An assistantship is a paid academic position that includes part-time teaching or research and is granted to a graduate student. The requirements to be eligible for an assistantship may vary based on the institution. However, some crucial requirements include:
- Being admitted into a graduate program (whether MSc Degree or Ph.D.) Hence, you must have received an acceptance to the school and an offer for your assistantship.
- You must have a valid F-1 visa on file before you can begin working in your assistantship role (Research or Teaching) if you are an international student.
- You must be in good academic standing, that is, having a certain GPA. This may differ based on the University or program you choose to apply/attend. Some schools require 3.00 or better. They will look at your previous institution’s GPA if this is your first semester at the new institution.
- You must also be registered for classes or hours, for example, 9 hours per academic semester (again, this depends on the University or program).
- Some schools may require you to register for volunteer events, while some may expect you to attend professional development sessions. In essence, you are expected to be present and participate in just about every event your department hosts.
Having an assistantship comes with a lot of benefits that will, in turn, enable you to focus on your studies without being financially frustrated. Some of the benefits of having a graduate assistantship includes:
- Receiving a stipend in exchange for your hours worked. As for me, I receive a monthly salary, and so I am not sure if some universities do weekly. Also, I am not allowed to work for more than 20 hours.
- Tuition waiver benefits
- Health benefits
- Research and teaching experience
- also, the opportunity to sharpen skills to add to your Academic Vita, which can later help you to get jobs as well as future grants to conduct studies.
- Attend conferences with your Academic Mentor and network with others in your field of study.