How to score an assistantship/part time job?
It sounds lucrative to pursue an assistantship while pursuing a course in the US. While it is true that the pay scale of an assistantship varies with the institute, you can still earn a decent amount if you choose to do an assistantship anywhere in US. On an average, an assistantship is going to fetch you around $10000 per year. In some cases, the university would grant you a waiver on your tuition fees as well! The amount will vary with the previous experience and the qualifications a potential candidate has. It is also important to know that there are different assistantships which can be targeted by a candidate.
The candidate helps the professor in the smooth functioning of his/her class. The work ranges from grading assignments, quizzes , to assisting the professor in making the teaching a hassle free experience for him/her. The Teaching Assistant is required to have a good command over the subject taught by the professor. It is preferred by the Professor that the TA has done a similar or a higher level course on the same lines, which would give him a sufficient knowledge base to assist the professor.
For universities that focus heavily on research, such assistantships are very common. The work involves doing experiments, simulations, programming, writing research papers, setup labs, etc. It is expected that the RAs have a good research experience.
The work of a GA revolves around the university itself as he/she is involved in topics that directly relate to and affect the university. It involves tasks like tasks like maintaining the Department Websites, Web Servers, UNIX and other Servers. Developers are usually a good fit for such opportunities.
Who decides on your application?
It is essentially the university that will monitor your application and decide on granting you an assistantship. However, if you want to work under a professor, the professor can be directly. Typically, the profile of the student should be very strong for the professors to consider such mails.
How to maximize your changes?
Once you’ve received an admit for the course that you have opted for, it is essential, that you start applying for the assistantships. The sooner you start, the more buffer you get with respect to time. Reach out to the professors whose work/area of research interests you. Also realize that the same professor gets tons of mails from students whose profile is similar to yours. You need to make your mark in a manner that captures the attention of your professor – by having a stellar profile and by leveraging the mutual contacts. Try to reach out to those alumni of your undergrad colleges who may have attended your target college. Make sure that you have enough information on the professor before reaching out to him/her. If possible, try to get a recommendation/ introduction mail from your senior to the target professor. It would make for a very promising case.
To demonstrate your inclination towards an assistantship, apply for it even before you have landed in US. It will put your candidature in a positive light. However, do not be bogged down if you do not have an assistantship when you reach US. Once you have settled, try to get as much information as possible on the various assistantships and the required procedure to apply. You will ultimately bag one of them!
Best of luck.
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