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Graduate School Scholarship


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 education.

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.

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 instance.

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.

Letters of Recommendation

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.


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