Perhaps one of the most common questions I hear in the Graduate Admissions Office is: “What ways can I finance my education as a graduate student?”
Graduate Assistantship positions at SUNY Plattsburgh are an excellent way to finance your time as a graduate student. Assistantships offer tuition coverage as well as a stipend, and are available as 10- or 20- hour a week positions. Not only do you get the opportunity to fund your education, but you also gain valuable and relevant experience while working. I’d call that a win/win!
There are two types of assistantships available to graduate students. As of 2017, 10-hour a week positions are awarded half of their in-state rate of tuition paid, as well as a stipend of $3,023. For 20-hour a week positions, assistants are awarded full in-state tuition plus a stipend of $6,046. Some positions, like Resident Hall Directors, receive other compensation like housing and a higher stipend.
Who can apply?
- Graduate assistantships are available to those persuing graduate study at either SUNY Plattsburgh or the Branch Campus at Queensbury
- In-state, out of state, and International student applicants are accepted
- Applicants must apply by the February 15th, assistantship deadline
- Applicants must be full-time, matriculated graduate students at the time of their appointment
- Current graduate students, or applicants with a completed application submitted by February 15th
What’s the application like?
The application process for graduate assistantships is straight-forward. After looking at what positions are available, applicants are directed to fill out an online form designating what position(s) you are interested in applying for. After submitting this form, applicants will fill out an application through SUNY Plattsburgh’s Human Resources website, which will ask for your information, and request a resume and a cover letter to be uploaded. If you are applying to more than one position, your cover letter can either be general and reflect more than one position, or you can upload multiple letters to different positions.
When I applied to graduate study for the Student Affairs & Higher Education (M.S.) program at SUNY Plattsburgh for the fall of 2015, I knew that the best way I could afford graduate school was through an assistantship. Unfortunately, I didn’t receive an assistantship my first semester. I was disappointed, and wished that I had given the application my “all.” However, there was a silver lining: as a graduate student, I was still able to apply for graduate assistantships. Boy, am I glad I did! The second time around, I put a lot of effort into my application, my cover letters, and applied for more than one position.
I received an opportunity to interview with the Graduate Admissions Office for a 20-hour a week graduate assistantship position during my first semester. I interviewed with Betsy Kane, the Director of Graduate Admissions, and Tonya Deese, the Office’s then-graduate assistant. A few weeks later, I received a call outside of Hawkins Hall on campus: I got it! I finally had an assistantship!
As a graduate assistant for Graduate Admissions, I’ve been able to gain valuable, relevant experience in my major. My day-to-day functions in the office have given me skills to navigate as a future professional in my field, as well as the opportunity to network and make connections with professional staff and faculty on campus. I’ve also had the chance to use my creative flair while planning events, making advertisements, and managing the social media accounts.
As a graduate assistant, I was able to take advantage of funding specifically for graduate assistants to attend the 2016 American College Personnel Association’s (ACPA) conference in Montreal, Canada. The conference was held only a few hours away from SUNY Plattsburgh, and was an excellent opportunity to meet professionals, hear new research, and learn about new developments in the field. It was a blast!
Being able to work directly with students has been the highlight of my time in Graduate Admissions; after working with the graduate student population, I now realize I’d love to work with graduate students professionally. I wouldn’t change a single thing: applying for graduate assistantships was one of the best decisions I’ve made! Well, aside from applying to SUNY Plattsburgh for graduate school, that is!
Have I sold you on applying for assistantships yet?
Check out the Graduate Assistantship page on our website for more information about available positions, and how to apply. If you have questions about assistantships, applying, or graduate study, please contact the Graduate Admissions Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call toll-free (U.S. and Canada) 800-723-9515.