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This University Pays $1400 Monthly for Graduate Assistantships. And There’s More.

Hey guys. How y’all are doing? I am back. I have happily completed my first semester at University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

Today, I’m going to share my story about how I got Graduate Assistanship, Graduate Assistant Interview experience, job duties and salary.

graduate assistantships

As expected, it has been a wonderful journey so far here in U.S.A. and there is so much left to learn, grow and mature as a person to face the real life and career ahead of me.  During this first 6 months,

  • I made some very good friends
  • Got my driving license
  • My first car
  • Learned a lot (about life)
  • Getting better with communicating my ideas

Anyways, the good news is that I got full-time Graduate Assistantship position. I just wanted to share my experience of how things fell in place and what I did to get this Graduate Assistant  job with so much competition.

Graduate Assistantship Position

Now, many of you know about Research Assistant and Teaching Assistant position. If you are new these two terms, then read Research vs Teaching Assistant and Types of Assistanships.

Graduate Assistant position is something that we all crave for from the first day we reach our university.

Graduate Assistant is someone who does research and possibly not related to their own thesis or course work. And Sometimes, it can be in different departments as well.

One thing is for sure, availability of Graduate Assistant positions certainly follows the Demand-Supply principle, where demand is always higher.

Until you are super rich or fully sponsored, you are definitely going to knock on the door of every department in your University asking for a Graduate Assistant job.

Some of you will even volunteer within different departments in a hope that your volunteer work will pay off in future.

For most of new students, the first month in the U.S. will be like this:

Going door to door distributing your resume to each and every one in a hopes that maybe one day, they will respond back. They surely do, but the hard reality is that they hardly do. Most of our resumes simply make a stack in their offices. Here’s tips for  students seeking graduate assistantships

As students who come to Study in America with hopes of getting assistanships in the first semester, you could start losing faith and start becoming irritable and cynical.

Obviously, it’s hard to arrange money for most of us. I can empathize with most of prospective students as I was in the same shoes not long ago (just 6 months back).

Even though I had in-state tuition waiver and a Credila loan ( How to get Credila loan without collateral ) to back my studies, this very thought of arranging money and getting an assistantship was all along in my head. I didn’t want to ask for anything from anyone and I’m guessing most of you will agree.

So here I was, competing against my own friends in the race for GA, as everyone does.

Even though I was continuously distributing my resume to virtually every single department of my university, I kept on finding new people on my University website and kept on mailing them my resume.

I probably sent around 500 emails in 4 months time to different people, heads, senior officials and department directors.

Friends, my efforts finally paid off when I got an email from a department and it mentioned that my resume was forwarded to them by someone. They asked if I was still interested in working with them. Surprising, no?

People here do care for you. One man took time out of his busy schedule to forward me resume to another department and it helped me out big time.

Then I was called for an interview and I got selected for Graduate Assistant position.

Graduate Assistant Interview

I was lucky enough to get an interview call from IT services department of my university.

In fact at the time of interview, I got myself into a situation.

My department director invited me for a Google hangout interview by mistake.

I logged in at 9 am and waited for almost half an hour.

When no one seemed to join the video conference, I mailed my director.

Within a minute she replied back and said that there seems to be a confusion and the interviewees are waiting for me on university campus.

University is just 10 minutes walk from my place and I made sure to reach there in 2 minutes.

Surprisingly, they were very welcoming. The director and my team manager were in a  conference room. They had my resume with them. They asked me some general and technical questions which were to be frank not really hard.

People here are really frank but at the same time professional. So I made sure that even if I was cracking a joke, I didn’t cross any line. This is the one thing they look for in a person that he should be expressive enough responsibly and how would they experience working with that person. They were quite satisfied with my answers. I could feel that sense that I will get it and 3 days later I got it.

Graduate Assistant Salary

Salary for Graduate Assistantship about 800 to 900 per month which is less than some of the fellow students who have their assistantship in graduate school.

Teir salary is around $1200 to $1400 per month. But the most important part is that your department pays all of your tuition fee, you get to learn a lot of things like work culture, meeting new people, new connections, which will help me in long run.

After getting GA, you as a student have to pay a very small amount in the form of insurance, facilities and stuff. I work for 20 hours/week.

Here’s the biggest lesson I learned.

Job duties:

I am in the IT Enablement team and most of my work includes Research and Analysis. Also, I do documentation and coding.

I code using Javascript and PHP.

The good thing about my job is that it has so many thing that I can associate with my major i.e. Information Quality like dealing with data quality problems.

Lessons Learned from My Graduate Assistant Experience

One thing I did was to  enjoy my life, made new friends (even though I had this thing about finding  a graduate assistant position in the back of my mind), and kept on putting in effort to get an graduate assistant position.

I strongly believed that one day my effort will definitely pay off no matter how insane they are.

I would suggest that new students coming to the U.S. should know that it’s not wrong to think about finances, but don’t let them take a toll on you.

Just keep on working, making progress,  and your hard work will eventually pay off.

And as they say, keep working, that’s the best we can do! So stop worrying, start living!

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  1. siva kumar on February 17, 2015 at 6:17 PM

    Let me post the real facts about scholarships etc in USA.

    Out of every 500 or 1000 students may be 5 people get scholarships.
    only very few universities offering that too they consider lot of thing to give scholarship.

    Please dont trust scholarships or grad Graduate Assistantship etc and come to usa and struggle.
    I am in usa since last 4 years noticed lot of people suffering and going back to india.

    if you have enough money to study then only plan for usa.

  2. pratik001 on January 31, 2015 at 9:34 AM

    hii raghu
    My distant relative has done BE MECH and AMIE in Computer Science and BSC (external) in IT… he wish to apply for MS in CS… Do you think he has any chance to get admits? He has scored exceptionally good marks in AMIE & BSc (90% in all papers) and Distinction in BE in Mech. Seeing the job market he wasnts to get into CS in US so that he dont have to come back… his GRE he took in December is 320 (to best of my knowledge)… Since he has a full time BE degree will professors consider him for the CS? as so many students apply for CS after BE in CS how much posibility is there to get admits? he is 28 year old fella… pls guide! regards!

  3. pratik001 on January 31, 2015 at 1:05 AM

    Thank you Raghu! 🙂

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