Higher Education & Student Affairs

For more information about Baylor's HESA


The Apprenticeship Experience – My Time at Baylor Visit Experiences by Lauren Samuelson

What is a Graduate Apprenticeship? Is that a typo? Is it supposed to say Assistantship? When I was looking at Baylor’s HESA program I had the exact same question. Our GA positions are called Apprenticeships rather than Assistantships here at Baylor. I think it’s something that makes our program really special because of the relational aspects that come with that.

In order to be a part of the Higher Education and Student Affairs program at Baylor, you must secure a Graduate Apprenticeship on-campus during our Interview Placement weekend in the spring. These apprenticeships are located in offices all across campus, but all of them require that you work 20 hours a week. What’s special about this apprenticeship model is that you are not just “assisting” your office but rather you are an “apprentice” under your supervisor/supervisors in your respective role.

This apprenticeship experience has been incredibly valuable for me and my time at Baylor. For my Graduate Apprenticeship I work at the Weithorn Undergraduate Admissions Center aka the WUAC. There are several parts of my job that I think best highlight the value of the apprenticeship experience which include: my role in the office, my supervisors, and the community I’ve found where I work.

Role: My role at the WUAC is to help supervise our over 130 student tour guides, schedule all Baylor campus tours, and assist with planning large on-campus recruitment events for prospective students. I also advise our student leadership team and create our office newsletter. During football season, I also get to work tailgates for prospective Baylor students and families, as well as assist with Game Day Experiences for prospective student athletes. In my role, I am incredibly fortunate to be able to explore so many different sides of our office. Rather than just helping out at events, my supervisors have given me the freedom to really grow in my role. I am fortunate that I both get to have the experience of leading and managing students, while also getting the chance to be a part of a larger professional team of staff members at the same time. Being able to learn from all of these different experiences has made my apprenticeship experience so valuable. 

Supervisors: In each Baylor HESA Graduate Apprenticeship, students are placed with a supervisor in their office who helps support and mentor them. I have had the fortunate experience to be supervised by the Director of Admissions Recruitment, Ross VanDyke. Rather than just treating me like the mere graduate student that I am, he has given me opportunities for professional development and personal growth in my apprenticeship experience. He has always made sure to ask me for my input on the experiences I would like to be a part of, which I am so incredibly grateful for. In my role at the WUAC, I also am fortunate to have another supervisor in Julia Bales, the Assistant Director of our office (and a graduate of the Baylor HESA program herself!) She has been able to speak into my life in so many professional and personal ways. If anything, I am grateful to be at Baylor for what I have learned from her alone. These two individuals have invested so much in me, and I am so thankful for the ways that they have challenged me and cheered me, on all kinds of days.

Community: There are no words for how thankful I am for the community that my apprenticeship has given me. Being able to invest in an office community for two academic years (and the summer in-between) has given me life-long relationships with my coworkers and the students I get to work with. Graduate school is tough. Balancing school, work, and life outside all of it can be all consuming, but the support and love from the family I have found in my apprenticeship has meant the world to me. We work really hard in our office, but we also laugh a lot too. Our office has monthly social events where we do things like go to a NHL hockey games, create a campus-wide scavenger hunt, or have a massive white elephant gift exchange. Our office community is ridiculous and fun, but also incredibly warm and supportive. These people have really shown me why the community of Baylor is so special and my experience has been so wonderful because of them. They’ve taught me so much about the world of college admissions, but they’ve also taught me a lot about life along the way.

When I was looking at graduate programs I at first thought that the words assistantship and apprenticeship could be used interchangeably. I was so wrong. Being an apprentice has made all the difference in my graduate experience because of the transformational relationships I have been able to form. I love ya, WUAC family. Sic ’em forever!

megan_michener • October 3, 2017

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  1. Justin October 5, 2017 - 6:57 pm Reply

    Great post Lauren! Where’s my shout-out?

  2. JDL October 5, 2017 - 7:03 pm Reply

    Sounds like a great place to work AND learn!

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