how much does TA help the application?

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mhazelm
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how much does TA help the application?

Postby mhazelm » Sat Jan 10, 2009 3:13 pm

I just became a physics TA in my department for the freshman physics class. I'm teaching the lab for physics majors. Does that make a difference in my application to the point where I should send everyone revised CV's, or is it a pretty standard thing that won't make a difference whatsoever (I know a lot of you are already TAs)?

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dlenmn
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby dlenmn » Sat Jan 10, 2009 4:17 pm

My guess is that it's not a big deal -- like you said, a lot of applicants have some sort of teaching experience (TAing, tutoring, etc.), so it's not going viewed as something special. Also, many graduate programs don't put much emphasis on TAing while you're there, so I don't see why they'd care about it on an application...

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meowful
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby meowful » Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:30 pm

I think it's definitely worth sending an updated resume if it isn't too much trouble for you. I think it's impressive that as an undergraduate you're teaching a lab and that it shows that your department thinks highly of your physics and teaching abilities. It also shows your ability to balance teaching with research and classes, which is important for graduate school.

nathan12343
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby nathan12343 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:42 pm

I remember your PGRE scores weren't as high as you wanted, mhazelm. I think it would be a good idea given that, any little bit helps.
Last edited by nathan12343 on Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mike164
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby mike164 » Sat Jan 10, 2009 7:19 pm

dlenmn wrote:My guess is that it's not a big deal -- like you said, a lot of applicants have some sort of teaching experience (TAing, tutoring, etc.)


Most applicants might have the experience of tutoring, but very few would have the experience of being a department appointed TA. And definitely both are not comparable since being a TA (If you are teaching and not grading) is a much more responsible teaching job than being a tutor. Hence, it is definitely worth sending a revised resume.

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monocles
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby monocles » Sat Jan 10, 2009 10:58 pm

I think it's impressive that as an undergraduate you're teaching a lab and that it shows that your department thinks highly of your physics and teaching abilities. It also shows your ability to balance teaching with research and classes, which is important for graduate school.


Is it hard for undergrads to become TAs at some schools? At my school most TAs are undergrads, and usually the only pre-requisite for TAing a class is getting an A in it.

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dlenmn
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby dlenmn » Sun Jan 11, 2009 2:20 am

mike164 wrote:but very few would have the experience of being a department appointed TA.


On the first page of last year's profiles 14/49 listed being a TA. That's a lower percentage than I expected, but I don't think "very few" would be a good way to describe the number of applicants with "TA" on their resume.

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meowful
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby meowful » Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:13 pm

monocles wrote:
I think it's impressive that as an undergraduate you're teaching a lab and that it shows that your department thinks highly of your physics and teaching abilities. It also shows your ability to balance teaching with research and classes, which is important for graduate school.


Is it hard for undergrads to become TAs at some schools? At my school most TAs are undergrads, and usually the only pre-requisite for TAing a class is getting an A in it.


So at your college, if I got an A in Intro Mechanics first semester of my first year, the second semester I'd be able to be teach the Intro Mechanics lab on my own?

tau1777
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby tau1777 » Sun Jan 11, 2009 4:28 pm

i really think you should send them an updated resume. i mean it sounds like a great thing to me. and i certainly don't think it's so common at all schools to have u-grads as TAs. my school not the case. another one i definitely know about is U of Minnesota. if a lot of people do it, then you're worst off not putting it, b/c then you wouldn't even have the basic requirements. if most people don't have it, then that just makes you look better. i don't see what you've got to lose. update the resume and send it out today.

abeboparebop
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby abeboparebop » Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:32 pm

meowful wrote:
monocles wrote:
I think it's impressive that as an undergraduate you're teaching a lab and that it shows that your department thinks highly of your physics and teaching abilities. It also shows your ability to balance teaching with research and classes, which is important for graduate school.


Is it hard for undergrads to become TAs at some schools? At my school most TAs are undergrads, and usually the only pre-requisite for TAing a class is getting an A in it.


So at your college, if I got an A in Intro Mechanics first semester of my first year, the second semester I'd be able to be teach the Intro Mechanics lab on my own?


TA stands for teaching assistant, so you wouldn't be teaching the class. At my school, TAs handle the recitation, go over homework problems, some derivations the professors didn't have to time to cover in class, answer questions, and grade papers.

tmc
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby tmc » Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:23 pm

Hence "teach the lab"

mhazelm
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby mhazelm » Sun Jan 11, 2009 9:38 pm

yeah, I'm just teaching the lab - we're supposed to "lecture" for 15 minutes at the beginning (i.e. just refresh the basic concepts for them), then they do the lab while I help/supervise, and I have to write quizzes for each lab and grade them.

Thanks for the input, I'm sending a new CV out tomorrow! It really can't hurt at this point.

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monocles
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby monocles » Sun Jan 11, 2009 10:22 pm

meowful wrote:
monocles wrote:
I think it's impressive that as an undergraduate you're teaching a lab and that it shows that your department thinks highly of your physics and teaching abilities. It also shows your ability to balance teaching with research and classes, which is important for graduate school.


Is it hard for undergrads to become TAs at some schools? At my school most TAs are undergrads, and usually the only pre-requisite for TAing a class is getting an A in it.


So at your college, if I got an A in Intro Mechanics first semester of my first year, the second semester I'd be able to be teach the Intro Mechanics lab on my own?


Yup, in fact that is exactly what happened to me, and to many other people that I know.

abeboparebop
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Re: how much does TA help the application?

Postby abeboparebop » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:09 am

tmc wrote:Hence "teach the lab"


My bad, at my school all the physics labs are handled by grad students... I assumed that it's likewise elsewhere.




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