What are TA/GA jobs in US Universities & how to get them?

Teaching Assistantship (TA) and Graduate Assistantship (GA) are a great source of earning for a student pursuing a graduate degree in a University or College in the US. Besides that, they also provide work experience to those students who wish to pursue academic career in future. In this blog, Student Cover provides you with tips to better the chances of securing TA, GA in US Universities.

However, before we proceed further let us first understand what TA, GA is; what work is expected out of a TA or GA student; and how to secure TA, GA in US Universities.

What is TA/GA?

Teaching Assistantships (TA) or Graduate Assistantships (GA) are semi-formal & paid jobs that Universities offer to its students, who are currently pursuing a MS degree course. Their duration usually depend on the course duration of the student, although they may get an extension. These are given only to university students and getting a TA/GA depends on the educational qualification the course being currently pursued.

Teaching Assistantship – The primary task of the TAs are:

  • – To assist the instructor (professor) in his or her teaching activities.
  • – Checking and grading the assignments & project reports of the students along with preparing tests or quizzes.
  • – Teach the students on professors’ instruction when he/she is unable to take the class.

Qualification criteria for TA

  • – “A or A+ grade”. Students with such academic record are preferred during selection.
  • – Bachelor’s degree
  • – Enrolled in Graduate degree course
  • – Previous training or teaching experience since it involves teaching

Graduate Assistantship – Unlike TAs, the tasks that a GA has to perform varies from one department to another. While some GAs may be asked to do ‘research, assist in teaching or laboratory related work depending on his or her experience and qualification’, they are mainly tasked with administrative jobs such as ‘organizing departmental events, researching internet, finding information in libraries, conducting staff meetings’ etc.

Qualification criteria for GA

  • – Enrolled in Graduate degree course
  • – Good Organizational skills
  • – Excellent Interpersonal and management skills
  • – Knowledge of Computers and research on the internet
  • – Good communication skills

Note: Depending on the University or department, the activities of TAs and GAs may, at times, overlap.

How to better chances of securing TA, GA?

#1 – Apply early

The TA & GA positions are very limited and not all students get to be TAs or GAs. It is therefore essential to apply for the position whenever the application process begins. In most colleges and universities, the application process TA & GA positions begin towards the end of semester and may continue up to 10 days before the classes start.

#2 – Mantain good academic record

If you are applying for a TA job, it is essential that you have good academic record to back your application. A person with good grades in previous semester is more likely to secure the TA job than the one with average grade. The same applies for GA as well. If a student is found struggling or lagging behind in academics, he or she might not be given preference as additional work burden might further affect his studies.

#3 – Build a strong network

TA or GA jobs do not come to those who just sit and wait. Even if your department has run out of TA or GA jobs, you can look for them in other departments. Networking with professors and fellow students is a best way to keep oneself updated with any job opportunity within the campus.

#4 – Improve communication skills

Tasks like teaching or organizing events requires good communication skills. As a teaching assistant, you may be asked by the instructor to prepare a quiz or take a class. Writing skills come handy in such situations. GAs may be asked to assist in organizing departmental events. Good communication helps in better co-ordination between different departments and individual participants.

#5 – Be prepared to take responsibilities

Any job has its set of responsibilities. At times, TA or GA work could be arduous. If a student wants a job, he or she should be mentally and physically prepared to take responsibility for the work that comes up with the job. Remember, like any other job, a TA or GA is not a permanent post. One can be taken off the job if his performance is found unsatisfactory.

Let’s Wrap Up!

TA and GA offer good opportunity for students to earn and learn. They can help meet a part of their living cost. To get TA or GA, one has to be proactive, be ready to take responsibilities and have good communication & networking skills.

Disclaimer: The content of the following article is based on the personal research of the writer. Readers are advised to exercise discretion. Student Cover will not be liable for any wrongful interpretation of the content of this article.

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