What it’s like to be a Graduate Assistant

Some of you may not know that I work as a graduate assistant in the Office of Graduate Admissions. So what does a graduate assistant do? And how does one become a graduate assistant?

Here's where I work: The Office of Graduate Admissions. You can tell I took this picture in the fall--no snow to be seen!

There are a few key qualifications you must meet to become a graduate assistant. First, you must be a full-time graduate student at Saint Rose (that means you must be registered for at least 9 credits). In addition, graduate assistants must earn a GPA of at least 3.0 throughout the assistantship period. Lastly, graduate assistantships are awarded for a full academic year (fall and spring semesters), so students must work 150 hours per semester.

So, why would you want to become a graduate assistant? There are some great perks to being a graduate assistant. You are able to work in a department or office on campus throughout the year, allowing you to gain work experience and learn new skills. One of the main benefits of working on campus is that your supervisors understand your responsibilities as a student, so supervisors are usually flexible with scheduling your work hours. Graduate assistantships are also a key form of financial aid for graduate students. Students who successfully complete their graduate assistantship are awarded a $3200 tuition grant each semester.

Now the big question remains: What does a graduate assistant do? There are about 100 graduate assistantship positions in a variety of departments and offices on campus. While I work in the Office of Graduate Admissions, other possible positions include the Career Center, the Community Service Office, and the Office of Alumni Relations. Students can also work as a graduate assistant in an academic department.  The nature of a graduate assistant’s work is heavily dependent on the office or department. For example, as a Graduate Admissions graduate assistant, I work on projects that help promote the graduate programs at Saint Rose. One of my big projects has been redesigning and rebooting the Graduate Admissions Blog (I wrote a blog post about this a couple weeks ago!). Because I have my Bachelors degree in Communications, blogging has been a great way to use some of my undergraduate education in a real-life work experience.

Sounds great, right? If you are considering applying to graduate school at Saint Rose, I highly suggest you think about applying for a graduate assistantship. Applications will be available at the end of April. Keep checking here for updates about the application process.

Feel free to post any questions or comments about graduate assistantships in the comments area below!

What do you think?