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Letter about why you want an assistantship?


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Has anyone ever been ask to write a letter about why they want an assistantship? Portland State's website doesn't mention it (at least not that I have seen) but the online application system surprised me by requiring that you provide a letter detailing why you deserve/want/need a grad assistantship. I am sort of taken aback since I have not seen other schools do this. Does anyone have any experience with it or ever hear of it? I'd really appreciate any advice anyone has about writing one.

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I've heard some schools ask for a separate essay dealing with why you are qualified for TAships and such. I think you can approach this as a venue to discuss work experience or previous teaching / admin experience during your prior studies

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