Thursday, August 13, 2009

Assistantships Help Pay for Grad School

I wish I knew about assistantships before I started graduate school. Technically, I did hear about assistantships about a week before classes started, but that wasn’t enough time for me to go about securing one. If I would have obtained an assistantship, I would have saved myself thousands of tuition dollars. What are assistantships? More...
There are generally 3 types of assistantships: Teaching, Research, and Graduate (though, all 3 are usually for graduate students only). Teaching and Research Assistantships are pretty straight forward; you teach a class to undergrads in the academic concentration of your graduate work, or you help with the research efforts of your department (or a similar academic department). A Graduate Assistantship could mean a variety of things, depending upon the department. It could be an administrative assistant type of position, it could be a program development position, or it could be something like an advising position for undergraduates.

What are the benefits? Of course these vary from school-to-school, but often the case is this: you work part-time as a graduate assistant and attend school full-time, and the school will waive most or all of your tuition, sometimes pay for health insurance, and occasionally will cover textbooks also. On top of getting your tuition waived, you still get paid to work those hours, so that helps with housing, bills, meals, etc.

As I stated earlier, I missed out on a graduate assistantship my first year of grad school due to lack of information, and I couldn’t get one my second year due to internship commitments. That was the case for me, but for many of my colleagues, they attended graduate school without taking out any student loans. Not every college or university offers assistantships, so it’s important to ask before applying. If you have any questions about assistantships, then send me an email at

Take care,

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