7 Tips To Win Graduate School Scholarships

August 18, 2014

Credit: CollegeDegrees360, Flickr.com

Image Credit: CollegeDegrees360, Flickr.com

Excuse me but I’m going to state obvious:

Graduate school is expensive.

Once you’ve added together the cost of tuition, textbooks, school supplies, and living expenses, the total cost is enough to induce a panic attack. After you’ve caught your breath and realized stressing won’t make that total go down, it’s time to refocus that anxious energy. There is a practical way to lower grad school cost: winning a sweet graduate school scholarship.

Here’s seven tips to leave people barefoot (because you knocked their socks off) and get that scholarship.

1. Research

Don’t just start wildly applying for every scholarship. Take your time to find a scholarship that fits you and your graduate school goals. Often times, an organization will sponsor a scholarship that has specific applicant criteria. Check out the National Potato Council scholarship for example. Every year, they offer a $10,000 scholarship to graduate students in agriculture programs that support the potato industry. Potato agriculture may not be your cup of tea, but doing your research will help you find scholarships that seem like they’re designed just for you.

2. Carefully read the directions

You can apply this tip in many areas of life, but especially when applying for scholarships. Take a moment to think about the number of people applying for scholarships. Now think about how easy it is disqualify someone just because they didn’t follow the requirements. Take the time to read the scholarship directions. A good idea is to create a checklist of all the requirements, and mark off all the requirements before submitting your final application.

3. Know the audience

If you were a good fit to apply for the National Potato Council scholarship, then take the time to learn a little bit more about the National Potato Council. This is critical if you’re required to write an essay. It’s easy to forget that a real person is going to be reading what you write. If you know who you are writing to, then you can tailor your application and essay to that specific audience.

4. Plan out your essay

Need to write an essay? Then start off with this one word: outline! Put together the structure and key ideas of what you want to say first, and then get down to the task of crafting captivating sentences and seamless transitions.

5. Write passionately but be sure to edit

It is important to show passion when writing a scholarship essay. It lets the reader know that you care about your area of study. If you’ve done your research and found a scholarship that fits you and your goals, your enthusiasm will come out naturally in your writing. Just always make sure to edit your writing. Carefully editing your paper will help you catch any errors you made while passionately writing your essay

6. Get the help of a pro

Affect or effect? Who or whom? Do not lose the scholarship because of a correctable grammar mistake. Give it to to an english major or if your on campus while writing, take it by the writing center to ensure your essay is impeccable.

7. Celebrate

Congratulations, you did it! After you’ve put in the hard work and done the best possible job with your application, don’t be afraid to celebrate. In fact, don’t be afraid to plan your celebration before you even start your application. Often times, an extra incentive at the end of the process is a great motivator to do your best.

Have you had any success when applying for graduate school scholarships? Leave a comment below if you have tips to add!

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