How to earn your way through university

Akshana is in her final year studying BSc Economics, having completed a placement year last summer. In this post, she shares her personal experience of being a Student Ambassador at the University of Essex and how it’s helped her during her studies.

I came across the opportunity of becoming a Student Ambassador in my first year, while exploring CareerHub – an amazing platform for Essex students advertising for all kinds of work opportunities.

A Student Ambassador works closely with the Student Recruitment and Outreach Teams at Essex, mainly working on events designed to encourage people to apply to study at Essex.

However, within that remit, the variety of experiences an Ambassador can have are huge – from giving tours to prospective students, to speaking to school-age students on a Student Panel, to working alongside Essex staff members in the offices preparing materials for large-scale events. I loved the sound of it and decided to apply!

The application process

To apply for the role, I completed an online form involving a set of scenario-based assessment questions.

Once I had been shortlisted, I was invited to a group interview. Here, I had to complete a set of tasks with potential team members by presenting situations that could take place during university events. This was an interesting and an insightful way to learn about the role itself and see if I was equipped for it.

Following the assessments and essential training, I received an offer to work for the University, representing them as a Student Ambassador!

Flexible job with lots of learning opportunities

One of the key reasons I chose to become a Student Ambassador was because of how flexible the role is.

Over the last three years, I have managed to weave my work as an Ambassador around my degree, enabling me to me to balance my studies while also having a part-time job.

You can choose which events you want to work on, including Open Days, subject-specific events for younger students, Postgraduate Open Days, school Campus Visits, Applicant Days and more, with parents and new students always looking to hear from a student’s perspective. This means you can find work which suits your interests as well as your study schedule.

Due to COVID-19, a lot of work opportunities have moved online too, which has added a whole new aspect to working flexibly around my studies.

Whatever event I am working on, there is always something new to learn and a challenge to overcome, keeping the job interesting!

Source of income

Student ambassadors have one of the highest-paid student jobs on campus, with the hourly rate being higher than the National Minimum Wage! This is a great opportunity to earn as a student; how much you earn is down to how much you want to work.

Earning some extra cash through a job that is so versatile and enjoyable is always a bonus!

Experience to add to CV

As a Student Ambassador, you learn so much on the job.

During my time in the role, I’ve really improved my communication (public speaking) skills and my confidence, both of which are certain to help me after I’ve left university.

Also, the fact that I was chosen by my university to represent them is a huge asset to add to my CV – it’ll show any future employers that I’m a reputable and credible candidate.

Making friends

Another amazing advantage of this job is how many other students from all over the world you get to meet and become friends with.

We have Student Ambassadors from all different courses and backgrounds here at Essex, and I’m proud that some have become amazing lifelong friends!

Helping people

A key advantage of this role is that it is a great way of helping prospective students and their families using your own personal experiences. I’m always looking to ensure that upcoming students have all their questions answered to the best of my ability and feel welcomed.

Looking back to when I was applying for universities, I wish that I had someone to tell me how amazing Essex would be for me in the four years that I’ve been here, so it’s an honour to now fulfil that role for somebody else.

If you’re thinking about becoming a Student Ambassador during your time at Essex, you can direct any questions to the Student Ambassador Team. It’s an experience you definitely won’t regret!