1. PF Contest - Win "Conquering the Physics GRE" book! Click Here to Enter
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Does grad school like to see teaching experience on apps?

  1. Sep 29, 2010 #1
    Hi all. I'm considering being a tutor for my dept and later on taking up a TA position.
    I do enjoy teaching, but it's a time commitment.
    Would such teaching experiences help me in applying to grad schools?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2010 #2
    I don't know from experience, but I would imagine that this would benefit you in the long run. Teaching is one of the greatest ways to achieve mastery in a subject. I don't see why a gradute school would not look at this as a positive.
  4. Sep 29, 2010 #3
    i think it is good job for u. teaching is a way to learn more in your field.
  5. Sep 30, 2010 #4

    Andy Resnick

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    It depends. To first approximation, it can only hurt you- graduate programs are generally designed to train you for a career in research. It's a sad fact that graduate education in science minimizes training in education, but there it is. Most programs, if given two otherwise identical applications, one from a person who spend their extracurricular time teaching and the other from a person who spent their extracurricular time doing research, will go for the latter application.

    However, if I see a candidate with a well-rounded application, has thought deeply about their career path, and knows that they enjoy teaching, I will take teaching activity as a positive.
  6. Sep 30, 2010 #5
    From my experience on a selections committee, teaching (labs, tutoring, teaching HS for a few years, etc.) was seen as a positive -- since most accepted graduate students start their first term or first year with guaranteed financial support in the form of a TA (teaching assistant-ship) rather than an RA (research assistant-ship -- for which they must talk to faculty and arrange AFTER being accepted to the program, and most students spend their first year taking core coursework and talking to faculty on the side about possible research projects).

    However, while the effect of teaching experience on acceptance is existent, it is VERY, VERY slight. As Andy mentions above, a Ph.D. program is generally designed to train the candidate for research (not teaching) This is true even though the majority of "academic" jobs are at schools where undergraduate education is significant. Note that competition for any academic job is tough, and it's a greater likelihood that you'll land a non-academic research position, either at a company or at a national lab, etc.

    Generally the place to put any teaching experience on the graduate schools application would be on your resume/CV (if the school's application calls for one) or as a very small part in your personal statement and your professors' supporting recommendations (though these latter two pieces of your application should mostly concentrate on your RESEARCH EXPERIENCE).
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook