Graduate School Scholarship
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A surprising number of students fail to see that
identifying scholarships can be one of the most important parts of
the successful scholarship search. There are thousands and thousands
of scholarships available to students through internet searches and
scholarship guides, but no one student will ever qualify for all of
them. Even if one person were to qualify for all of them, most
students probably wouldn't have the time to apply for each and every
one. For this reason, a well-defined scholarship search can be
invaluable to students looking for some extra money to fund their
The best and cheapest way to run a scholarship
search is to find a good, reliable scholarship search engine (like
fastweb.com or srnexpress.com). Internet searches are free (don't
ever pay for scholarship searches, instead use that money towards
your education), and unlike scholarship guides that simply list
awards, even when they are sorted by subject matter, the internet
can help you filter out awards for which you simply don't qualify.
This means finding scholarships that are best suited to who you are,
both as a student and as a person.
What you can do now
If you're a junior or senior planning
to apply in the fall, you can begin to lay the
groundwork now, while teachers and academic advisors are
still on campus, for the letters of recommendation you
will collect in the fall (see the section on Letter of
Recommendation). You should work on your statement of
purpose and proposed academic program during the summer,
when you have a break from course work. That way, in the
fall, you can focus on collecting your letters of
recommendation and preparing your application forms. Be
aware that in the fall you will probably be very busy
(researching graduate schools, studying for the GRE,
doing your normal course work), so the more you can do
now and during the summer, the better off you will be.
If you're a freshman or sophomore, you should
educate yourself now on the criteria for selection so you will be
better prepared when you apply later on. By knowing the criteria,
you can focus on the extracurricular activities, academic honors,
and strong faculty relationships that are crucial to a strong
Application Materials Each
scholarship has its own application. It is important to read the
materials carefully and to understand what information is requested.
Carefully typed applications make the best impression.
Activities and Honors
List all relevant activities and honors, but be
selective. If you have more activities than can fit in the space
given don't include the ones that are not significant -- the two
days you spent last spring on a community clean-up day, for
Read the criteria for selection carefully to
understand what the reviewers are looking for. For instance, the
Regents' Scholarship looks for applicants who "show integrity of
character, interest in and respect for their fellow beings, and the
ability to lead," so include your volunteer and community service
activities, emphasizing those in which you took a leadership role.
Most importantly, your activities should
represent your varied talents and passions outside the class room.
The reviewers are trying to get a sense of who you are and what you
believe in. Make sure your activities reflect that.
The Personal Statement
The Proposed Academic Program
The proposed course of study is an
important part of the Regents' application. The proposal
should describe in detail the activities or tasks of the
project, while reflecting a clear understanding of the
nature and goals of the scholarship, a knowledge of the
proposed university, its curriculum and faculty, and
your rationale for selecting that particular university
and program. The essay should leave the reader with an
impression that tenure of the scholarship would be the
next logical step for you and your education.
A final note
Remember, in any application (for a
job, grant, graduate school, etc.) the powers that be
want to know three things: why is it important to you,
why it is right for you and why you are right for it.
Your application should be built around this message.