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WEP Application Process

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Eligibility |How to Apply |Personal Statement Instructions |Contact Information

Eligibility - Please read carefully.

To be eligible for consideration for the Work Exemption Program students must meet the following criteria and must be available to fulfill the additional program requirements listed below.

  1. Enrolled full-time undergraduate student of Columbia College or The Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science.
  2. Currently registered student in good standing with at least a 3.0 cumulative G.P.A. at the time you apply for the program.
  3. Recipient of a Columbia Grant as well as a summer work expectation (Student Contribution) or in-school work expectation (Student Employment or Federal Work Study), detailed below:
    • Summer 2014 WEP requirements: Must have a 2013-14 Columbia Grant AND Student Contribution
    • Fall 2014 WEP requirements: Must have a 2014-15 Columbia Grant AND Fall Student Employment or Federal Work Study
    • Spring 2014 WEP requirements: Must have a 2014-15 Columbia Grant AND Spring Student Employment or Federal Work Study
      • Not all financial aid recipients are eligible to apply for WEP funding. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid & Educational Financing at ugrad-finaid@columbia.edu or (212) 854-3711 before applying for WEP to determine your eligibility.
        • Resident Advisers (RA) serving for the 2014-2015 Fall and Spring semesters are ineligible for the WEP program since their summer savings and in-school work expectations will already be replaced by a Resident Adviser Grant.
        • Students who did not receive a Columbia Grant for the 2013-2014 school year are not eligible for the Summer 2014 Work Exemption Program. 
        • Students receiving an outside scholarship, tuition benefit or Veterans Benefit may be ineligible or have reduced eligibility for the Fall and Spring WEP Programs.
  4. Secured an unpaid internship, research opportunity or volunteer opportunity prior to the application deadline. Students must be working a minimum of 8 hours/week during the academic year and 15 hours/week during the summer. Please note, the following opportunities are not eligible for WEP:
    • Any opportunity that is a component of an academic program of study or for which course credit is being offered (including research conducted for the sole purpose of a senior thesis project)
    • On-campus extra-curricular activities (exceptions include CU EMS and the Double Discovery Center)
    • Any academic or experiential endeavor that requires a student to pay to participate in the program
    • Opportunities that support partisan political activity or that involve proselytizing, preaching or missionary work on behalf of a religious organization
    • An opportunity where you will be supervised by a classmate, peer, family member or friend

A note if you are receiving a stipend, fellowship, additional funding outside of WEP or plan to apply for supplemental funding:

  • If you are receiving any funding to cover your living expenses (food, housing, transportation), you can still apply to WEP and your application will be reviewed. Depending on the amount of your additional funding, your award (if selected for WEP) may be adjusted.
  • If you are receiving a stipend from your employer for work you are performing or you are receiving wages, you are not eligible for WEP. You must be pursuing an unpaid opportunity to be eligible for a WEP grant.

Institutional funding through this program is made available with the sole intention of supporting students’ living expenses (such as housing, food and travel expenses).  This support enables students to participate in unpaid opportunities.  Funding is not provided in lieu of compensation for work and supervisors are required to acknowledge in the Employer Verification Form that participating organizations are compliant with the US Department of Labor’s Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and other applicable state and local legislation.

Late or incomplete applications and applicants who do not meet these criteria will not be considered.

How to Apply

    Click here to complete and submit the WEP application form. You will be required to upload the following documents at the time of submission. Please prepare everything before you begin completing the form!

    • Resume - For resume help, please feel free to utilize CCE’s walk-in hours or schedule an appointment with a counselor.
    • Unofficial Transcript - Please note, if you are applying during your first semester as a student at Columbia you should still provide a copy of your transcript showing the classes in which you are enrolled.  A screenshot from SSOL will be accepted as an "unofficial" transcript.
    • Personal statement - details on what to include in your statement are below
    • Employer Verification form - this must be signed by your supervisor. If you are participating in Columbia Experience Overseas (CEO), your CCE program manager cannot sign your form.

    Additionally, your recommender must send a letter of recommendation directly to the WEP committee at columbia-wep@columbia.edu.

    • One letter of recommendation - Your letter of recommendation should be written by someone who can comment on your academic and/or professional pursuits, character and maturity such as a professor, advising dean or supervisor. We advise against asking a teacher/coach from high school to write your recommendation. We will not accept letters of recommendation written by family members, friends, members of student organizations or classmates. Your letter of recommendation must be on official letterhead, dated and signed. Your recommender should submit your letter directly to the WEP committee at columbia-wep@columbia.edu. If you are reapplying to receive the WEP grant for an opportunity for a consecutive semester you do not need to submit a new recommendation for the same opportunity. The WEP committee will review the feedback your supervisor provided during the mid-semester check-in.

    Please note: The Work Exemption Program has become increasingly competitive. Limited funding is available for this program. Many students who submit strong, compelling applications will not be able to receive funding due to the highly competitive nature of the program and the limited funding available. It is in your best interest to consider alternative options and make back-up plans in the event that you do not receive assistance through WEP.

    Personal Statement Instructions

    Your personal statement to be considered for the Work Exemption Program should be limited to two-three double-spaced pages in total.

    If this is your first time applying for Work Exemption or if you are a returning applicant applying with a new research, volunteer, or internship opportunity please provide the following information in your personal statement:

    • Description of the Opportunity: Describe in as much detail as possible the internship/research/volunteer opportunity and your role and responsibilities.  List duties, projects to be completed, deadlines, etc.  Explain why you want to engage in this type of experience at this particular organization or with this particular faculty advisor.
    • Learning Objectives:  Provide responses to these questions: What do you intend to learn through this experience, What are your specific goals through this experience and how does this experience fit into your overall academic interests and/or career goals?
    • Supervision:  Describe in as much detail as you can the supervision to be provided.  Include what kind of instruction, assistance, training, etc., you will receive, and from whom you expect to receive it.  Note when and how you will be evaluated and who will do the evaluation.
    • Commitment: Students selected for the Work Exemption Program are required to participate in all elements of the program, including completion of a WEP Webshop and submission of a formal program reflection project. 
    • Conclusion:  Please explain why you should be considered for this program and describe how your plans will be affected if you do not receive a work exemption to participate in this experience.

    If you are reapplying for Work Exemption for an opportunity that is continuing into the next semester please provide the following information in your personal statement:

    • Description of the Opportunity: Provide a brief synopsis of this internship/research/volunteer opportunity and your role and responsibilities.  Please explain if your duties or projects will be changing or if you will be assuming any additional levels of responsibility next semester.  Include information about why you are interested in continuing your work at this particular organization or with this particular faculty advisor.
    • Learning Objectives:  Provide responses to these questions: What did you originally intend to learn through this experience and how have these learning objectives been met? How have these learning objectives changed or developed? What new goals have you set for yourself for your continued work with this organization? How has this experience impacted your overall academic interests and/or career goals?
    • Supervision:  Describe in as much detail as you can the supervision you have received.  Include what kind of instruction, assistance, training, etc., you have received and from whom you have received it.  Note when and how you have been evaluated and if this supervisory experience will change or remain the same in the upcoming semester.
    • Commitment: Students selected for the Work Exemption Program are required to participate in all elements of the program, including completion of a WEP Webshop and submission of a formal program reflection project.
    • Conclusion:  Please explain why you should be considered for continued support from the Work Exemption Program and describe how your plans will be affected if you do not continue to receive a work exemption to participate in this experience.

    For further details about how the personal statement is utilized in the application review process please see the Work Exemption Program Frequently Asked Questions page.

    Contact Information

    Please visit the Work Exemption Program Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about the WEP committee, application process, and selection of program participants.  If you have any further questions not addressed here regarding the WEP application or selection process please email the Work Exemption Program committee at columbia-wep@columbia.edu