Berkeley graduate students play a vital supporting role in undergraduate education throughout the University. They are trained to provide valuable assistance for many lower-division courses whose material they have mastered and for which they have a particular enthusiasm — courses that are usually among the core requirements for a given major. This important collaboration on teaching duties by faculty and graduate students provides undergraduates an especially rich educational experience.
Graduate students typically possess a fresh excitement for their areas of study, and for sharing their knowledge and insights in the classroom and in office hours. They bring to our undergraduate students new opinions and points of view to supplement those of professors. They are also exceptionally engaged and attentive mentors, helping undergraduates build their self-confidence and discover their intellectual selves.
In addition, graduate students — in part because they are usually closer in age to their students — serve as role models for the pursuit of academic and professional careers. It is no surprise that undergraduates often seek out their graduate student instructors not only for one-on-one help with course matters, but also for academic, career, and even personal advice.