I recently graduated with a bachelor's degree and have been looking for part-time research positions since I can't find a job. I have not heard back from any professors at institutions other than those at the ones I attend. Why is that?

  • 1
    "Graduated" means nothing. High school? Doctorate?
    – Karl
    Mar 11 at 17:40
  • 1
    @Karl bachelors Mar 11 at 17:49
  • Particular country or field?
    – Tommi
    Mar 12 at 7:52

All of the previous answers are correct. Plus: Student workers also have a different legal status. One can, for example, hire international students as student workers even though they are not allowed to work because they do not have a work visa. But that is only allowed if they are hired at the university they are enrolled in.

That underlies a general principle: You can only be a student worker at your own university; at other universities, you'd just be a regular employee with all that entails.

  • I don't think the question is about "student workers" at all, actually. The OP has graduated.
    – Buffy
    Mar 11 at 14:16
  • @Buffy Hm, true. The title of the question suggested otherwise, but you're right! Mar 12 at 17:09
  • Familiarity
  • Universities prefer to enhance their own reputations rather than enhance the reputations of other universities
  • Part-time research positions for recent graduates are scarce, and especially scarce following pandemic funding cuts
  • 3
    And often there is money to support current students that can’t be used for non-students. Scholarships, work-study, etc.
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 11 at 4:01
  • 1
    @JonCuster, but that fails to explain why the OP does hear back from their prior institutions.
    – Buffy
    Mar 11 at 14:17
  • 2
    I think bullet point 2 is a red herring. The others are meaningful, but I doubt that "part time junior research positions" have any effect at all on reputation. I think that your first bullet, however, is likely the dominant one.
    – Buffy
    Mar 11 at 14:18
  • @Buffy - although hearing back does not mean an offer. He might well hear back because of his first bullet - they know him.
    – Jon Custer
    Mar 11 at 22:50

In the US context, it's typically impossible to employ someone as a research assistant (a specific job title) unless that person is already a student at that university. Funds for graduate student research assistantships are often specified in grants with the understanding by the university and the funding agency that this money will go to graduate students at that university.


Bachelor graduates are not qualified for research. Nobody outside of a PhD program will hire you when you still need 1:1 supervision.

Unless they know you well already, have seen you work in lab courses, have taught you perhaps right what they might hire you for in those lab courses.

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