to assist with office operations, usually in a clerical capacity. This includes assisting senior office workers, performing data entry, updating records, and maintaining filing systems. Students with an upbeat personality and attention to detail make for great aides.

Many of these positions are flexible and work around the aide’s class schedules and other student obligations. As a work-study position, employment tends to be part-time, usually in the range of 10 to 20 hours per week.


Student Aide Duties and Responsibilities

Student aide responsibilities vary by the department in which one works. However, some tasks are common to most positions, so student aides should be prepared to do the following:

Greet Visitors

Because student aides often sit at a desk in the reception area, they may be the first representative of that department visitors encounter. They welcome guests, answer basic questions, and guide visitors to the appropriate office or person if needed.

Answer Phones

Student aides may be assigned to handle incoming calls. This includes providing information, taking messages, or connecting the caller to someone else.

Maintain Office Operations

Any actions necessary for office operations may fall to student aides. These include inputting data, faxing, photocopying, stuffing envelopes, typing, filing, sorting mail, and light cleaning.

Run Errands

When a package needs to be delivered to the mail room or supplies retrieved from a general stock room, supervisors often give the task to the student aide.

Participate in Special Projects

Colleges are energetic places with tons of activities. Managers may call upon student aides to assist in events outside of the office. For instance, student aides may be charged with hanging posters around campus advertising a guest speaker, operating the department’s information booth at an orientation for new students, or helping with logistics for a dinner honoring donors.

Train New Aides

When the department hires a new student aide, an experienced one often shows the newcomer the ropes and oversees performance until the person becomes comfortable and competent.


Student Aide Skills and Qualifications

For some, a student aide position is a first paid job. In addition to being enrolled as a student, departments look for aides who have a positive attitude and a willingness to learn, as well as the following skills:

  • Professionalism – While this role employs students, those in this professional position are expected to dress appropriately, give the job full attention, and use language apt for an office environment
  • Communication Skills – Student aides exhibit strong written and verbal communication skills, as the job requires them to listen carefully, carry out actions as stated, and ask questions as needed
  • Discretion – Student aides are expected to uphold confidentially standards, as these workers may interact with sensitive information in the course of their duties
  • Accuracy – As a predominantly clerical position, student aides maintain accuracy when checking figures, proofreading documents, and directing visitors or messages to the correct offices
  • Customer Service Skills – Student aides function as front desk associates and provide incoming and outgoing visitors with polite and courteous service

Student Aide Education and Training

All student aides are enrolled at the college and may need to carry a certain number of classes to be eligible for positions. No prior experience is usually necessary, though interest or background in the field can be helpful—such as an aspiring scientist working in the biology department. New hires should be prepared to learn on the job. While most student aides go on to vastly different positions following graduation, the experience looks good on a resume and provides connections who can serve as references.


Student Aide Salary

Many student aide positions are reserved for people whose overall need-based financial aid package includes permission to apply for those jobs. They are commonly referred to as federal work-study positions and are funded by the government. The remaining openings are called institutional work-study. You do not need to be eligible for federal or state aid to land one of these positions. Both types of work-study jobs, however, typically have requirements such as being enrolled in a sufficient number of classes and achieving a certain grade point average. Graduation means the end of employment.

Student aides receive an hourly salary, which is at least the current federal minimum wage but often higher. One of the main benefits to holding a student aide position is the convenience of being employed in the same vicinity as your classes, which cuts down on travel time and expenses.


Helpful Resources

Being a student aide can provide a great introduction into the world of work. Contact the financial aid or employment office at your current or prospective college for further information, and check out these helpful resources:

Federal Student Aid – This offering from the U.S. Department of Education explains work-study jobs and their role in financing one’s higher education.

50 Ways to Excel in Your First Job (and in Life): Because the Most Important Lessons for Young Professionals Are the Things That No One Tells You – This quick read, written by Antonio Neves, offers young adults insight on navigating the working world. Student aides, in addition to young professionals can learn essentials tips and lessons with this guide.

“How to Be a Successful Student Employee” – While written for student aides at Central Washington University, this document provides excellent advice regardless of your location. This guide functions as a general overview, detailing the fundamental “dos” and “donts” of being a student aide.

College Financial Aid for Dummies – Explore work-study programs and other financial aid options with this entry from the popular series. Authors Herm Davis and Joyce Lain Kennedy provide easy-to-read information on student-related topics, such as how to secure financial aid, the differences between types of aid, how to submit applications, and more.


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