Becoming a Teaching Assistant (TA)

Planning on going to graduate school?

If you are planning on graduate school, you may want to think about how you can stand out from other applicants! Most often, intensive research experiences are the route to standing out; however, a strong teaching experience can also make the difference between being a mediocre and a stellar applicant. Consider spending a semester or two as a teaching assistant (TA)! Just like a research experience, you can tailor a teaching experience to give you a competitive edge in your graduate school application. For example, you can guest lecture, design exams and assignments, grade student work, or help design an entirely new course!

Perhaps more importantly, you can TA for courses that are directly in your area of interest. If you are interested in neuroscience, you could consider being a TA for the following classes: psychophysiology, psychopharmacology, cognitive psychology, and principles of learning. To demonstrate that you have a broad background in psychology as well as assist you in your preparation for the GRE psychology subject test, you could TA for general psychology.

No matter what course you TA for, you are showing that you are (1) responsible, (2) reliable, (3) honest, and (4) ethical. Often, graduate admissions committees will appreciate prior teaching experience as an expression of your seriousness about graduate studies.

I am currently recruiting teaching assistants for both general psychology and cognitive psychology for the Fall 2014 semester. To be a TA, you must have earned a B or better in the course you want to TA for. Common responsibilities include communicating with students, grading student work, holding study sessions, reviewing for exams, etc. Keep in mind that each TA has his or her own goals and desires and that teaching experiences can be tailored to meet those needs. For example, some students prefer to teach whole class, others prefer to teach part of a class or run a specific activity, while others prefer not to teach at all. If you want more information, feel free to email me at Dr.Hill {at} hillpedagogylab.org or jessica.hill {at} uvu.edu. Also, I can connect you with past TAs who can tell you more about their own experiences.