Share This
Ask Edward

College Life

Are there any jobs on campus?
Is there a free version of Microsoft Word?
Are hybrid classes a good idea?
Is there a Study-Abroad Program on campus?
Can I take courses at colleges outside the CUNY system?


What does a CCNY graduate and now Master's Degree student have to do to get one of the 299 Federal Work Study positions that are still open on campus (as the Financial Aid site counts them) if you haven't been awarded FWS? Ever heard of anyone getting accepted into one? I e-mailed the Office of Financial Aid and someone there told me try the non-work study positions, but there are only four of those. I'll go back there and ask really nicely in person, but do you have any other ideas?

--Hunting for a Job


Dear Hunting,

These Federal Work Study positions are definitely impenetrable without federal authorization but there are more non-work study jobs on campus than are listed. I think you should take your idea about the Financial Aid Office to every office on campus and ask politely whether or not they are hiring. Now is an especially good time because many students will be leaving their positions at the end of the term due to graduation, changing class schedules, and many other factors. Every office in which you see students working is a good target. It worked for me--not right away, but it worked. Most likely everyone will say no but they may tell you a good time to return and ask again, or if you are lucky someone you had asked will see you later in the hallway or cafeteria and ask you if you are still looking. Try the office of your concentration first. Are you a good writer? Maybe try asking in the Writing Center if you can be a tutor. Maybe try the library--I have heard that they are the largest employer of students in the school. It may seem daunting but persistence is the only answer here. Good luck!


Dear Edward--

I just bought a new laptop, but when I got home I saw that it didn't come with Microsoft Office. After buying my computer I don't have another $500 for software, but I need to be able to email .doc files to my teachers and other students.

--Broke Junior

Dear Broke--

Microsoft offers discounts on their products for students, but there are also many free word processors available online. Of the ones that I have seen, I would have to say that OpenOffice is the best and easiest to use. This application has an interface that is very similar to Microsoft Office and also has the capability to save .doc, .xls, and .ppt files (be sure to select the proper format when you are using the Save As function). It may take a little while to get used to the differences, but this free and open-source option can produce the same results as any software that you have to pay for.



Dear Edward,

I am a senior and want to take a Hybrid class for Experimental Psychology. What are the pros and cons of a hybrid course? Thanks in advance for your help Edward.

--Hybrid Senior

Hybrid Senior--

There are many things to think about before you enroll in an online class. Most importantly, you need to determine whether or not you are a self-motivated student. Are you going to be able to set deadlines for yourself and complete work with no one standing at the front of the room reminding you of what you need to do every couple of days? However, if you are motivated it will definitely give you more time and flexibility with which to schedule the rest of your life. Many working students and parents like online classes because they can do their work late at night when they otherwise wouldn't be able to attend a class. Some argue that online classes might not be the best bet for your average student because you may miss out on the socialization that is a part of regular class, but I don't think that this is a relevant argument when we are talking about a student that is otherwise taking three or four other courses.

Hybrid classes, since they are scheduled as a combination of classroom and online requirements, work to allow both the freedom of online classes and the socialization of a classroom setting to function simultaneously. Since you are a senior, I see no problem in your enrolling in a hybrid class, though I would not necessarily recommend them to everyone, especially students near the beginning of their college career.



Dear Edward,

I am a recent transfer student, major undecided, although I plan on applying to the Advertising and Public Relations program. I have 43 credits—mostly, I've been taking my general education requirements—but I still haven't come across anything that interests me, except for French. I feel like I should know what I want to do with my life but I don't. 

--Que dois-je faire?

Dear Étudiant,  

You should take your initial interest in Advertising & Public Relations (Ad/PR) for what it is worth and apply to the program. This field is one of the fastest growing job markets and will continue to grow with the world population. One benefit of your interest in French is that you will be able to reach beyond the English-speaking world, giving you opportunities for future employment not only in the US and England but in France and certain parts of Canada and Africa. Your application and acceptance into the Ad/PR program need not be the final choice you make regarding your studies. In fact, given your split interest I would suggest that you take the next year to evaluate both interests very closely. Take your first Ad/PR courses with another French class and a core requirement or two (or an elective or two if you have no requirements left). This will give you the chance to see for yourself what the Ad/PR program is all about while you continue your study of French. The following semester, why don't you go Paris in a Study Abroad program (of course, you will have to check with your Ad/PR advisor to see if you can take a semester leave from the program). And then, near the end of your time in Paris, get a table on the sidewalk at a little bistro, order a cappuccino and a croissant, and think about the past year and what you've learned and what that means for your future. Fortunately, you are still near the beginning of your studies, but between now and your cappuccino in Paris you will have closed the gap significantly—you will come back from Paris as an upper junior, and by then you will have to know whether you want to continue in the Ad/PR program or switch over into the French program, but, by then, you should have done enough research to make the right decision.      


Dear Edward,

On one hand I want to take summer classes so I can graduate as soon as possible, but on the other hand, I wanted to go back home to Baltimore to save money and be near my family. What do you think I should do?

--Baltimore Girl

Dear Baltimore Girl,  

There is a way that you can spend your summer in Baltimore and take summer courses, though it will take a bit of planning on your part. CCNY allows students to take pre-approved courses at non-CUNY four-year colleges, as long as you file a “Non-CUNY Permit Form”, which can be picked up in the Office of the Registrar. First, you will need to find out what is being offered at the school you would like to attend, and, once you have a few ideas, you should print out any relevant course information that you can find, often syllabus or a course description will do. Then, you must bring the printed information along with your Non-CUNY Permit to an advisor so he or she can determine the CCNY equivalent(s) to the course(s) that you plan to take. You will need three more signatures after you receive approval from your advisor: one from the Dean of your Division or Professional School, one from a Financial Aid counselor, and finally, one from a representative of the Office of the Registrar. Once this form is filed and approved you will be able to register for those courses at your host school, and at the end of the term you will need to have your transcript sent to the Office of the Registrar so they can be added to your transcript.