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Graduate Assistantships: Another Path to Student Support

Grad students offset the cost of grad school by adopting a local high school & supporting those students through the scholarship process

Photo of Erin McCubbin
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Who is the target audience for your idea and how does it reimagine the cost of college?

So many graduate students offset the cost of their own graduate school experience by grading papers or staffing lab rooms for tenured professors. What if we let the teachers teach and connected graduate students (particularly in English, history, counseling, and other writing-heavy disciplines) with local high schools who may lack a dedicated college counselor? That graduate student could hold office hours at the HS and assist students in searching for scholarships and writing compelling essays.

Graduate students have successfully navigated the college process- TWICE! They have a great baseline of knowledge on the college application and scholarship process that would be helpful to any number of students. With their personal knowledge and basic online coaching that can be developed through webinars or other available resources (like NACAC, etc), these graduate students would be supported in supporting student post secondary success at local high schools while at the same time making their own graduate education more affordable. It is a win-win!

With the help of graduate school coaches, high school students have another person to turn to who has navigated the process before them and has experience with the writing, editing, and brainstorming needed to apply for many scholarships. 

What early, lightweight experiment can you try out in your own community to find out if the idea will meet your expectations?

As a college counselor, I could work to develop short 5min YouTube videos that give basic instructions on the major parts of my job. Tips for searching for scholarships, essay writing, timeline information, etc. These resources could be used to train graduate student counselors or by a high school student working on their own.

What skills, input or guidance from the OpenIDEO community would be most helpful in building out or refining your idea?

I'd love more insight into the graduate assistantship process! Also, if someone works in a public school setting or has experience there, I'd appreciate their thoughts on if a public school might be open to this sort of idea. Additionally, if anyone is up for making videos together and brainstorming-- I'd love to collaborate!

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1 comment

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Photo of Shane Zhao

Nice one Erin! This is an interesting idea about fostering more knowledge exchange between high school students and college students. In this challenge, we're focused on helping more students afford a 4 yr bachelors degree so it'd be good to consider how this idea can work for undergraduates. Also, it'd be helpful to explore how students' education can be made more affordable - i.e. who will be paying for the mentorship? Thanks for the post!