As any college student or recent grad will tell you, loans can cause a lot of stress after you graduate. Many students have to take them out on their own to even consider attending college, and they can take a really long time to pay back. So what happens when you want to go back and get your Master’s Degree? Your PhD? Surely you don’t want to have to saddle yourself with even more debt! Well, believe it or not, there are a lot of resources out there for graduate school scholarships. If you know where to look, and are willing to work hard, there are a lot of groups and organizations that will help you get there!
Graduate School Scholarships: Where to Look
As it turns out, there are a lot of different places to find graduate school scholarships, some of which you may have never thought of. Many of them are for smaller amounts (around $1,500), but you can apply for as many as you’d like. Every little bit helps, right?
The first place you would obviously want to look is the schools you’re applying to. Many schools will give you a discount if you complete your graduate program at the place you earned your undergrad diploma. For instance, my alma mater, Suffolk University, offers an alumni discount of $1,000. They also offer four other scholarships, including one for community service.
Obviously taking advantage of an alumni discount doesn’t work for everyone, especially if you went to school abroad or across the country from your home. But if you stayed nearby, like I did, it’s definitely a worthy option to consider. You already know the campus, professors and staff, and chances are it will be less of an adjustment when you are trying to work it into your already full-time schedule.
You also may have luck applying for scholarships that are career-specific. There are some professions that try to up their appeal by giving you money to get a degree in that field. A perfect example of this is the STEM program. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math. The communities of these fields have agreed that a need for diversity in the sciences will be helped along by offering scholarships to those otherwise unable to attend classes to further their education.
You can also find a lot of scholarships and awards in other fields such as journalism, social work and education.
It’s true: Socializing and building your network helps a lot when you’re trying to expand your education. There are a ton of professional organizations out there you can join, a lot are free, and you can apply for scholarships through them. Some examples include the National Women’s Studies Association and the American Institution for Graphic Arts.
Social and professional fraternities and sororities usually have scholarships available, as well. The North American Interfraternal Foundation provides scholarships to individuals and organizations that uphold its mission of supporting leadership, education and research initiatives.
Even if an organization you are a part of doesn’t offer scholarships, or you can’t find one that does, networking always helps! You’ll most likely meet someone who’s colleague knows someone who’s business offers a scholarship you could apply for.
As with any financial decision, you need to make the choice that’s right for you. This is just an overview of some of the options that are available. Doing some research before you decide where to apply could really help you out in the long run, and narrow down your search for the school and program that fits what you’re looking for. Happy hunting!
Do you know of any other resources for graduate school scholarships? Share your tips in the comments below!