Apply Now to be an F&C TA!

Make a difference in the lives of young adults, gain unparalleled teaching and leadership experience, and tackle the biggest societal questions with some of our city's most inquisitive minds.

The summer 2021 program will likely be entirely virtual, with the potential for hybrid learning if circumstances permit. To learn more about our virtual learning review our schedule here and check out the apply now page for student FAQs. In addition, we encourage you to watch the video below to hear from students and professors who participated in last year's virtual program. 

Deadline Feb 28!


Teaching Assistants serve as the bridge between high school and college for F&C students. In the summer, they guide students in their first ever college-level course in the humanities. In the academic year, they support their students' college applications while preparing them for lives of active citizenship. 

Student with TA

During the summer, TAs lead the program's four-day orientation (June 29 - July 2), getting participants comfortable with the program's technology, schedule, and coursework, and building a welcoming community of scholars. Then, during the 3-week seminar (July 5 - 23) TAs attend morning seminars with their students before leading daily reading and writing sessions. Once a week TAs meet for 30 minutes with each of their select mentees to check in and make sure they're getting the individual attention they need to succeed. Saturdays and Sundays are off. 

See our sample daily schedule

In September we're back to work with our civic leadership projects and college mentoring. TAs meet twice monthly with each of their summer mentees to support them in college applications. TAs also lead a small group of students following the F&C civic engagement curriculum in researching and advocating for the topics of their choice. Check out our ongoing projects. Groups meet every other week from September through April.

See a sample academic year calendar here


  • Strong writing and editing skills
  • High proficiency in presenting and communicating complex ideas
  • Demonstrated interest in civic or political issues
  • Experience organizing or leading others 
  • Familiarity with college application process, particularly for low-income, first generation, immigrant, and/or New York City students
  • Must be a Columbia University sophomore or junior who has taken Contemporary Civilization
    • Barnard students and GS/SEAS students who have taken comparable classes are welcome to apply. Please indicate in your cover letter which classes from your transcript best match the F&C syllabus
  • Prior work with low-income and first-generation students is desired

Time Commitment:

About 32 hours per week from June 23 - July 23, and then an average of 2.5 hours per week Sept - May

  • Staff training: June 23, 24, 25, 28
    • Typically 9:30 - 4pm 
  • Summer program June 29 - July 24, Monday - Friday (about 7 hours per day)
    • Professor Seminar (all attend) 9:30 - 11:30am
    • TA Reading Session: TAs select one of the following times:
      • 12:30 - 2:30pm
      • 2:30 - 4:30pm
      • 4:30 - 6:30pm
    • TA Writing Session: TAs select one of the following times --none on Fridays
      • 3:00 - 5:00pm
      • 5:00 - 7:00pm​​​​​​
      • 7:00 - 9:00pm
    • TA Mentoring Sessions: TAs schedule up to five, 30-minute sessions per week (2.5 hours per week) with their designated mentees
  • Civic leadership: September through May
    • TAs lead a two-hour civic leadership meeting every two weeks (4 hours per month)
  • College Mentorship: September through May
    • TAs meet one-on-one with their five mentees in the fall for 30 minutes each (5 hours per month). In the spring semester, TAs transition to group mentorship, with just 2 hours of meetings per month. 


$20/hr or $4,000 per year

  • $2,500 for staff training and the summer program (June - July)
  • $1,500 for civic leadership and college mentorship (Sept - May)
  • Opportunities available throughout for extra work and additional compensation


Please submit the following by email (as a single pdf document) to the program’s Executive Director, Dr. Jessica Lee, at [email protected] by 11:59pm on Sunday, February 28.

    RTA and Student
    • Cover Letter

      Explain your interest in the program and your most relevant experience. We especially welcome applicants who are FGLI and encourage such students to identify themselves in their cover letters, as appropriate. 

    • Resume

      Include the name and contact information for two references, either academic or professional. 

    • Writing sample of no more than 500 words

      Please choose a paper written for CC. If you have not taken CC please select a paper written on one of the texts from our syllabus. You may submit excerpts from a longer paper, just make sure the paper's thesis is included in your sample. 

    • Unofficial transcript through Fall 2020

      A screenshot or printout of your SSOL record is sufficient as long as it is legible and converted to PDF format. If you are still missing grades, send what you can and update us when your grades are posted.

    From our Students

    The Difference a TA Makes

    Our TAs encourage students' intellectual growth, foster their academic independence, build their reading and writing skills, and support their college applications. Read below what our students think of this important work. 

    "They don’t necessarily give you the answer straight away, you have to develop your own perspective...Most people think that a teacher must correct you if you’re right or wrong but TAs have you develop your own thinking, develop your own opinion."  -Mario
    "Over the course of the three weeks I had improved my simple grammar mistakes from the help of my TAs. Normally when I write in school my teachers just tell me to elaborate on my ideas and nothing more. Thus, I really thought that I was a terrible writer, but hearing positive and negative feedback on my writing boosted my confidence." -Kenya
    "My mentor and I went through my common app essay, he really helped me come up with a good essay...He was always there to give me advice, tell me how his college process went, tell me what were some things he liked about college in general." -Amina
    My TA helped me throughout my college application process by reading and providing feedback on my essays. He was really helpful in finding information about college academics and answering all my questions. "   -Alba
    "The biggest surprise for me was Professor Padilla, the TAs, and how nice and understanding Jessica was! I really felt a sense of community the minute I joined and I am so grateful for this experience." - Luis
    "I don’t want to change the ways TAs communicate with the students and help them get a better understanding of their writing. Also they help to structure and add opinions based on the stories. So that you know you’re getting better and better by the end of the program." -Ashanti
    "I didn’t realize like the potential I had with my topic and he helped me find my potential. So I thank him a lot for that because I really feel like if I didn’t have him as my TA a lot of my essays or my supplements it would have been very bad."       -Kwame
    "A TA helps you by checking over your work, working with you, just talking to you a lot. It’s something that’s intimate, you create a strong relationship with them."
    "One thing I learned this summer is that If I actually take the TAs suggestions into consideration, I can actually write better!"         - Michelle
    Staff with students