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Research Assistants

skate17skate17 5 replies11 threads Junior Member
How much do undergraduate research assistants get paid? Are there other opportunities for UGs to earn money as a student on campus to supplement low fin aid?
7 replies
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Replies to: Research Assistants

  • thumper1thumper1 78287 replies3528 threads Senior Member
    There is no way to answer your question. Research assistant jobs for undergrads pay all sorts of different amounts, depending on the job and the college.

    It looks like you are not yet in college. Is that correct?

    1. Research assistant jobs are not usually available to incoming freshmen.

    2. Most colleges have on-campus jobs you can apply for when college resumes in person.

    3. How much money do you think you will need? If it’s more than several thousand dollars, it might not be realistic to think you can make up the difference with any kind of on campus (or even off campus) job.

    4. Are you applying to affordable colleges? You need to do this.

    5. There are net price calculators on every college website that will give you a decent estimate of your aid. Are your parents self employed or do they own a business? Do they own real estate in addition to your primary residence? Are they divorced? If no....do the net price calculator.

    6. Have you discussed finances with your parents? How much can and will they pay annually for your college education...find out that number now.

    7. Other threads indicate your are interested possibly in BS/MD programs for college. These are usually fully funded...but their acceptance rate is in the single digits...so have a Plan B.

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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 10178 replies119 threads Senior Member
    D has been looking at being a research assistant next year and it’s for course credit at her school. The paid positions seem to be for just the summers and they don’t pay nearly as well as private companies.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 7333 replies34 threads Senior Member
    If your just looking to make money, which is great as an UG, look at their listings. My son has 2 jobs. One is seasonal and is both an umpire and referee for the intermural league at his college plus he plays a sport or 2. $10.50 /hour. Great stress reliever and also way to get in shape with football and basketball.

    He also works for the Center of Academic Innovations at his school and makes $16.00/ hour(he is the only UG)

    My daughter worked as a barista at school making $7.50 then got a job away from school like 2 blocks and made $9.50 plus tips with a 401k with a larger company..

    Keep in mind, depending on the schools location, you don't need to work on campus.

    Depending on your locale sometimes having a steady babysitting job is great. My daughter at her Lac baby sitted for a professor or two. It was a win /win. Once she played and put the kids to sleep as she said she got paid for doing her homework.. Lol

    Her freshman year she worked the front desk at her Lac. No one like came by and again got paid to do her homework.

    These are just a few ideas. This was like maybe an extra $3,000 or a bit more a year kinda thing. Maybe more but they worked like 10 - 20 hours depending and mostly their spending money. My son has put away a decent amount actually but again this is his money and not money to be used as a supplement for paying for college.
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  • WayOutWestMomWayOutWestMom 10985 replies235 threads Senior Member
    edited June 28
    As mentioned up-thread, undergrads often do not get paid to work as research assistants. Mostly research work is for academic credit. There may be some research positions available at some colleges through federal work/study, but these are uncommon and you need to qualify for the federal work/study program in order to be eligible for them. (IOW have unmet demonstrated need at your college and be awarded work/study by the FA dept. At many schools only low income students are awarded work/study.)

    Summer research internships are often paid--but most of those are extremely competitive and are only open to college upperclassmen (rising junior & seniors). Typically they pay about $3000-$5000 for 12 weeks and may or may not include housing.

    The hourly wage for a paid undergrad RA position varies widely by lab even within the same college or university. The majority pay only minimum wage.

    Both D1 and D2 had paid and unpaid RA jobs during college. D2 had both a paid and an unpaid RA position at the same time in the same lab--which is extremely unusual.
    edited June 28
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  • Tigerwife92Tigerwife92 171 replies3 threads Junior Member
    edited June 28
    Point of reference, perhaps? D20 is beginning a research position on Monday; the research will now, because of covid, be conducted online (they ship her tools/materials). She will be able to continue her position through the school year, if of course they are happy with her work. As an incoming freshman, she will be paid $0. She worked lots of overtime last year to save up enough $ so she wouldn't need a paying job this summer/upcoming school year; she felt the experience, recommendations, and networking from her research position would pay off in the long run. Research as an incoming freshman is more of an honor, than a paid position. In our experience, paid tech or lab assistant positions, etc. on campus are often part of work study programs. Not sure how much you need? If say $5-8k that's do-able working part time during the school year and more over the summer. You can find part time employment at many of the restaurants, stores, etc in and around campus. Speaking from experience, you would probably need to work "full" time to be able to cover the cost of tuition. I personally worked 2 jobs in college to cover the cost of tuition and lived at home.
    edited June 28
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  • twogirlstwogirls 7765 replies7 threads Senior Member
    My D received credit for her research assistant positions. Some schools offer paid research assistant positions for first year students through work study, but you have to attend such a school and you have to qualify for work study.
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  • kelsmomkelsmom 16075 replies99 threads Senior Member
    At my S’s school, undergrad research was unpaid. At my D’s school, undergrad research came with a nice stipend. His school was a state school (not a research school); hers was an elite private.
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