Graduate Assistantship Application Tips
08/12/2016 by HIGHERGRAD
In the hopes of landing that graduate assistantship position, it can be enticing to immediately apply for every available position you find and are qualified for. A different approach may be more appropriate however. Focus your effort a few highly desirable graduate assistantships and spend your effort applying for those.
Ways to Find Graduate Assistantships
First, start by finding graduate assistantships you are qualified to apply for. This can be a tough task as there are few places that centrally list available graduate assistantship positions. If you are looking for a masters level position, consider what your undergraduate degree major was and what type of research you would like to do around that. Those that are looking for PhD or postdoc positions, much of your search will be defined by the work that you have already accomplished in graduate school. A web search is helpful but usually produces few leads. Search specific university's job boards and department sites to find graduate assistantships. Carefully read through the graduate assistant job descriptions to see if you meet the requirements and if the position is something you are willing to invest multiple years in.
Meeting Financial Need With a Graduate Assistantship
Graduate assistantships generally come with some kind of tuition assistance and also a stipend. These vary of course from university to university and by assistantship but when offered provide a great deal of financial assistant to a graduate student. Do not be afraid to discuss the financial benefits of the graduate assistantship you are applying for. This information will help guide which one may be more important to focus your application time versus another.
Graduate Assistantship Application Tips
There are several graduate assistantship application tips that can help you during the process.
Spend Time Researching the University and Position
Any applicant should always fully research the school and department where the graduate assistantship position is being offered. Try to find as much out as you possibly can about the work that you will be doing. The last thing you want to do is commit to a position that is completely the wrong education and career path choice for you.
Also, researching graduate assistantship programs will ensure you have the experience and skills necessary to be a quality candidate. This tip is not only important to decide what position is right for you but it also helps you improve your application packet. Fine tuning your resume and objective letter with specifics on the position and details regarding the school will help you stand above others who have not spent time researching adequately.
Know That Each Position is Highly Competitive
Once you have selected the positions that match your skills and interests, start by tailoring each application. Your graduate assistantship application will need to include a resume and cover letter with all of the information you gathered through your research. “How to get an assistantship” is a frequent question. We recommend showcasing how your skills and experience can provide solutions to the challenges of the position. Detailing how you have been successful in past experiences, particularly in the same field or on a similar project, will allow you to stand out when potential candidates are being reviewed for graduate assistantships.
Talk to Your Future Advisor
Many applicants do not take advantage of communicating with the person or persons who are looking to hire graduate assistantships. Almost all positions you find will have contact information for the adviser or lead investigator who is soliciting for the graduate assistantship position. Reach out to them and let them know you are interested and ask for more detailed information. This is a great tip to use after your initial research to gather more detailed information and hone in your graduate assistantship application.
To conclude, those looking to fill graduate assistantship positions are only looking for the highest quality candidates. If you are using the same resume and cover letter for every graduate assistantship application you are submitting, you are unlikely to be noticed. Assistantships for graduate school are competitive and most receive many applications for a single position. Take the time to complete the research for the position you are interested in and target your resume to that school, department, and position for your best chances at landing one of your chosen graduate assistantships.