How to get assistantship from Professor?

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Wake Forest law students Meggan Bushee and Grant Miller study in the Worrell Professional Center Library on Wednesday, September 10, 2008.

You may be applying to universities or may be having already applied. Once you get acceptance letter from university you keep worrying about your part time job, may be assistantship or anything that will aid you with some money which will in return beneficial for smooth stay in abroad. Assistantship is one of the options which will gain you some money for your living. The other advantages of assistantship are you do not have to go to other place than your university for work, you get experience in the field you are studying in, and not to forget you get associated with one of the research project. The assistantship with any of your professor is the matter of tough competition and sometime may sound too far to get but never lose heart, it’s not impossible though it seem so. First thing you should remember  assistantship is not the thing which you will get the moment you arrive to your university. You need to be preparing for it a little earlier. The best way to contact your professor is through email. But we strongly recommend not bumping on assistantship in the very first e-mail. You need to build a relationship with the professor. They get thousands of mails and only few get answered so make sure you mail counts among these few emails. Give it a time and more importantly have patience. So let’s see it as a step by step procedure.

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image source: gradschoolheaven.com

  1. First chose a professor who has funding. Now how to know which professor has funding? The best way to check website of university and the person with more publication will have funding. Easy to start with?
  2. After this, get ready for your first mail. Tell the professor that you are willing to take his course, what are your goals and how this course will help you in achieving them, your achievements and if you want to do some publication on the similar topics ask him for suggestion. The subject of your email should be Anticipated student- Term (write the term for which you are applying for e.g. Fall 2016). Remember, you should not mention even a little about assistantship in this mail.
  3. Your second mail should be concern about relevant material you will require during taking the course. Ask your professor about relevant books and other material. Keep the mail short. Do not extend it too much. Put the subject of mail short and terse like Material for (course name)
  4. You should have knowledge of his work and the papers which the professor has published. Give your time to understand his work. Have a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of what is he doing, what is his area of interest and what publication he has. Check his website and gain the relevant material.
  5. Go through his work and gain as much as knowledge about the topic. So that you can show it in front of him. Be so knowledgeable about his publications that he is left with only option to be impressed by you.
  6. Your next mail is tricky, you need to ask him about your doubt which you faced while reading his publication or you can also suggest few of your ideas which you came across while studying is publication. Again keep it simple but yet highly intellectual. Put a terse subject for the mail.
  7. It may be possible that you may not get a desired reply from the professor but do not sound all doom and gloom at this step. It is just start of healthy relationship between you and your professor. So do not lose your cool and keep patience.
  8. You may continue this email conversation with him while asking doubt, clearing them and of course asking for feedbacks on your suggestion up to 5-6 e-mails. Remember, slow and steady can make you win the race.
  9. After this you can start with if he is having any ongoing project where you can assist him. Convince him how it will  be beneficial for you and you would love to work with him. The mail should convince the professor the willingness to work with him and your passion toward your course.
  10. It’s high possibility that you may not get a reply. Do not get discouraged. Have patience and remember there many such mails which are arriving to him and it is even tougher for him to decide.
  11. The time you arrive in the university, be in touch with your professor. You should follow this at least for first semester. Share your ideas, clear doubts with him.
  12. Make you are counted in his good books.
  13. Try to get good grades in his subject and good means really good and impressive.
  14. Meet him after classes for discussion of your subjects and doubts. Have a good professor-student relationship with him.
  15. Till the second semester you will build a strong bond and to add to it you also have proved your knowledge in his subject. This will surely count and will increase your chances more than other students.

Now when you know all the nooks and corners of how to get assistantship, start for writing your first mail. The early you start the better image you make in front of your professor.