$upporting Yourself Through Grad $chool

One of the main things that is on your mind when applying for any graduate school program is how on earth are you going to pay for it. Well right off the bat I have to tell you that I will not be giving you magical links to click on with every scholarship or grant available. In fact, that would go against my advice and what I have learned from studying Student Affairs which provide tools, not the answers. If you want money, you will have to set time aside to search for it! I know what a crazy thought!

One of the first money related lessons I learned during my first year as a graduate students is that you CAN still get loans and YES grants from FAFSA!!! Someone misinformed me that there was no point in registering for FAFSA as a graduate student. Because of this I actually didn’t apply until July and only got a loan which better than nothing. Something to keep in mind is that as a graduate student you are automatically considered an independent. So, if you never got funding before because your parents made too much money, you should be more likely to get something as an independent I’m speaking as an independent student who recent college graduate with no major job. However, if you own your own business that’s bit of a different story and I can’t help you there. After I learned that I can get money, I APPLIED EARLIER in January for FAFSA and actually got a grant for about $1,000. I was so happy! You can be too if you make sure you are on top of it. The sooner you apply, the more funding you can access! Also, there are some scholarships that require you to apply for FAFSA which verify you need financial support. My advice, don’t skip this step!

Another lesson I learned was that most departments on campus actually have a scholarship you can apply for that will go towards your very first year! The deadline is usually early in the year around February so you will need to make sure to do your research on them early. If you are applying for next fall you should apply now. Since you do not have any hours in the graduate program for the department to examine, they will most likely take your undergraduate GPA into consideration. . My Student Affairs program actually only took my last 60 hours, ideally your major classes that you focused and studied hard for as an undergraduate. So, if you are currently working on your last year or two of your bachelor’s degree, know that those hours do count!

One of the easiest things you can do is actually check out the websites of the graduate department you are applying to. I know I said I wasn’t going to give you any magical links, but I am going to give you an example J This is the results of a quick search on my universities website of scholarships and how they list of them: http://www.gradcollege.txstate.edu/Prospect_Students/Fin_Grad_Ed/Scholarships.html. If your school does not have this information, it is very likely that you can contact the graduate department, by phone or email to inquireabout scholarships available. I actually did this last week to find funding for a conference I’m going to this semester and uncovered a travel grant for professional development. I do recommend that you remain professional in all your contacts. If you are going to email someone, keep it formal and concise so they take you seriously and don’t skip your email.

Another tip I have gathered is that you should contact your connections and organizations (who you work with in graduate school?). For example, if you get the opportunity to work in a department as a graduate research assistant, you may be able to apply for scholarships through the office. If you are a part of any organizations, ALWAYS apply for any scholarships that you hear about. This includes student organizations and professional organizations! I would highly suggest talking to others who have experienced your program and ask them for tips of the trade.I talked to some of the second year students in our program and they were the ones who told me about most of the scholarships I received. I make it a point to mention this information to the potential graduates of our program so that they can take advantage of it early! If you get the chance to go a on campus interview, try to talk to the current students or program advisor for advice specific to the program you are applying to!

Last, I would simply say apply, apply, apply! I have heard this so many times and yet, I didn’t actually apply for as many scholarships until graduate school and it is paying off literally. Don’t let a scholarship pass you by because you have to write a paper… you will write so many papers in graduate school that these will be a piece of cake. Best of luck in your process!!

Jenni with an “i”

Student Affairs - the First Years

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