One of the best ways to help fund graduate school, besides scholarships and financial aid, is by working as a Graduate Assistant (GA). There are two types of GA positions available: work for a McIntire professor like helping tutor a class and assist with research, or work for a department (which is what I do). As a GA in the Graduate Marketing & Recruiting Office, here’s my perspective on the position:
How did I become a GA?
Once I was accepted into the M.S. in Accounting program, I was added to a Facebook group where we were able to stay connected with the marketing and admissions team. During the summer, a post was made listing the offered GA positions for the upcoming academic year. I was interested in working as a graduate student, so followed a link to the job application on Handshake, which is a platform McIntire uses for posting internship and job opportunities to students. Once the application was completed, I was contacted by a member of the recruitment team to set up a virtual interview. The following week, I received and accepted an offer.
As you can see, the process is relatively painless. It also never hurts to be proactive if you have a specific position in mind and connect ahead of time with the department or office. Waiting until the applications appear on Handshake will also work. Just be sure to respond on time!
What responsibilities do I have?
As a GA, I provide support to the graduate marketing and recruiting team by completing tasks that assist in the overall recruitment of students. This can range from researching various target universities, faculty, staff, and organizations that will allow them to connect with the best, brightest, and most diverse group of students. As a GA, you can also be asked to communicating with prospective students and assist with logistics for recruitment events like class visits, information sessions, and student panels.
Do I have time for classwork, group meetings, and CPA review?
One of the best perks of this position is the flexibility. As a GA, I can create my schedule by recording and updating it on a shared Google calendar. I can create my schedule two weeks ahead of time, which allows me to plan for ongoing classwork and deliverables, group meetings, and CPA prep. The office is really understanding if I have a busy week or my schedule changes, as long as I communicate with them ahead of time.
What are the benefits of being a GA?
There are numerous things that I enjoy about working as a GA. I appreciate everything from the great people that I have the opportunity to work with, to learning more about McIntire and the recruitment process. Graduate school can be tough and overwhelming at times, but with this position, it allows me to decompress and take my mind off of school. Every time I come into work, I know I will be able to share are a few laughs and help someone along the way. Hopefully, if you’re able to work in the office, you’ll enjoy it as much as I am.