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Assistantship

How to Get a Graduate Assistantship at a US University

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.

Avoid Errors

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.

Summary

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.

What Not to Do When Apply for Financial Aid and Scholarships

Applying for Financial Aid and scholarships can be tricky at times, and downright confusing. There are many lists on tips on how to successfully apply for such aid but there are even fewer lists on what NOT to do. So, the following is a list on what NOT to do:

DO NOT apply late

Applying late can drastically hurt your chances at obtaining a scholarship. Many schools have their own financial aid deadlines. The official application deadline for the Free Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) is June 30th but students living in certain states have different deadlines to meet. Many other countries also have similar programs with similar deadlines.

What is worse is that if you are applying for a scholarship being late in your application indicates that you may not be hardworking or deserving of the scholarship. This is exactly the opposite of what you want them to think!

DO NOT forget to check all sources for a scholarship

Scholarships can come from many unlikely sources. Thoroughly check all of these sources. Many religious schools will offer ‘matching scholarships’ where the school will agree to match all funds donated by the student’s congregation. Unlikely scholarship sources also include banks. Also, many companies offer scholarships to the children of their employees. If you are a part of a minority or a disabled person there are scholarships available that can be used to your benefit.

DO NOT forget to check application for any potential errors

Nothing says “do not give me a scholarship or grant” like handing in an application with bunches of errors and mistakes. You want the scholarship committee to see the best side of you. You want them to see the polished, professional side of you.

Also, if you make a mistake on your financial aid application packet it could mean that you may miss out on money. It helps to have a family member or friend look over your application to see if there are any obvious mistakes being made. If you are dependent upon your parents for financial aid it is important to have your parents check to see if their section of the application is correctly filled out.

DO NOT forget to have the necessary paperwork available

Having the necessary paperwork available means that you can successfully avoid some of the common mistakes that people make. Applications like the FAFSA can be tricky and remembering the detailed numbers and codes can be a challenge. Having your paperwork organized, ready, and available will greatly reduce the stress associated with submitting the application.

DO NOT forget to be creative!

Okay, so it may be impossible to be creative when filling out the FAFSA but when it comes to individual merit or achievement based scholarships you can truly let your creativity shine through! Do not be afraid to talk about the strange and unusual experiences that you have dealt with in your life. No matter what the scholarship is for, the scholarship committee loves seeing things that prove that you are bright, witty, and creative. Everyone has some sort of quirk that helps them stand out from the crowd!

DO NOT be afraid

Applying for scholarships can be very daunting at times. It is important to remember that you are not the only one going through the scholarship and financial aid process. There are millions of students who have gone through this process unscathed. Chances are, you will do just fine and you will come out of it with great life experience even if you do not get any grants or scholarships.

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