Last Updated on January 16, 2024 by Lori Pace
Graduate school often takes you on the next step to your dreams, but what if you can’t afford it? You look for graduate school scholarships specifically for women – what else?
Many of us have a vision or a long-term goal – for some, it’s becoming internet-famous, for others, it’s becoming a doctor, and for most, it’s somewhere in between.
Do You Need a Graduate School Scholarship?
Graduate school can be expensive; that’s a well-established fact. And, as a woman, that expense can often be compounded by external factors outside of your control. The importance of Graduate education cannot be understated, though, and its potential to broaden prospects is not worth ignoring.
So what do you do? Loans are scary, and rightly so.
Grants, fellowships, and work exchanges are good ways of sourcing funding for a graduate degree that doesn’t involve interest-laden repayments.
The holy grail, though, the Shangri-La of college tuition? The Scholarship. It’s a beautiful thing to get free education, but it’s not easy. Before anything else, you must believe that you deserve a scholarship. This intrinsic belief about your educational value drives you to seek out and work hard for your scholarships.
Believe in yourself? Good.
Three Ways to Source a Scholarship:
- FAFSA – You’ll learn more about this later
- Directly from colleges
- From various funding organizations – The process of finding this scholarship jackpot involves four straightforward steps, detailed below.
8 Steps to Get the Best Graduate School Scholarships for Women
Step 1: What do you want to do?
Before you go any further, take a moment here to figure out where you hope to be in the future. Use your undergraduate studies, past experiences, and your current interests and ideas as a guide.
This choice streamlines your efforts towards sourcing funding, as various organizations will fund specific fields of tuition based on their interests and ideals.
Some ideas to look into:
- Education – I think this is pretty self-explanatory.
- Social Work – There are many options here, but most people know right away if social work is something they’d like to pursue.
- Nursing, physical, and life sciences – these options can go from studying medicine to becoming a biologist – explore your options and the scholarships the specific fields provide.
- STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) – STEM is a particularly underrepresented field for women, and the opportunities for scholarships here are high. That’s not to say you must work in STEM, though; it’s not for everyone!
Visit GoGrad’s website to see an excellent list of study options you can look at in all the fields mentioned above. Dream big, be curious, and search hard for a graduate program that excites you; life is too short to be bored all the time.
Step 2: Choose your ‘why.’
Your circumstances, demographics, past experiences, and achievements are navigational tools when looking for scholarships. Make a straightforward, honest, and shameless list of all of them – they are your scholarship arsenal. These circumstances are precisely what funding organizations are looking for when handing out funding; wear them with pride.
Don’t get caught up in the thousands of potential scholarships out there. Look only for those that apply to your chosen field of study and the needs or merits you have listed. Once you find these scholarships, chase them down indiscriminately.
Step 3: Know your FAFSA.
Make sure you have reference letters and your FAFSA ready as you start this process to help speed things along in the next step.
What’s a FAFSA? FAFSA is a clever little acronym for Free Application for Federal Student Aid.
This is an online application that the government uses to assess how much financial aid you will need to pursue your dreams. FAFSA looks at your income, proposed studies, and your EFC (expected family contribution) and generates an amount of federal financial aid you are eligible to receive.
Don’t fret, though; your FAFSA doesn’t disqualify you from other sorts of funding options. Think of it as a backup paddle on a life raft. It may not be necessary to have, but having it with you while you apply for any scholarships could be the final push to getting the total amount you need.
Step 4: Find graduate school scholarships for women.
Here is a list of some sites you can look into to speed up your search process:
Step 5: Be organized.
We will be writing some more lists now. First, gather all of the necessary documents for the applications you will submit. Put these documents in an easy-to-find place on your PC, and have a few printed copies stored somewhere close to you for any manual submissions you will make.
Your FAFSA and reference letters, already compiled in step one, will form part of this document pile.
Step 6: Write an Excellent Motivational Essay.
Most scholarship applications ask for a motivational letter or essay as part of the application. Having a standard report that you adjust to match each application is a handy trick to keep the application process relatively pain-free.
A few tips on scholarship essay writing:
- Start with an outline to organize your thoughts
- Design a strong introduction and conclusion
- Keep it concise and positive
- Have a clear goal
- Be original and honest
- Proofread and make adjustments
- Ask for feedback from others, and make adjustments again
Step 7: Choose the best grad school scholarships for you
Make a list of your criteria:
- The Application deadline:
The sooner you can get your applications in, the better it will be.
Not just for peace of mind, but because specific Needs-based scholarships operate first-come, first–served. And you most certainly want to be first performed in this case. Avoid the stress of last-minute applications, allow yourself ample time to complete, read, and reread each application before you hand it in.
- Which applications you feel most strongly about:
Apply for scholarships that excite you first (It’s a bit more enjoyable that way). Spend time understanding what is they require and go the extra mile to produce what they ask.
Don’t send in the first draft. Ask someone more experienced than you to proofread your applications before you send them, and take all the advice you can get.
Step 8: Apply for as many scholarships as you can.
Apply for as many scholarships as possible, even if your first hundred applications turn up blank. Basically, apply apply apply!
Believe in your academic worth and pursue as many avenues of financial aid as possible. This is a moment when you are your most prominent investor, and every moment you put into this process will wield a reward somehow.
Remember, you miss 100% of the shots you never take.