Although it is difficult this article gives you some tips on how to get a graduate assistantship in the first semester. It may be difficult but not impossible. A graduate assistantship is valued among students because of the fee waiver and experience you get from it. You have to plan well and be proactive to secure the position of a graduate assistant in the first semester.
First, you need to look for universities that do offer this position when you are enrolling in the program. Some universities may not provide it. Check requirements for the position on the university website and write a good application. Do not forget to add references from professionals.
After applying for the universities you can find out who is responsible to assign graduates for this job and get on their good side. Do not directly ask about the graduation assistantship it may decrease your chances. You must prepare yourself to be called in for an interview.
It is extremely difficult to get a graduate assistantship in the first semester however there is no harm trying. If you fail to do it in your first semester your efforts won’t go to waste. You can still try again in the second semester with a much higher chance, as the professor will know you better. You will also know your classmates and they will know you. This article provides you with some tips on how to get a graduate assistantship in the first semester.
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What is a Graduate Assistantship?
A graduate assistantship provides graduate students with paid part–time experiences in their field of study. They will be allowed to expand and apply their knowledge under supervision. The university staff uses graduate assistants to carry out special tasks for projects and assignments. Graduate students will have the advanced skills to carry out such tasks. Since the tasks assigned to graduate assistants have educational value it is an advantage for both the student and professor.
Types of Graduate Assistantship
Graduate assistants have a lot of responsibilities. It will majorly depend on the type of graduate assistant you are. There are three main types of graduate assistantship that include:
Graduate Teaching Assistantship – The duties you get in this category are mostly on conducting instructions. Like:
- Teaching classes
- Providing instructions on exams
- Leading lab groups
- Tutoring students
- Provide instructional support
Graduate Research Assistantship – In this assistantship you will be responsible for tasks involving research. Like:
- Conducting experiments
- Other research activities
Graduate Assistantship – Students in this assistantship provide:
- Clerical Support – doing general office work
- Technical Support – managing websites of the faculty
- Advertising – provide academic advice to students
- Outreached duties – Recruiting students
Pre-professional Graduate Assistant
This is another type of graduate assistantship, which is not offered by every institute. The duties of these graduates are directly connected to their fields of study. This will help them gain experience, practice, and supervision directly from professors and professionals. This is not provided in all the Institutes of the US therefore you should look into it before enrolling in the universities.
How hard is it to get a Graduate Assistantship?
Due to the advantage provided by the graduate assistant positions the competition is high. A lot of students will be aiming for this position making it more competitive. You have to present yourself to the professor and other staff members to outshine the other applicants.
If you are aiming for the first semester there may be lesser students applying however it will still be more difficult as you don’t get many opportunities to show your interest, knowledge, and performance. The second semester is the ideal time to apply for it since the first semester will give you all the opportunism you need to make a good impression.
General Requirements for an Assistantship
To qualify for a graduate assistantship, the student usually must:
- Be enrolled in a graduate program
- Maintain a good academic record with a minimum GPA of 3
- Have experienced as a student council member and in other leadership positions
- Be equipped with leadership and organizational skills
- Be good with verbal communication
- Be familiar with basic computer literacy
- Responsibilities of a Graduate Assistant
- Assisting professors and departments for different tasks
- Organizing events for undergraduate students
- Researching from internet sources and libraries
- Conduct research experiments and analyzing the data
- Design and review research methodologies
- Be involved in fieldwork research
- Co-authoring research papers with your professors
- Attending seminars and lecture classes outside your program but in your field of study.
- Assisting on-campus events and other events
- Administering performance evaluations of student staff
General Terms and Conditions
Each program will have its terms and conditions for the graduate assistant position. However, here are some of the typical terms and conditions:
A 20 – hour per week work assignment per semester.
The average payment Graduate student receives is $13.31 per hour. The salary is distributed according to the student’s experiences in the field of study.
You may receive tuition credit per semester as well
Reasons you should apply for Graduate Assistantship
Participating in a graduate assistantship will help you get to network with field experts from your area of interest. Networking comes in handy when you need references for job applications and many other situations.
You get quality, practical work experience whilegetting your graduate degree. You will have the opportunity to work with professors and other professionals.
A graduate assistantship will help you finance your education. You get paid per hour; it will be like a part-time job in your field of study. You can also get tuition credits as a graduate assistant.
You assist and learn from other students in your field. You can expand your learning sources, as you will be interacting with students and staff from different departments.
How to get Graduate Assistantship in First Semester
Getting the position as a graduate assistant is very valuable to students. As it lets you gain experience and can relieve your financial concerns. If you come up with a proper plan and follow-through you can get the position in your second semester. However, if you are determined and active enough you may be able to get it in the first semester.
Check with your University
Not all universities offer to apply for a graduate assistantship with admission. You should check in to see if your university has an option for it first and apply accordingly. Since your graduate assistantship will get your tuition fee waiver, the selection for that position will depend on the University’s available funding. In most cases, public universities have more available funds than private universities.
You should find Universities that offer a graduate assistant position and apply to them.
Before the application process starts make sure you meet the requirements. Each University’s requirements may vary therefore go to the website and look for available positions and their requirements.
Connect with other graduate assistants
Meet other graduate assistants and ask them about their experiences and advice. Get to know them and add them to your network. If they recommend you in the departments the chances of getting the graduate assistantship may be higher.
Work on your application
Your application must contain up to date information and must include other information, which may help you to get selected for the GA position. Finally, spell checks it before submission.
References from your previous work or professors will be favorable. 3 – 4 references should be enough.
Preparation for Interview
You can expect to be invited for an interview any time so be well prepared for it. Check everything you will need to prepare for when attending the interview
- Dress code
- Time management
- Be professional
- Facial expression
- Showcase your knowledge
- Be friendly
Find out who is responsible
After applying for the universities you can start to find out who is in charge of appointing Graduate assistants and get in touch with them. Directly showing your interests in the graduate assistant position will not make a good impression. Therefore try to keep it subtle. You can do that by:
- Showing interest in their work
- Getting to know the departments
- Ask or advice on choosing a course
- Ask about their researches
- Show your interest in learning new things
- Get to know him or her
- Show your strong communication skills
In the end, even if you don’t get the graduate assistantship it is okay. However, don’t let the low chances discourage you from trying. It is not impossible to achieve. You can always try for the second semester and the professor will for sure notice your efforts.
The tips provided in this article on how to get a graduate assistantship in the first semester can also be helpful when you are just looking for a fee waiver. They may not assign you to work as a graduate assistant immediately as you are not familiar with your classroom faces however a fee waiver might still be possible.