Assistantships: Everything You Need to Know
The term “Assistantship” refers to the monetary assistance granted to graduate students to help in their payment of tuition. In return, these graduate students help with specific teaching or research tasks. Graduate assistantships help students focus their work on education, furthering both their degree and their academic department’s mission.
Different types of assistantships are available in graduate schools. These include:
Teaching assistantship: Here, students are assigned instructional duties in a course irrespective of their particular instructional responsibilities in an academic program.
Lab assistantship: Here, students are assigned instructional duties in a laboratory section irrespective of their particular instructional responsibilities in an academic course.
Graduate research assistantship: Here, students are assigned to assist one or multiple faculty members in the conduct of research. In most cases, these assistants are assigned duties such as laboratory experiments under the close supervision of faculty members and library searches.
Graduate assistantship: Graduate assistants are the students who receive assistantships that aren’t specifically designated for research or teaching. Duties assigned to these assistants may include assisting faculty with different types of academic tasks.
Under an assistantship, students often work alongside professors and staff members. Mentorship is a crucial part of learning, whether someone is in school or in a career – and it’s an integral part of assistantship. Not only does working with the experts offer a great learning experience, but it also proves to be very useful after school when graduates are searching for references for job applications.
Students need to have focused, applicable experience in their fields to advance their knowledge and skillsets. An assistantship can offer students this experience because they’ll get the opportunity to work with and learn from professionals in their fields.
Many assistantship positions offer a tuition waiver along with a monetary stipend. Therefore, an assistantship can help students fund their graduate degrees while providing them with real-world knowledge and skills.
While there’re some large universities offering a large number of assistantships that graduate students are almost guaranteed a position, competition for securing an assistantship can be very intense at small and medium-sized colleges. After contacting their departments about available assistantships, students will likely need to undergo a standard application process, certify that they’ll maintain a certain GPA, and give at least one face-to-face interview. In most instances, graduate assistants need to possess strong time management skills, be highly motivated, display proper communication abilities, and be organized to complete their work while maintaining their busy academic schedules.