Graduate fellowships: An option for funding graduate school

If you’re thinking about pursuing a graduate degree, consider pursuing a fellowship to pay for graduate school.

As a student graduates from college with a bachelor’s degree, they have an option of attending graduate school to pursue an advanced degree such as a master’s, professional or doctoral degree. In addition, there are certain career paths that require an advanced degree. In an article in the U.S. News and World Report for Education, Don Martin gives examples how graduate school can make a difference in someone’s career and their earning potential. Some of the reasons include:

  • Personal growth
  • Greater employment opportunities
  • Greater career advancement
  • Financial reward
  • Sense of accomplishment
  • Greater recognition and accountability

If you’re interested in a career that requires an advanced degree, have you thought about how to get funding to pay for graduate school? One option for funding is through an assistantship. Another option is a through a fellowship.

What is a fellowship? A fellowship is a monetary reward like a scholarship. states that fellowships may be university awarded, federally funded or offered by independent organizations. Also, many of the graduate fellowship programs are targeted to a specific student group or field of study. There are fellowships that can award funding based on academic need, record or merit called portable fellowships or “external” fellowships.

To explore fellowship opportunities, first meet with the graduate school or department you will major in at the college or university you’re planning to attend and ask about different opportunities for fellowships. Take writing seminars the college or university may offer to help prepare for the essays on the applications for fellowships. The writing seminars can assist you in expressing your undergraduate experience (classes, participation in service and club activities, growth, etc.) in an essay that can make the difference for you to receive the fellowship.

Having the knowledge that there is funding for graduate school through fellowships can assist you in reaching your career goal with less college debt. Take advantage of opportunities to learn about funding options like fellowships and ways to prepare for them.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth career preparation, money management and entrepreneurship programs, read the 2015 Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Careers and Employment.”

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