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Making Ends Meet During The Summer Before Grad School?


ACM88

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Hi everyone,

 

I've got a pretty important question and I'm sure plenty of people are going through something similar, but I haven't seen it asked recently on TGC. My question is: How do you plan to (or how did you manage when you went through this before) make ends meet during the summer right before starting your graduate program?

 

Here's my situation. I've been enrolled in a fully funded master's program for the last two years and will finish up (fingers crossed) at the end of April. This basically means that my primary source of income will end once May finally comes around. My lease isn't up until July/August (it's currently negotiable), but between May and August, I'm going to need some pretty substantial $$$ to make ends meet. The other complication, particularly for my program, is that I'm relocating and new students are required to be moved in by mid-August to participate in orientation events, but most summer jobs require a 12 week commitment that typically runs through the end of August. How have others handled this? Or how do you plan on handling it?

 

I'm really curious to learn how everyone else plans to navigate this. I'm pretty anxious about making it through the summer, so getting some advice from TGC community will be really useful. Thank you in advance for your input!

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you have to be persistent about it, but try to participate in as many psych studies and focus groups as you can. local universities' psych and med school department websites are good resources, as are focusgroup.com and findfocusgroups.com. i wouldn't rely on it, but i started doing various studies and focus groups when i was an undergrad and struggling to cover my rent; i usually made an extra $150-$200 per month, as long as i stayed on top of new postings. i also picked up occasional babysitting and pet care jobs when i could. same deal: not a lot of money, but it helps when you're in a really tight spot, and persistence is rewarded.

 

edit (more thoughts): also, it really depends on what your field of work is, but the pathways program sets up current and incoming students with federal jobs. might be past the app deadline but i've got a lot of interest calls rolling in for jobs that pay $15/hr or more, some of which are in locations with extremely low-rent on/near-site work housing. if i nab one of those jobs, i could make a semester or more's worth of tuition in a solid 12-16 weeks of work. if you're in enviro sci or social sci, poke around on usajobs.gov for a while.

Edited by pears
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I'm in a similar situation. I talked with my adviser and I will defend my Masters thesis in late May just after spring semester wraps up, but will be applying to graduate in the summer term just before the June 1st deadline.. This means in order to graduate in summer, I must be enrolled in a graduate course in order to apply for graduation. So I'm taking an incomplete on my Thesis course for spring, and enrolling in the summer Thesis course, allowing me to take out a Grad Plus loan for the summer term.

 

I know...sounds complicated. But the Grad Plus loan will cover my rent until I leave for my PhD in late July, and there will be some leftover to help me with the relocation costs.

Edited by ELM616
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I was coming straight out of an undergraduate program, so I knew I would have that summer to contend with so I borrowed a little extra in my federal loans during the school year, then stashed the money.  I stayed with my parents that summer (something I had never done before or since) to save some money and lived off the money I had saved.

 

If you are in a fully-funded master's program, can you borrow some federal Grad PLUS loans right now and save them until the summer to use for expenses?  The amount that you would need over the summer should be relatively small.

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I'm in a similar situation. I talked with my adviser and I will defend my Masters thesis in late May just after spring semester wraps up, but will be applying to graduate in the summer term just before the June 1st deadline.. This means in order to graduate in summer, I must be enrolled in a graduate course in order to apply for graduation. So I'm taking an incomplete on my Thesis course for spring, and enrolling in the summer Thesis course, allowing me to take out a Grad Plus loan for the summer term.

 

I know...sounds complicated. But the Grad Plus loan will cover my rent until I leave for my PhD in late July, and there will be some leftover to help me with the relocation costs.

 

 

I was coming straight out of an undergraduate program, so I knew I would have that summer to contend with so I borrowed a little extra in my federal loans during the school year, then stashed the money.  I stayed with my parents that summer (something I had never done before or since) to save some money and lived off the money I had saved.

 

If you are in a fully-funded master's program, can you borrow some federal Grad PLUS loans right now and save them until the summer to use for expenses?  The amount that you would need over the summer should be relatively small.

 

These are both good ideas, but my circumstances prevent me from trying them. Since I'm in my last semester of my program (I've already applied to graduate at the end of this term), I'm actually on fellowship from the University and this prevents me from taking out any additional funds in loans/scholarships. My understanding of it is that I'm already being provided funding that covers my cost of attendance, so unless I can prove that I have educational costs that are higher than the cost of attendance, I can't receive any more money. (Believe me, I've tried.) :mellow:

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Can you get work at a summer day camp? They like to hire college kids and you can usually choose which weeks to work, or an quit early if needed.

Eta: Also there are many camps that value specialized skills like science or technology or arts that might appreciate your background (these people are usually paid better too).

Edited by iphi
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Back in high school I made some pretty good money working for a temp agency using my computer skills.  Short-term assignments (from a few days to a few weeks at a time) and pretty decent pay for temp work.  If you have some modern computer skills (database mgmt, spreadsheets, graphic design, GIS, whatever) it might be something to look into...

 

If you did well on your standardized tests, you might also look into tutoring.  Many students will be studying hard for GRE's, SAT's, ACT's, etc during this summer...

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Can you get work at a summer day camp? They like to hire college kids and you can usually choose which weeks to work, or an quit early if needed.

Eta: Also there are many camps that value specialized skills like science or technology or arts that might appreciate your background (these people are usually paid better too).

 

 

Back in high school I made some pretty good money working for a temp agency using my computer skills.  Short-term assignments (from a few days to a few weeks at a time) and pretty decent pay for temp work.  If you have some modern computer skills (database mgmt, spreadsheets, graphic design, GIS, whatever) it might be something to look into...

 

If you did well on your standardized tests, you might also look into tutoring.  Many students will be studying hard for GRE's, SAT's, ACT's, etc during this summer...

 

So far I have applied to a few jobs that are loosely associated with my degree and University (e.g. Bontanic Gardens, Graduate School Administration, etc). I'm worried that anything less than a full-time job won't be enough for subsistence. We'll see, but I will definitely look into these suggestions as well.

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1.  Summer yard/garage/estate sales

2.  Purchase Items for cheap

3.  List on eBay for ridiculous prices

4. ????????

5.  Barely live 3 months until Fall

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Tutoring. Best if you can go through one of the branded programs, as they already of a pipeline of eager young referrals, but you could also try freelancing. Dog-walking/sitting, depending on your location - people will spend enormous amounts of money to secure a safe and reliable companion for Fluffy, at least where I'm from. Also, is there any way you can break your lease with the landlord? If they won't have much trouble renting it out, it may be OK. Alternatively, sublet to someone needing a summer apartment and try to make a profit.

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Is it too late to start saving some?  I don't know what your financial situation is, so I apologize if this is not an option, but I am in a similar situation and I am saving up money now to cover for the 2-3 months without income.  My husband (a current grad student who will also not have income this summer) and I put together a budget to figure out what we could cut out (e.g. going out to dinner, name-brand groceries, non-necessary purchases), both to save money now and to have less to cover this summer.  I may also borrow money from family members - again, I know this is not an option for everyone, but if you know you will have the money to pay back (which you should make sure of before borrowing) once you start getting a stipend, it's worth asking at least.

 

Aside from those steps, which may or not be possible for everyone, I would agree with others about short-term, part-time jobs.  If you can pick up a couple of things, hopefully you can scrape by with rent and food without other purchases.  I've worked part time at animal shelters, day care centers, pet sitting, tutoring - anything you can do makes a big difference, even if it's not a lot of money.  Check out Craiglist for one-off tasks people need help with that pay (e.g. helping someone move, doing yardwork).

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Is it too late to start saving some?  I don't know what your financial situation is, so I apologize if this is not an option, but I am in a similar situation and I am saving up money now to cover for the 2-3 months without income.  My husband (a current grad student who will also not have income this summer) and I put together a budget to figure out what we could cut out (e.g. going out to dinner, name-brand groceries, non-necessary purchases), both to save money now and to have less to cover this summer.  I may also borrow money from family members - again, I know this is not an option for everyone, but if you know you will have the money to pay back (which you should make sure of before borrowing) once you start getting a stipend, it's worth asking at least.

 

Aside from those steps, which may or not be possible for everyone, I would agree with others about short-term, part-time jobs.  If you can pick up a couple of things, hopefully you can scrape by with rent and food without other purchases.  I've worked part time at animal shelters, day care centers, pet sitting, tutoring - anything you can do makes a big difference, even if it's not a lot of money.  Check out Craiglist for one-off tasks people need help with that pay (e.g. helping someone move, doing yardwork).

 

Well, saving is the plan but it's a little bit difficult. I'm finishing up my master's and it's a funded program, so I get a set stipend each month that covers my bills and leaves little extra. I'm not teaching this semester so I've picked up a part-time job but the pay is barely above minimum wage and I don't wory many hours because I have a thesis to complete. :wacko:

 

I've definitely considered the ask-family-for-money option, but I'm leaving that as a last resort because things like that never feel quite right to me. Otherwise, I'm widening my search from temporary full-time positions to part time work and odds-and-ends jobs. We'll see what happens, but finances are dicey. I'm looking forward to having steady income for the forseeable future again.

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Can you move out once you graduate and live with family or friends for a couple months. It's not ideal, but that's probably the largest expense and it could save a lot of stress.

 

My lease isn't up until July 31, so I've been planning around the fact that I'll be living in my apartment through the summer. Plus, with all of my things and two cats in tow, staying with someone isn't really feasible for me. But, I did manage to secure summer funding through my current graduate program (loophole: I wasn't funded during my first summer in the program and since they guarantee 2 summers of funding, I asked and they complied), so it's nice to know that now I won't be broke and homeless before moving to a new state.

 

Thanks again for all of your advice!

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