Graduate assistantships are a boon to students who cannot afford to pay the full cost of their tuition fees. Foreign students especially aspire for an assistantship as it takes care of their tuition fees and provides a stipend for living expenses. So they only need to shell out the airfare to go to the US and begin their academic life. In this article we offer valuable tips on how to get a graduate assistantship at a US university.
Complete Your Application with Care
Fill your application carefully and ensure you answer all the questions. Do not leave out any question as it may be important to the reviewers. Include your resume and a statement about your interest in the assistantship position and the skills you can offer to the position. Strengthen your case by expanding on your qualification and experience.
Your resume and application should be free of errors. Proofread them thoroughly to weed out all grammar and spelling mistakes. Format and present your resume in a professional manner to impress the reviewers.
Do Your Homework
Hit the Internet and research on which universities are more likely to offer you a graduate assistantship. Typically, public universities offer more assistantships compared to private ones. Do your homework thoroughly and calculate your chances of getting an assistantship before you start sending out applications.
Tips for International Students
International students should work hard and get good scores in their GRE and TOEFL exams to impress the universities. We recommend taking the Test of Spoken English (TSE) also to strengthen your case. If the university is reassured you can speak good English, it will certainly improve your chances a great deal. If you do not get an assistantship with your admission, we advise you to go the campus a month early to find out and apply for available assistantship positions in all the departments of the university.
Be Prepared for an Interview
If you have started classes without getting an assistantship, you should take care to maintain a good GPA and be prepared for an interview. Convince professors about your abilities and skills to impress them. Keep up your motivation and research all available opportunities on the campus.
How to Find Assistantships
Unlike graduate fellowships and scholarships, almost all colleges and universities offer assistant programs at the master’s and PhD levels. Do not be disheartened if you do not get an assistantship in the first quarter or semester. Directly contact staff members who manage assistantships in various departments to get details of available openings and how to submit applications for them.
How to Apply for a Graduate Assistantship
Find out the exact requirements for each opening. Prepare a document that lists all the requirements and deadlines for each position so that you do not miss out on applying to any one inadvertently. A strong statement of purpose as well as recommendation letters can strengthen your application greatly. Some departments may even ask you to complete a research or teaching task before selecting you for the role. So prepare yourself well to deliver what is required to get the assistantship.
Remember that though assistantships are intensely competitive, they are easily attainable for a well-prepared candidate. There are many benefits of working as a graduate assistant for a university. The experience will look good on your resume especially for foreign students who can boast of working for a US university. You can also get references and recommendation letters from professors and the university which can help you further your academic and professional career. Last but not the least you can develop your communication and leadership skills and build a network with students and professors to boost your career opportunities and social life.