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.
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.
Top Careers in the US for University Grads
Recent college graduates may be worried about finding a well-paying job that also has good long-term career prospects. To help them, we have compiled this list of top jobs and careers for university graduates in the US. For this list, we used four criteria namely median annual salary, workplace atmosphere, projected growth in the future and current employment details including remuneration.
Another important factor we took into account is bridgeability i.e. whether a university graduate can gain the necessary skills for a career with an extra year or two of re-skilling or study. In our top 10 list, five are related to computers and information technology. Read on to learn more about the top careers in the US for college graduates.
#10 Insurance Agent
Baby boomers are living for longer which means there is increased demand for insurance sales agents. There are about 337,000 insurance agents in the US, earning an average of $63,400 annually. You don’t actually need a college degree for this job as even a high school diploma can get you an entry position.
#9 Public Relations Officer
Though there are only about 201,280 public relations officers currently in the US, this field is projected to grow at a healthy 23% rate by the end of this decade. The average annual salary for a public relations specialist is $61,980.
#8 Management Analyst
Currently there are around 540,000 management analysts nationwide. This position’s unique expertise is required for all industries including nonprofit and government organizations. Projected demand is also high till 2020. A management consultant earns an average of $88,070 per year.
#7 Computer Systems Analyst
This is a hot career which scores high on all of our criteria. Currently about 482,000 systems analysts are employed nationwide and the average annual salary is $83,800 making it one of the more remunerative professions on our list.
#6 Elementary School Teacher
For sheer numbers, this job is unmatched. There are around 1,360,300 employed teachers in the US which is the highest number for a single occupation. Unlike other fields, a teaching job offers a stable career path. There is significant demand for teachers nationwide. In this decade, a large percentage of older teachers of the Baby Boom era are expected to retire which increases the job prospects for applicants.
#5 Computer/Network Systems Administrator
High salary and expected growth rate mark this out as an exciting prospective career. Offices and homes are relying more and more on technology creating a need for graduates with the requisite skills to excel in this job. Currently, there are about 350,000 systems administrators in the US earning an average of $76,320 annually. Additional manpower will be required given the growing importance of cyber-surveillance as well the need to tackle security threats.
There is great demand for this job nationwide. There are around 1,129,000 auditors and accountants currently employed in the US and the field is expected to grow by 16% this decade. The average annual salary for audit and accounting jobs is $71,040 and this amount has increased by about $10,000 in the last three years since 2010. Graduates with financial aptitude can expect to excel in this promising career field.
#3 Marketing Specialist/Market Research Analyst
Currently there are about 392,800 marketing research analysts working in the US, earning an average salary of $67,380 per year. Though the pay may be less than the top jobs in our list, there is an urgent requirement for qualified candidates with an expected growth rate of 41% by 2020.
#2 Applications Software Developer
Application developers focus on the user side and they test and modify the software to get the desired results. Applicants need a bachelor’s degree in mathematics or computer science and strong programming expertise to excel in this job.
#1 Systems Software Developer
There is higher demand for systems software developers and they earn more too on average ($102,550 per year) which is about $5,000 more compared to an applications software developer.
We hope our list of top careers for college grads helps you choose the one for which you are qualified and have the requisite skills and aptitude. More than the remuneration, it is one’s passion and desire to excel that will ensure one is satisfied and happy at the end of a long work day.