Welcome to Higher Education’s Visiting Days webpage. Applicants can review general information regarding our Visiting Days process; once accepted into the Higher Education Program, our prospective students will receive more detailed information regarding the Visiting Days process.
Please note: whether a student is interested in a GA position or not, these Visiting Days will be open to our prospective students. We, as a program, are committed to student success and want to encourage socialization amongst our students, as well as provide students opportunities to meet with our faculty. All accepted students are encouraged to attend Visiting Days.
GENERAL INFORMATION ON THE VISITING DAYS PROGRAM
Florida State University’s Higher Education Program, like many other programs around the country, does offer a Visiting Days program for our Higher Education MS and PhD students. This program is intended to allow prospective students who have been admitted into the program to visit our campus, have time with our faculty, meet potential cohort members, and interview with GA assistantship employers. This three-day process generally occurs during early February. The next Visiting Days will be February 9-11, 2020.
Generally speaking, we ask prospective students to arrive on Sunday around midday for time to meet with our program coordinator, receive a campus tour and more information about the program, and participate in social opportunities. Monday generally involves some time with our faculty, interviews for GA positions, and a social at the end of the day for all students, employers, and faculty. Tuesday is our final day and generally is not a full-day, as we know students need to travel to go back to their current institutions/jobs/family/etc.
Students attending the Visiting Days Program in-person do pay a fee for the process, which is detailed in our Event Guide. This fee goes directly back to our students in the form of food, snacks, and materials. The being said, we know that some students may experience that cost as a barrier. In alignment with our Social Justice and Student Success pillars, we will always look to keep these costs as minimal as possible. In the past, we have received cost subsidies from our partners in this process: the Division of Student Affairs, the College of Education, and HESA (the Higher Education Student Association).
We are offering a modified online process, called Virtual Visiting Days, as a no-cost option for those students not able to make the trip to Tallahassee for any reason. Virtual Visiting Days will offer a modified version of the programmatic aspects of Visiting Days and will be provided to students through a link, which will be sent to virtual attendees as denoted on their registration. Please note that all times for the program are Eastern Standard Time and will be broadcasted live. Additionally, students attending and interested in interviews will be able to virtually connect with employers. We request that students attending virtually provide us with a SKYPE name that we can then provide to employers on your behalf. In the event that you are not in a country that supports Skype, please indicate that on your registration form so that we can work with you to navigate the process.
For further information on what our process entails, please look over our Program Guide.
As this process is only for admitted students of the Higher Education program, these admitted students will receive an email including a link to register for the program after they’ve been notified of their admissions status from the university. These emails generally go to our admitted students very close to the beginning of spring semester for FSU.
INFORMATION AND TIPS FOR THE INTERVIEW PROCESS
Florida State University’s Higher Education program has a strong foundation in the idea of theory to practice focused on the program’s pillars: Leadership, Social Justice, and Student Success. In alignment with our pillar of Student Success, we want to acknowledge that going through an on-campus interview (or multiple) can be stressful and overwhelming. Different institutions may have different procedures related to assistantships, as well as the interview and selection process. We want you to feel as comfortable with Florida State’s process as possible before coming to campus, and we are here to answer any questions you may have. If you are interested in interviewing for a Graduate Assistant position during the Visiting Days process, we want to provide you with the resources below to help you in the process.
Graduate Assistantship Positions
View our list of graduate assistantship positions here. As we are made aware of position openings, we will update our list to show which positions are open for the coming year. We recommend looking at each position description where you think you may be interested, so that you can have a good understanding of the positions for when you interview.
To see Graduate Assistantship positions available in 2020-2021, visit our booklet here.
In thinking about why you want to pursue your master’s or doctoral degree in Higher Education and your future goals, please share the following in one page, single-spaced:
- What are you hoping to gain from your time as a graduate assistant at FSU?
- What are your post-degree career goals and how might a graduate assistantship fit into your ongoing professional growth and development?
- For Master’s Students: ACPA and NASPA have created a joint list of Professional Competency Areas for Student Affairs Educators, which can be found here. Thinking about why you want to pursue your master’s in Higher Education, consider the aforementioned competency areas to assess where you have experience and where you think you could gain more exposure. Based on the intent of our program and the competencies for our profession, please share what you are hoping to gain from your time working as a graduate assistant at Florida State University.
- For Doctoral Students: Please speak to any experience you have in areas of research, teaching, or administration which may have prepared you for graduate assistant work at the doctoral level.
In thinking about the audience of these cover letters, you should be sure to keep a broad selection of locations in mind. Do not worry about making a different cover for each position, as you’ll only be able to submit one for the entire process. Be sure to talk about the experiences you’ve had and what experiences you’re hoping to get, in general, out of an assistantship.
Résumé or CV
We accept résumés or CVs, whichever you wish to provide us. We recommend all students visit their own university Career Center or otherwise-termed location on campus to assist with making their résumés. However, we recognize not all prospective students are currently at a university. As such, we have partnered with FSU’s Career Center, who has graciously agreed to talk with our prospective students. They have also provided a link to the FSU Career Center Guide, found here. This guide should provide prospective students with a variety of aspects of the interview process, with pages 12-17 dedicated to résumés. If you need further assistance, please contact the FSU Career Center here.
Please note that the résumé or CV used for your application may be the same as the one for Visiting Days, or you may wish to tailor your résumé or CV for the types of assistantships in which you’re interested.
Thank You Notes
In accordance with sustainability measures, we do not recommend prospective students to purchase/bring Thank You notes. Instead, if you feel you’ve connected with someone in the process, we recommend you send an email and express your gratitude in this way. While we understand that some schools may value Thank You notes, we want to ensure we remove as many cost barriers to the process, so sending an email follow-up is most recommended.
For Visiting Days, if you attend in-person, we recommend a blend of outfits, as your personal style and budget allow. You will need causal clothes for traveling and social events Sunday and Monday. We recommend ‘snappy casual’ for Sunday’s program, as well as comfortable walking shoes, as a campus tour is included. Online students will not be viewed, as program events will be broadcast. We ask on Sunday that any online students mute their cameras with us, though keep an option for sound in the event that you have a question. For interviews, whether in-person or online, we recommend professional business attire.
If attending in-person, we also recommend bringing an umbrella or rain jacket, as Florida may be rainy during this time of year.
Buddies and Hosts
One unique offering that FSU provides to our students, whether online or in-person, is a buddy for the Visiting Days process. Administered through HESA (the Higher Education Student Association) and the HESA Visiting Days Chairs, our current students are paired with prospective students to provide a guide during your time with us. When you register for Visiting Days, you will be assigned a host or buddy from one of our current cohorts. Your host/buddy will serve as your guide throughout the Visiting Days process. They can help you navigate Tallahassee, offer insight to FSU, and answer any questions you may have along the way! The Visiting Days registration form will ask you a few questions so we can match you with a host/buddy.
If you have decided to make lodging arrangements on your own, we will match you with a current graduate student to serve as your Visiting Days Buddy. Much like a host, your buddy will serve as a guide during your stay in Tallahassee.
If you want to stay with a current student while in Tallahassee, the host program is for you! Hosts will make arrangements for you to stay at their home, transport you to and from Visiting Days events, and serve as a friend and guide during your visit to Florida State University. You should hear from and communicate with your host prior to your arrival. Hosts provide a sleeping space, pillows, blankets, and towels for their buddies, as well as assist with helping prospective students navigate the Tallahassee area. It should be noted that hosts are not expected to provide toiletries or food, so prospective students should be in good communication with their buddies.
Suggested items to bring if you’re attending in-person:
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Wrinkle spray & stain-removing pens
- Extra cash (for socials & just in case)
- Umbrella/Rain jacket
If you would prefer to stay at a hotel instead of utilizing the host program, Tallahassee has a number of nearby hotels as options for you. Traditionally, HESA leadership have worked with hotels to get a block or rooms at a discount rate. Additionally, we are working with University Housing to have a few rooms available for a fee. If you are seeking this option, be sure to denote it on your registration form, as space is limited and available on a first-come, first-serve basis. This cost is not included in registration.
Traveling to Tallahassee
If you choose to attend Visiting Days in-person, traveling for interviews can be stressful – we get that. To help ease your frustrations, we have put together this convenient travel guide to help you on your journey to Tallahassee.
FLYING INTO TLH: If you live far away from Tallahassee, flying may be the best option to get to Visiting Days. The Tallahassee airport code is TLH. We recommend booking your flight early to get the best deal possible. Your host (see host/buddy section in guide) may be able to pick you up from the Tallahassee airport, so be in contact with them to talk about needs/availability.
DRIVING TO TALLAHASSEE: If you currently live in the southeast, driving may be the most cost-efficient and convenient way to get to Tallahassee. Check to see if anyone from your current institution or area is also coming to FSU Visiting Days. If so, carpooling is a great option. Road trips are always more fun with a buddy!
No matter how you travel, please plan to arrive around noon so you have time to eat and make it to campus for our first event on Sunday at midday. The program will end on Tuesday, normally midday, so please plan your travel home accordingly. Specific times depend on years, and we recommend you check the Visiting Days Guide for specific information.
In the event that you need to make travel arrangements prior to the current Visiting Days Guide becoming available, please note that we will work with students to ensure they do not miss anything and still meet their traveling needs. Please be in good communication with your buddy and the program GA to ensure that nothing is missed.
Advice from Current Students
General Assistantship Search Tips
- Broaden your horizons. Interview for positions that might be outside of your comfort zone, as you may have internship opportunities in the future.
- Look at assistantships where you’ll be challenged as well as supported.
- Choose a supervisor you’ll want to work with for the next two years or more, but also know that supervisors may change.
- Make sure the office culture and mission is the right fit for you before accepting a position.
Visiting Days Interview Tips
- If you have time, take notes immediately after each interview. This will help you as you consider your assistantship options and reflect on your Visiting Days experience.
- Come prepared with questions for each employer.
- Be sure to show your personality. Employers want to see if you’ll be a great fit for their office and its culture.
- Consider asking about office culture and supervisory styles.
- Practice active listening throughout the interview.
- Schedule a mock interview at your current institution or have a friend ask you potential interview questions.
- Treat every interview as if it is your first interview and every positions as the position one about which you’re excited. This will help when you get tired or stressed.
- Don’t overthink it! Be vulnerable and authentic. It will pay off, and you’ll end up where you’re meant to be.
- Bring extra résumés, reference lists, and business cards (if you have them). Most employers will have your documents on hand, but it’s always good to have them just in case.
- Silence is okay. Take time answering questions if needed. Reflect on what you’re going to say and don’t speak just to fill the silence.