While graduate scholarships are less common than undergraduate scholarships, there still are graduate student scholarships available. From our research, it seems to be that most scholarships for graduate students seem to come within the first-year of graduate school. You can see several of these scholarships by clicking here to see FastWeb’s list.
Regardless of how you decide to pay for college, we have compiled some helpful tips for you.
7 Graduate Scholarship and Tuition Tips
- Brainstorm: It is important to dig deep into what you end goal is. If you know exactly what you want to do, it will be easier to find scholarships that will match your criteria. During your brainstorm, don’t forget to think about the following four places:
- College-Based Awards: Just about every college has their own scholarship. If you are having a hard time finding scholarships for graduate students for the program you want, don’t be shy to head down to talk to someone in the department or at the financial aid office.
- Career-Specific Scholarships: Many STEM fields have specific scholarships waiting for your application. If you are not in a STEM field, don’t worry, there are typically some type of career-specific scholarships out there.
- Fellowships/Assistantships: These are typically only for graduate students who will usually teach or research in exchange for full or partial financial assistance. A fellowship and assistantship are typically merit-based and for students who are full-time.
- Professional Organizations: There are different professional organizations in each field that you can join. Sometimes professional organizations provide not only support for its members, but offer different scholarships or programs to further their education.
- Don’t Wait: The longer you put off applying for a scholarship, the higher chance you have of missing a deadline. Remember, graduate scholarships are not offered as abundantly as undergraduate scholarships, so you want to make sure you are organized and ready to jump on every opportunity.
- Save Time with a Portfolio: You can easily save time by being organized and keeping track of all of your submitted applications. There is no need to reinvent the wheel, so keep it there, and borrow content from other applications where common questions are being asked.
- In addition, you could compile a lists of typical questions and a biography of yourself to help save some time when you go to apply for a scholarship. Of course every application may need some tweaking, but at least the meat and potatoes of your application will be complete.
- If you are not sure of what type of questions that will be asked, you should research which scholarships you qualify for, then write down what they have to see what every scholarship has in common.
- Pay Close Attention to What You Are Doing: It is easy to get lost in the pile of scholarships or work you are doing. It is important to be attentive and ready to double check what you are doing. Some things to watch out for are:
- missing deadlines
- not filling out an application completely
- giving incorrect information
- not following directions of the scholarship and
- mixing up scholarship applications
- Small or Big, Any Scholarship is Worth Applying For: Remember that the more scholarships you apply for, the more likely you are to be awarded a scholarship. Even if a scholarship does not have a big award, you may still want to apply for it. In the end, remember your goal is to get as much of your tuition paid for as possible and take out less loans. Weigh the effort-to-dollar amount ratio, and if the small scholarships are proportionate to the amount of work required, why not apply? It’s like working a couple hours, for $10 an hour for one job, when another job may pay $8/hour for 8 hours of work. The total dollar amount is more for the second job, but you may actually put in less effort for the money awarded for the first job.
- Use Scholarship Search Engines: Websites like FastWeb.com have graduate scholarships available. It is important to use websites like this to have a far reach for finding graduate scholarships. These websites will have you put in all of your information so it can pull scholarships that will fit you.
- Don’t Forget to Apply for FAFSA: FAFSA can still be helpful as a master’s level student because you still have the potential to be awarded grants. Although there are not as many grants for graduate students, you will want to apply to FAFSA to see what you qualify for.
If you weren’t eligible for grants in your undergraduate degree, fear not. You most likely filed your taxes with your parents as a dependent then, but when you pursue a graduate degree you are automatically allowed to file as independent. This means they will use your finances to judge whether you are eligible for grants, rather than your parents who may earn too much for you to qualify as a dependent.
Even though graduate scholarships are harder to come by, don’t get discouraged. There are still things out there!