Will students only be taught by TA's?

College Experience

Our counselors answered:

Will students only be taught by TA's?

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

Will students only be taught by TA's?

Try to avoid such schools, but get the statistics in advance!

Nancy Milne
Owner Milne Collegiate Consulting

Will students only be taught by TA's?

Who teaches you will depend on the size of your school, the course, and the school's policies. At some schools, TA's only handle small discussion groups that meet in conjunction with a weekly lecture. Depending on the department, TA's may not have a classroom role at all. Some TA's are better than others, just as is the case with the professors. Don't discount a program, just because they use TA's. This often keeps costs down, you can still see the faculty member during office hours, and having two takes on the subject may actually work in your favor.

Karen Ekman-Baur
Director of College Counseling Leysin American School

Will students only be taught by TA's?

There is not a definitive answer to this question. It is an aspect, however, that you should investigate when you do your college research. In some schools, teaching assistants (TA's) do teach some classes - or many classes, depending on the school. Other schools very specifically state that all classes will be taught by professors. In some schools, a professor will deliver the main lectures of a course, and TA's will lead accompanying small group seminars. In other words, there is a great deal of variety in how classes are taught. Some teaching assistants may do a very good job of presenting and processing class material, so the idea of TA's should not be rejected out of hand. It IS important, however, to have realistic expectations of the prevalence of teaching assistants as teachers of classes in the schools to which you apply.

Benjamin Caldarelli
Partner Princeton College Consulting, LLC

Will students only be taught by TA's?

Even at the largest schools this is unlikely. It is possible that smaller discussion sections will be lead by TAs while larger lectures are often given by Professors. It is generally true however that at large research universities undergraduates have less opportunity to interact with professors than at smaller schools.

Megan Dorsey
SAT Prep & College Advisor College Prep LLC

Will students only be taught by TA's?

Your choice of college will determine how many TAs you have. I attended George Washington University then transferred to Rice University my junior year. I NEVER had a TA teach a class. I did have graduate student TAs lead discussion sections for freshman English, political science, and science labs, but professors taught the courses. As you visit college campuses ask students and staff about the role of TAs at that school.

Jessica Brondo
Founder and CEO The Edge in College Prep

Will students only be taught by TA's?

This is highly unlikely. People always tell horror stories of never getting to see a professor, but in reality this is untrue. What will usually happen is that a large lecture class that is taught by a professor will once a week be broken into small groups or 'Recitations' so that students can get a chance to ask questions and work more closely with an instructor than simply taking notes in lecture. Since the professor cannot teach the 10-20 recitations in a 200 person lecture, he will teach a few, and the rest will be broken up among Teaching Assistants, or TAs. These TAs are usually graduate students or upperclassmen who follow the class and work with the professor to help the students. You may have TAs teaching your recitations, but your professor should teach the lectures. Another thing to keep in mind is that TAs are not necessarily a bad thing. TAs are younger, probably very close to you in age, and that might make it easier for them to relate to you, answer your questions etc. It can be easier to approach a TA and ask for help than a professor. TAs often, since they are young and remember their own college experiences, can often be more lenient when it comes to turning in assignments as well.