Are you frustrated because you’re not finding the right scholarships for graduate school?
I was juggling a job, family, and trying to stay sane when I decided that pursuing a graduate degree in public health was the next step in my professional life.
“It’s going to be a lot of work and I don’t have an extra $35,000 lying around”, I said to myself.
I reached out to my financial aid director who was able to help me to get scholarships through my school. While I was excited, I had a problem.
How was I going to pay my remaining tuition balance?
I tried just searching for scholarships in Google, but I was frustrated because I couldn’t find scholarships for me. There were always other requirements like attending a specific college or focusing on a specialty. It was crazy to me that I could spend 3 hours looking through Google search results and still found nothing helpful.
I knew deep down that there had to be a better way. I knew that I needed to use Google to help me to find graduate scholarships, but something was missing. I was making big mistakes that I needed to correct in order to start finding the right scholarships for me.
If you search for scholarships to pay for your graduate degree with very little results, there is a chance that you are making one or more of the mistakes below that hindered me from finding the right scholarships.
- Searching for scholarships without a plan.
If your scholarship search process consists of typing “scholarships” in Google and hoping for the best, you are going to struggle to find the right scholarships. Why? General scholarship searching yields general scholarship search results. You want scholarships that fit you perfectly, right? If so, you have to create a plan that leads you directly to the right scholarships for you.
- Failing to check all of the scholarships requirements.
Let’s say that you do have a plan and you are able to find some of the right scholarships for you. You save the scholarship application link. A few weeks later, you complete the scholarship when you realize that you don’t meet all of the requirements. In the middle of answering the questions, you realize that you don’t meet all of the requirements. The unfortunate part is that if you could have made a few adjustments to meet the scholarship requirements, you would have resolved this issue before now.
- Failing to spot scholarship scams.
Unfortunately, there are businesses that thrive off of scamming others. Sometimes, the scam is so subtle that it flies under the radar before you realize that this business stole your money. However, if you spot the scholarship scam early such as asking for payment to apply for the scholarship, you can avoid the scam saving you time and money.
- Failing to search for scholarships because you don’t believe that you will qualify for any of them.
This negative mindset will severely impact your ability to find the right scholarships and ultimately hurt your chances of graduating without debt. I want you to think about something for a moment. How do you know that there are no scholarships that fit you? There is no possible way that you have checked the hundreds of thousands of scholarships and determined that you don’t qualify for any of them. Focus on finding the right scholarships for you!
- Failing to check with the most common scholarship sources for graduate students.
I discovered in my search for graduate scholarships that there are a ton of on-campus resources that provide scholarships or grants directly or point graduate students in the right direction to organizations providing graduate scholarships. The three main on-campus resources include your departmental dean, financial aid director, and alumni office director. Your dean may have access to specific scholarships, grants, or fellowships specific to your degree. Don’t hesitate to reach out to them via email or phone and ask about any available opportunities. Your financial aid director is a crucial member of your college journey. Make sure to develop a relationship with your financial aid director early and ask about scholarship or grant opportunities. The alumni office is a hidden gem. Of course, you may think of them when you are preparing to walk across the stage with your degree. However, I encourage you to take advantage and reach out to them to access alumni working in your desired career field. Why? The alumni working in your field may have access to industry based scholarships. Leverage this connection and reach out to them!
So, did I finally find the right scholarships that fit me? Absolutely!
I did miss out on quite a few scholarships because I missed the deadlines, but I was able to graduate without tons of debt.
The good news is that it isn’t too late for you to do something different if your current plan is not working.
I want you to tackle one of the mistakes above and get back on the right path to finding the right scholarships for you.
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