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Teaching Assistant in HS - where does this get listed in apps/on resume and is it meaningful?


Replies to: Teaching Assistant in HS - where does this get listed in apps/on resume and is it meaningful?

  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    Fwiw, if you REALLY want to get something out of this, it will be important to develop it further. Since this is a "during the school hours" it does not really qualify as an EC. However, your daughter could extend beyond the classroom and form a study group for that subject. This will go a long way to show leadership and initiative -- something that might not be evident from the "teacher's aide" position as it is described. By doing this, she should be able to list it more prominently on her list of activities and not be a nebulous (if it even shows) on a transcript.

    This activity could also be further described by the teacher in a possible LOR. In so many words, if you want to get something out of this in terms of college admissions "brag" list, you need to elevate beyond an activity that is almost always seen as pedestrian among HS around the country. High school students are really never considered to be "teachers' assistants" despite the terms saying so.. Not anymore than the uber common "doctor or nurse shadowing" makes kids health service providers or cleaning the lab a bona fide researcher.
  • pranayamapranayama Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    My S does something like this at his school - he finished the language courses offered as a junior (both AP levels of Spanish) so for senior year worked out an independent study with his teacher where he researches a pre-determined topic throughout the year (relating to Spanish literature) and then teaches it in lower level Spanish classes. He is one of 2 students in his school to do this. He included this in the "additional information" section of the CA (also appears on his transcript, but no grade) and had the teacher write his LOR (I assume it included information about the project and son's teaching). His college counselor was clear that it would be necessary to show that this was a meaningful project on the application because it didn't necessarily look that way without further explanation.
  • saintfansaintfan Registered User Posts: 8,274 Senior Member
    ^^^ agree - it would be good to have a LOR from this teacher and possibly address it in the additional information section as well. Otherwise it would look like an "office helper" type of filler item.
  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 Registered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    TA is more similar to volunteer or work experience, rather than academic.
    It's fine if she has a solid schedule of academic classes otherwise.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,368 Senior Member
    edited December 2014
    Go ahead and list it as an EC, if she wishes. I'm presuming she was chosen for this based on her academic and team-player strengths in that class. She'll have a little space to describe it in the Activities section- they'll see it didn't mean sharpening pencils. They'll understand she wasn't running her own class.

    Imo, this is a case where you don't have to be so literal about credit and whether it's outside class time. It's a responsibility, a designation. There's no bad risk in listing it. Kids do list this sort of thing (and similar.) The difference would be if the hs intentionally gives every kid this sort of task.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,441 Senior Member
    Regardless of how it is listed (and perhaps in an incorrect rubric, semantically speaking) the salient point is to go BEYOND the mere description that might be nebulous. This is why having someone else describing it through an additional LOR or by the student in a supplemental essay will pay more dividends.

    For reference, why not read the last two paragraphs of this "instruction" by Vanderbilt --a school that has done its share to demystify many angles of the applications process, as well as debunk plenty of myths.

    Give us as much context as possible. When we are advocating for our applicants, it is helpful to have as much information as we can get. If you feel that one of your activities needs a little bit of extra explanation, either regarding the activity itself or the nature of your involvement, do not hesitate to add it. The Additional Information section on the Common App and the Vanderbilt Writing Supplement are both great ways to squeeze in that helpful context.

    Don’t try to guess what we want to see. Does this piece of advice sound familiar? I offered it a couple weeks ago when discussing the personal essay, and it is just as relevant here. We do not prefer one “type” of involvement over another at Vanderbilt, as we are looking to build a community of students with varying interests. Get involved with the activities that you are passionate about, and let that passion show through as you summarize your involvement in your application

    In so many words, tell us what it REALLY is and WHY it is meaningful to you. And, one might add, do not turn it into a brag fest not supported by the reality.

  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 32,368 Senior Member
    Holy cow. I get antsy when people go on about passions. Not everything has to be made into a bfd. Save that for one of the bigger impact ECs.
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,890 Senior Member
    Never heard of HS students' being "TA"s before (had never heard of undergrad college TA's before CC either- I shudder to think of paying tuition for an undergrad conducting any class time- discussions or labs). Very different from the independent study mentioned by one poster. seems to be a waste of learning time unless it is like the teaching experiences mentioned by another poster for eventual teachers. It seems to me to be a time filler and not an educational experience, especially if no grade is given. I am reminded of a sadly true tale told to me by a grandmother of a gifted child in an outlying district- that child was helping others because she was ahead of her peers instead of being given appropriate learning situations. How is any college to know this is an educationally enriching experience and not just busywork?
  • twoinanddonetwoinanddone Registered User Posts: 21,832 Senior Member
    My daughter was assigned this when her school had no space in any other elective, she didn't have a car to leave campus, and the school didn't allow study halls. The teacher she was assigned to was her favorite, and she helped him a little with academic stuff, but it was mostly paperwork. She did not receive a grade but did receive community service hours. As far as I was concerned, it was wasting time, running errands, etc. If the OP's daughter did more than this, and wants it acknowledged, she needs to point that out somehow, maybe through the recommendation letters. Otherwise many college admins will think the 'aide' experience is more like my daughters. My other daughter was asked to be a TA in 6th grade. For many of the 6th graders, they went next door to the elementary school and read to the younger kids. I had her put into a second elective instead, but many of her friends did this for 3 years.
  • epiphanyepiphany Registered User Posts: 8,574 Senior Member
    From what I have observed in T.A.-ships yesterday and today, they have been used largely as a "privilege" or "teacher's pet" kind of "honor," as opposed to something substantial. I think sometimes (in those cases) it's a recognition that the student is beyond being challenged by the current offerings in that subject at that school, because he or she has exceeded what's available. The T.A.-ship (in those cases) has been a sort of formal recognition of that.

    Not sure if others can verify anything similar in their experiences.
  • marysidneymarysidney Registered User Posts: 572 Member
    My son does this at his school; it was his own idea for a class in which a lot of his fellow students needed help last year, so he helps this year. No one else at the school does it, and he receives no credit for it. He listed it under activities in the CA, because he considered it volunteering hours. The teacher he helps is one of his recommenders, although not because of this arrangement, but because the class is a science class and his strength is in humanities. I consider it a nice addition to the activity list, but not a huge plus for his application, although it's also true that his contribution is limited to class tutoring, rather than grading.
  • PiccoloMom1995PiccoloMom1995 Registered User Posts: 234 Junior Member
    My D was a TA her senior year (2 years ago) for a sophomore Spanish class, which was an independent study for no credit. At her school, very few students are selected to be a TA, so as epiphany mentioned, it was a recognition of her advanced abilities. The teacher she was assigned to is an inspiring educator; he gave her many opportunities in class to be creative and she saw first hand how hard teaching really is. She created a Spanish section on her Activities list (national awards, TA, mentoring, travel to Spain, being a host family, School Committee speech during budget time) since she knew she wanted to major in foreign languages.

    The Junior year Spanish teacher who wrote her college recommendation mentioned her TA work and how it benefited the entire dept. The TA experience was useful when she applied for ESL jobs the next summer and was awarded a paid TA position at a state university.
  • JazziiJazzii Registered User Posts: 1,605 Senior Member
    I would include in an addition section part of the app. Or, if she truly enjoyed it I would have her write her essay on it. As an education major myself I can see why this is important to her but having it count for credit does make it a little bit harder.

    What I did, one of my schools asked for a resume and I put it on there. As a junior and senior I actually worked for 2 periods a day as a teacher in the teens and tots program which is a first come, first serve universal PreK which was housed in my high school. I had to create lessons, incorporate use of technology and meet standards but it was a 2 credit course. I included that in my resume with a quick note like "voluntary class selection" next to it (counselor recommended)
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