With all the excitement of the fall term starting, it seems that Field Work Term, the seven-week winter term where students pursue field experience, is a long way off. However, students should be in the process of applying for opportunities even this early in the term. While we expect students (not parents) to take on the responsibility of securing a FWT position, there are some things that you can do to help.
- Ask about FWT. Your bringing it up in a friendly way helps students to keep FWT in the forefront of their minds. A few important deadlines which you may want to remind students of include:
- October 16: Grant application deadline for both TELOS and regular FWT grants. The TELOS Public Action grant is awarded to outstanding students interning at a non-profit focused public action.
- November 22: The date your son or daughter needs to have the position registered with our office.
- Brainstorm ideas. You can be very helpful to students as they try to imagine what they want to do over FWT. Suggest ways that they can think broadly about areas to explore as well as places where they can gain certain kinds of experience without telling them what to do.
- Budgeting. Let students know how you can help financially over FWT and what they will need to do themselves. When students have a realistic idea of the constraints, they can frame their searches within them. It is okay if a student does not do a big FWT abroad every year. It often makes sense to do a few modest FWTs to build the skills necessary to make the most of the “dream FWT”.
- Let them do it. If you know of a great contact, have them (not you) call. Direct them to websites you think will be helpful rather than searching yourself on your lunch hour. Going through the process of doing the research and talking to people is just as important as completing the FWT.
- Don’t offer them a job. It can be tempting, especially if your son or daughter is struggling to find something or started very late, to offer a job with you as a back up. We strongly discourage students from working for parents during the FWT. This is an opportunity to explore working with other people and try new things. Additionally, it can be a challenging situation for parents to evaluate their son or daughter objectively for FWT.
- Refer them to us. While it is ultimately students’ responsibility to secure their FWT positions, our office is here to help. We offer FWT prep workshops throughout the term, open-door walk-in hours Monday - Friday anytime of day, and a variety of appointment times. If your son or daughter indicates that there are no times available to see us, he or she should call or stop by. Although we do not place students directly, we have a number of positions posted through our office and can help students through any part of the process, including how to use the resources effectively.
If a student is having particular difficulty, it is important that he or she see us as soon as possible. We can provide greater assistance and support the earlier we know what is going on.
You can learn more about the FWT requirements in the FWT Handbook. Workshops are usually posted on the online calendar. Of course, you are always welcome to call or email with any questions you may have about the FWT requirement as well as any opportunities you would like to offer to other students for the FWT.